Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday August 6 2012

Back on blog. Scotland is an amazing country and the trip went well. Passing through England on our way north we certainly went through a lot of Shakespeare territory – all the aristocrats in the history plays were Dukes of One-Place-Or-Another. But in Scotland itself there wasn't a lot of evidence of Shakespeare generally, just a couple of sightings (see below – only one, come to think of it. The second is back in England). Neither Macbeth nor Nessie made an appearance.
While we were gone the official first anniversary of Shakespeare Calling passed: On July 20, 2011, I posted the intro text on the blog and on July 27 I posted the first play analysis. It was about Two Gentleman from Verona. Since then I have posted texts on 17 more plays so that means almost half way through. As of July 16th this year there had been about 2400 visits from about 13 countries. I wonder how they all found it? Thank you all, followers and unknown visitors alike, for looking at the blog! My hope for the coming year is of course to reach more people and to have comments posted by strangers as well as friends. More followers are of course welcome!
Anyway, it's nice to be back to Shakespeare and after next Monday I'll be back on my regular schedule.

From Gregory Doran's Shakespeare Almanac:
  • No report this time because we haven't caught up on all the days we missed. Next time!

Shakespeare sightings:
  • At a crossroads in Lancaster there was a sign advertising a production of Richard III. Hmm, in Lancaster? Wasn't he a York??? Maybe they're not enemies anymore...
  • From the bus in Newcastle a pub called Hotspur was seen.
  • In Scarlett Thomas' Our Tragic Universe, bought at the Stockholm Central Station to read on the trip, the narrator refers to Shakespeare several times, for example when speculating that a fellow writer would have created Hamlet as a troubled teenager who hallucinated the ghost and sought counseling from the kindly Polonius, realized that it was OK for Gertrude to have sex with Claudius and then happily returned to Uni with Ophelia.
  • In Bram Stoker's Dracula (the book, not the movie) the various narrators also refer to Hamlet and to Malvolio as well.
  • In the opening ceremony of the London Olympics Kenneth Branagh quoted Caliban in The Tempest: Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices That, if I then had waked after long sleep, Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked, I cried to dream again.
  • In Sherman Alexie's Ten Little Indians, in the short story “Do You Know Where I Am?” the narrator tells of how he and his wife, in their student days, quoted Shakespeare as part of their lovemaking.
  • Actress Laura Linney has, according to Dagens Nyheter, August 2, chosen sides: the Montagues, because Tybalt is such an ass.
  • Same newspaper, same day: an article about the premiere of Twelfth Night being performed by Teater Iris in a small pastry cafĂ© seating 45. They're going to perform quite a few times so maybe we can make it. Although it would be fun to see a different play for a change.
  • In Denise Mina's third Paddy Meehan novel The Last Breath the bad guy remembers the line from Macbeth, “I am in blood stepped in so far that returning were as tedious as going over”. It actually stopped him from killing a little kid.
  • In yesterday's Dagens Nyheter in an article about the moons of Uranus, many of whom are named after characters from Hamlet. They're are on a collision course and seem fated to the same doom as their namesakes i.e. destruction.
  • The main character in A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (highly recommended by my student E.E.) displays supernatural acting talents when playing, and being more or less taken over by, the character of Ophelia.

Further, since the last report:
  • Bought with a gift certificate from some students from spring term: The DVD of Coriolanus with Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave.
  • Started reading, in Scotland, Peter Erikson's Rewriting Shakespeare, Rewriting Ourselves.
  • Ordered and received: the Norton edition of Shakespeare and Film by Samuel Crowl.
  • Ordered: The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: Henry V.
  • Started scribbling: some ideas for texts to send to Blogging Shakespeare.
  • Posted today: “Is This Love in Much Ado About Nothing.”

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