The following obituary came to my attention today via Christopher Dams and Richard Malim. I thought readers would find this sad news of interest. I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Noemi Magri in person. We communicated a few times via email. On one trip to Venice several years ago I corresponded with her to see if we could arrange to meet but she was traveling at the time. I remember exchanging ideas with her about creating educational tours of northern Italy that would focus on the locations mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. Unfortunately that idea (which I still think is a good one) never went anywhere. Addio Noemi. Riposare in pace. Matthew
From The Gazzetta di Mantua May 18 2011
FAREWELL TO NOEMI MAGRI, AN OUTSTANDING TEACHER OF ENGLISH
Who believed that Shakespeare was the Earl of Oxford , and that he had visited Mantua
Noemi Magri died on Monday (May 9). She was an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to the English language. Many people from Mantua had her as their teacher, above all at ITIS, and many colleagues remember her with appreciation because ahe enabled them to revolutionize their methods of teaching English.
Her funeral will be to-day (May 18) at 10 am at Saint Barnabas’ Church in via Chiassi. Noemi, who was unmarried, lived in via Grioli, and leaves a brother, avvocato Carl’Alberto Magri. Her parents had signalled her future; her father was a lawyer and her mother Ada, who taught French and died aged over ninety not many years ago, founded the Franco-Italian Society. Noemi, with professor Dina, was the driving force behind the Anglo-Italian Society. He was President, while she travelled the world to bring to Mantua conference delegates of the highest quality. This activity was greatest during the 1970s and ’80s. Also well-known was the Special Project whch provided 100 hours of refresher course in foreign languages for il Provveditore. It was hard work, but it spread new teaching methods and created a great leap in quality of teaching.
Noemi graduated from the Ca’ Foscari in Venice, but already a joke by her teacher at her high school had put a bee in her bonnet – that Shakespeare probably never existed.
Noemi became convinced that the author of Romeo & Juliet, the Merchant of Venice and Othello could not have been a genial but poor theatrical groupie born in Stratford on Avon, but rather that he was the Earl of Oxford who had travelled extensively in Italy, and indeed had visited Mantua, so precise is the description of Romeo’s journey from Verona to Mantua. Noemi‘s studies on Shakespeare were always most accurate, and many were the international conferences which she attended.
In tribute to Noemi Magri, I’m posting two links below so those interested can take a moment to appreciate a couple of samples of her impressive scholarship.
Oxford and the Greek Church in Venice
In a brief letter, Dr Noemi Magri examines one claim in ‘Monstrous Adversary’, Alan Nelson’s book.
Places in Shakespeare: Belmont and thereabouts
by Dr Noemi Magri
The purpose of the present paper is to show that Belmont is a real place, though differently called in
Italian: its identification has been made possible by the precise geographical information and a
specific historical reference given in the play: it is not geography of the imagination, and the
historical allusion refers to a contemporary event: it is not Shakespeare’s creation.
This essay has also been published in
‘Great Oxford – Essays on the Life and Work of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, 1550 – 1604’
General Editor: Richard Malim and published by the De Vere Society