Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Report July 2 2012

Finally! It's been a long month and even though I had many opportunities to talk about Shakespeare during the summer course (more often, undoubtedly, than my students really appreciated), I have missed blogging. It's nice to be back. Of course a month's supply of notations in the Almanac and of sightings have piled up. There are more than I can actually keep track of but I'll give it a shot:

From the Shakespeare Almanac:

  • On May 30, 1593, Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare's rival, colleague, maybe friend, was murdered under mysterious circumstances. 
  • On June 2, 1752, the first troop of professional Shakespearean actors arrived in America, in Yorktown, Virginia. 
  • On June 5, 1607, Shakespeare's daughter Susanna married Dr John Hall at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. On June 9, 1622, Shakespeare's old company visited Stratford and were paid not to perform. 
  • On June 29, 1613, The Globe burned to the ground. 
  • On June 30, 1614, the new Globe opened. 

Shakespeare sightings:

  • In the novel Still Alice by Lisa Genova, the main character, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, remembers loving King Lear. 
  • In the movie “The Artist” an actress hams up Juliet in a silent movie. 
  • In Percy Shelley's introduction to his wife Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, he compares the presentation of basic human nature in the novel to Shakespeare. Fair enough! 
  • On an essay test on The Bean Trees, one of my students used a paraphrase of “All the world's a stage”. Since she knows of course that I'm a Shakespeare freak, this might not count as a true random sighting but still...Unfortunately, she didn't pass the test. 
  • Steven Pinker, in his very fat and very strange book The Better Angels of Our Nature, mentions Shakespeare frequently. It doesn't make the book more believable however. While containing some interesting statistics I find Pinker's analysis disappointing. He is clearly not a historical materialist. 
  • In the movie “V for Vendetta” Natalie Portman's mother quotes Macbeth. 
  • In his book about the filming of Frankenstein, Kenneth Branagh of course refers to Shakespeare. 
  • And speaking of Kenneth Branagh, he's been knighted, in part because of his work with Shakespeare. So, Sir Ken, when are you going to quit messing about and get back to your true calling?! There are a few plays left to make movies of! 
  • In “The Big Bang Theory” when Leonard shows surprise at Sheldon's friendliness to Penny, Sheldon replies, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. 
  • In the grammar book I used in the summer course, The Oxford English Grammar Course, Shakespeare turns up now and then. 
  • In the novel The Passage by Justin Cronin, many of the sections of the book start with quotes from Shakespeare. 
  • Dagens Nyheter has had lots of notices in the past month: 
    • a glowing review of Othello on the island of Gotland 
    • mention of an English speaking acting group doing excerpts from various works in a park near the main library (didn't make it to that performance) 
    • an archeological dig has uncovered some of Shakespeare's old theater, the Curtain. “A fantastic discovery” says Chris Thomas. 
    • And of course on Midsummer, the biggest holiday in Sweden except for Christmas maybe, A Midsummer Night's Dream showed up in various places including the crosswords. 

Further, this month:

  • Finished reading aloud with Hal: Henry the Fourth, Part Two.
  • Read aloud with Hal: various analysis of same. 
  • Seen: Three movies about same. 
  • Started writing: Text about same.

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