Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday August 20 2012

Ah! Monday, Monday and now until the end of the year all my Mondays are Shakespeare Mondays.

From Gregory Doran's Shakespeare Almanac:

  • On July 26, 1602 Hamlet was entered in the Stationers' Register. Happy 410th birthday, Hamlet! 
  • On July 29, 1588, when Shakespeare was 24 years old, England defeated the Spanish Armada. 
  • On August 4, 1600, As You Like It was entered in the Stationers' Register. 
  • On August 6, 1623, Anne Hathaway Shakespeare died at the age of 67. 
  • On August 10 Talbot was taken prisoner in the 15th century (if my memory serves me well). Shakespeare wrote about this in Henry VI Part One: “The tenth of August last this dreadful lord...Was round encompassed and set upon...” It is one of the few times he mentions a date, instead of its feast day. 
  • On August 11, 1596, Shakespeare's son Hamnet died. He was eleven years old. 
  • On August 16, 1955, Titus Andronicus was performed in Stratford for the first time. Laurence Olivier played Titus. 

Shakespeare sightings:

  • In Deborah Harkness' novel A Discovery of Witches hero vampire Matthew, several hundred years old, possesses an original Will's Playes, and later Matthew, his vampire son Marcus and a skillful witch named Sarah are compared to Shakespeare's “three witches around a cauldron”. At the end of the book the main character Diana (a witch and a time traveler) and Matthew go back to the 1590's, so of course I have to read the next book in the trilogy! 
  • In Mastering Arabic by Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar, classical Arabic is said to be to modern Arabic what Shakespearean English is to today's English. Needless to say, I've mastered no Arabic so far. I haven't even learned how to write Shakespeare in Arabic. 
  • As if I don't have enough to do, I've been writing my handwritten list of books I've read since 1974 (when Hal and I moved to Sweden) on the computer. A couple of books of interest: The Murders of Richard III by Elizabeth Peters (read in 1995, before my Shakespeare days) and Perchance to Dream by Robert B Parker, read in 1998. There are a lot of murder mysteries whose titles are Shakespeare quotes but those are the ones I've noted down.
  • In the closing ceremony of the Olympics, Timothy Spall popped up as Churchill with the same quote from The Tempest as Kenneth Branagh recited in the opening. The dancing and other performances took place on various ramps with quotes from English literature. “To be or not to be” was prominent. Also glimpsed: “Now is the winter of our discontent.” 
  • In season one of Friends Joey is auditioning. The actor before him recites, “Would that I were the glove...” and Joey is about to perform Mercutio. Contest time! Which play? First correct answer in a comment on the blog... 
  • The movie The Queen, finally watched this week, starts with the quote, “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” Contest time! Which play? First correct answer in a comment on the blog... 

Further, since the last report:

  • Finished reading, Peter Erikson's Rewriting Shakespeare, Rewriting Ourselves. 
  • Ordered and received: the Julie Taymore-Helen Mirren DVD of The Tempest. 
  • Received: The Shakespeare Name Dictionary. 
  • Still reading aloud with Hal: Henry V.
  • Started reading Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell. 

Posted today: Just this.


  1. "Would that I were that glove..." is from Romeo And Juliet - probably the most quoted play of all. "Uneasy lies the head..." should be from IV Henry part 2 but the same thought comes up in all the history plays. There doesn't seem to be any king who says "What great fun it is to rule!", does there?

  2. Right you are! Strange, isn't it, poor old kings...Anyway you get the prize, a great big :-) Two of 'em, one for each play. And a third for the extra wisdom