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Eileen Clemens Granfors

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Books by Eileen Clemens Granfors
The History of a Title
By Eileen Clemens Granfors
Last edited: Monday, July 11, 2011
Posted: Monday, July 11, 2011



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Eileen Clemens Granfors

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I taught Shakespeare as a course, both in person and online, for many years. One exercise I used was for kids to find a phrase and use it as a title for a poem or a short story. They would ask, "Give us an example." At last, the book is published from the phrase I chose. Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene 2.

My book, "Stairs of Sand," about two women, each with a false front of excess pride (rather than being cowards), who must face their family secrets and obsessions to reconnect as mother and daughter. Suspenseful and magical and funny.


BASSANIO (He is about to choose from the three chests, to win or lose Portia forever)

    So may the outward shows be least themselves:
    The world is still deceived with ornament.
    In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
    But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
    Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
    What damned error, but some sober brow
    Will bless it and approve it with a text,
    Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
    There is no vice so simple but assumes
    Some mark of virtue on his outward parts:
    How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
    As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
    The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars;

    Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk;
    And these assume but valour's excrement
    To render them redoubted! Look on beauty,
    And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;
    Which therein works a miracle in nature,
    Making them lightest that wear most of it:
    So are those crisped snaky golden locks
    Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
    Upon supposed fairness, often known
    To be the dowry of a second head,
    The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.
    Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
    To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
    Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
    The seeming truth which cunning times put on
    To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
    Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
    Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
    'Tween man and man: but thou, thou meagre lead,
    Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught,
    Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence;
    And here choose I; joy be the consequence!

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