Summer is cooling down some, but the autumn is bright, and it’s been a Shakespeare-rich month. So, to the report.
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- In Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extraordinary Things Coralie was given Shakespeare to read as a child. When older she discussed Shakespeare with the Wolfman, so-called because of the fur covering his face and body. The Wolfman was enticed to leave Coralie’s father’s Museum of Extraordinary Things to work for a competitor, reading Shakespeare in his beautiful voice.
- In The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. When Charlie, looking for her cousin Rose, missing after WWII, finds a strange woman in the wood, she compares her to a Shakespearean chorus, who can explain a strange scene but not why it happened.
- In the film Only Lovers Left Alive the vampire Christopher Marlowe (in the film 400 years old and played by John Hurt) is credited with writing Shakespeare’s plays. Sonnets are read, and Shakespeare is called a zombie philistine. Despite this silly humour it’s a very good film!
- In Season 1 Episode 2 of Doctor Who (Christopher Eccleston) Charles Dickens says to the Doctor and Rose after seeing aliens/ghosts, ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Doctor, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’
- 1666 – Plague, War and Hellfire by Rebecca Rideal starts with the ‘Brave new world’ quote then later the author mentions that the first woman allowed to act on stage was Anne Marshall, who played Desdemona in 1660. Still later we are told that the son, or possibly nephew of Thomas Cotes, who had printed Shakespeare’s Second Folio, wrote a pamphlet blaming the 1665 plague on the sinfulness of the people.
- In John Boyne’s novel A History of Kindness the archbishop quotes Shakespeare: ‘Ours is not to question why.’ The narrator points out that it was Tennyson, not Shakespeare. Later he remembers his father as a failed actor who wanted to be ‘alas-poor-Yoricking’ on stage. One of his classmates had been in a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a neighbour girl had been the subject of a sermon by the priest who was as belligerent as a Shakespeare character.
- In Jerry Brotton’s This Orient Isle, bought at the Globe bookstore, Shakespeare plays quite a prominent role:
- Peter Baker was a sort of pirate, and also servant to Edward de Vere, ‘the man an eccentric minority still believe wrote Shakespeare’s plays’.
- The farcical view of Jews on stage became ‘darker and more complicated in the hands of Christopher Marlow and William Shakespeare.’
- The witch’s quote in Macbeth, ‘Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’th’ Tiger,’ shows how aware Londoners were of the 1583 voyage of The Tiger to Syria bearing letters from Elizabeth to Akbar.
- Chapter 8 ‘Mahomet’s Dove’ explores the history plays, Shakespeare’s portrayal of Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus and Shylock.
- In Chapter 11 ‘More than a Moor’ Othello is analysed from the perspective of England’s relationship – both in trade and diplomacy – with Arab nations.
- In the epilogue Shakespeare’s appeal for understanding and compassion for refugees in Sir Thomas More’s long and stirring monolog is quoted in its entirety.
- In the comic book The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, one of the villains takes poor Tom to the Globe.
Further since last time:
- Read aloud with Hal: The Taming of the Shrew
- Saw: the film of same, the Globe version 2012.
- Wrote: text on same.
- Read: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, based on same. Sadly, it’s the worst of the novels based on Shakespeare’s plays I’ve read so far. Even here Katherine loves Petruchio (or whatever their names are in the book).
- The insult for today, 3 September 2018: ‘What a disgrace is it to me to remember thy name, or to know thy face tomorrow.’ Henry IV Part 2
Posted this month
- ‘Sly, Bianca and dashed hopes’ in The Taming of the Shrew https://rubyjandshakespearecalling.blogspot.com/2018/09/sly-bianca-and-dashed-hopes-in-taming.html
- This report
Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by
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