Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday, January 16 2012

A belated Happy New Year to you all and welcome back to our Shakespeare Mondays. Once again I will be off work on Mondays, this time until the end of April, and thus will be making a weekly report as before. It seems like I've been gone from the blog for ages but in fact, what with my latest postings on December 26, it's only been four Mondays. Well, that's a lot, actually and it's also been a long time since Hal and I started reading a play. We've been working a long time on Richard II but I've just finished the rough draft on my text for RII so hopefully we'll start reading the next play in line, King John (another one of your favorites, right?) this evening. But now to the report:

  • Shakespeare sightings, continuing where I left off:
    • In the book The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter by David Colbert, the author makes repeated references to Shakespeare (because Rowlings does). One of my favorites is the observation that Hermione Granger is, like Hermione in The Winter's Tale, turned into a statue.
    • Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Stephen Fry in his autobiographical The Fry Chronicles makes many references to Shakespeare. He is, after all, an actor and a graduate of Cambridge. For example he played one of the Weird Sisters, Lysander in A Midsummer Nights's Dream, etc. etc.
    • In the novel Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, which I could not bring myself to finish, so depressing and unlikeable did I find it, he starts out with a quote from The Winter's Tale.
    • In the latest issue of the teachers' union magazine Skolvärlden there is a contest with questions about England. One of the questions is “Vilken Shakespearepjäs heter Much Ado About Nothing?” OK all you Swedish speakers out there – what's the answer?
    • Twelfth Night is being staged in the Stockholm suburb of Kärrtorp and it is, according to the generally positive review, placed in the 1950's, factories, Harley Davidsons, greased back hair and black leather jackets and all. An amateur production that I would like to see.
    • More distorted quotes, this time from the novel Properties of Light by Rebecca Goldstein (the best love novel about quantum physics I've ever read...well, how many have you read??). Twisted quote 1: “Winter has always seemed to me to be the time of our greatest undiscontent”. Twisted quote number 2: “We are such dreams as stuff is made of”. OK, contest: correct quotes and the names of the plays. Wonderful prizes for those who post the correct answers as a comment on the blog!

Further, these weeks:
  • Books ordered: Stephen Greenblatt's Shakespearean Negotiations and Renaissance Self-fashioning
  • Movies watched: Richard II.
  • Rough draft written: “Richard and Henry Get Started”
  • Now reading: A Companion to Shakespeare's Works – The Tragedies.


  1. Much ado about nothing: Mycket väsen för ingenting! :) I've been in it, so I know that much.

    As for the quotes, I'm stumped, but they seem vaguely familiar.

  2. Kalle wins the prize: :-) I'm looking forward to your comments on Much Ado when we get to that point in a few plays.