[In a sense] the novel is flourishing, and always will be as long as we have an appetite for well-told lies of any length. Nye's Falstaff, the imaginary autobiography of Shakespeare's splendid old scoundrel, is an excellent representative of this continuing life, and a good example of what a talented writer can do with a string of shaggy dog stories and some fine lines.
The danger with Falstaff is that we shall lose him to melancholy, as Orson Welles does, albeit with some panache, in his lugubrious film Chimes at Midnight. Indeed, Shakespeare suggests that Falstaff dies of Hal's rejection of him….
Nye's Falstaff is bawdy rather than melancholy, and often seems to...
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