Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday November 19 2012

This week has been most exciting because of future events. Hal and I have bought our plane tickets for London in June, giving ourselves some extra days before and after the Shakespeare seminar.  It’s never a good idea to hope time goes fast but we sure are looking forward to it. But it’s been a good week blogwise too so let’s get to that.

From Gregory Doran's Shakespeare Almanac: Nothing this week

Shakespeare sightings:
  • Review in Svenska Dagbladet of Macbeth at the Regional Theater of Blekinge-Kronoberg in southern Sweden. The review of this Brechtian production was middle of the road, not a rave, not a bomb.
  • On season 3 of Friends Joey tells Chandler that his new flame is “the greatest actress since sliced bread” and Chandler says, “Oh yeah, she did a great lady Macbeth”.
  • I saw in the TV listing that Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus was on last week on a channel we don’t have but that’s OK. We have the DVD and are saving it until we get to the play.  Dagens Nyheter gave it 3 stars anyway and called it a “heavy but exciting experiment.”
  • Still reading Bryson’s At Home and learned that Henry Clay Folger, president of Standard Oil and connected to Folger’s Coffee bought about a third of all surviving First Folios from hard-up aristocrats who had collected them through the years. These purchases formed the basis of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.
  • Same book: Thomas A. Watson, Alexander Graham Bell’s colleague and co-inventor of the telephone and sole inventor of the iron lung and the metal detector, tired of living in the US eventually and moved to England to become a successful actor. He was especially good at Shakespearean roles and performed often in Stratford-upon-Avon. Aren’t people’s lives fascinating?
  • Langston Hughes is mostly known for his poetry but he has also written novels including Not Without Laughter from 1930. In it the young protagonist is introduced to Shakespeare by his teacher through the study if The Merchant of Venice. He later wonders if knowing things like Latin and Shakespeare makes a person happy but continues his studies and is given the assignment to write about “A Trip to Shakespeare’s England”.
  • In Lorna Landvik’s novel Oh My Stars the unlikely hero, gorgeous and wonderful-in-all-ways hero Kjel (is that really how Norwegians spell Kjell or did Landvik get it wrong?) not only recites Shakespeare while making love to his girlfriend of the day – “We few, we happy few!” but goes on to become an actor for awhile and ends up meeting his best friend Austin who performs in an all black cast of Macbeth.
  • Shakespeare goes to Mars in Ray Bradbury’s The Silver Locusts albeit rather anonymously when a character is accused of murder and replies calmly, “Murder most foul.”

Further, since the last report:
·         It’s the last week of Shakespeare Calling follower Harold Berglund’s art exhibit. Even eagle-eyed blog follower Alexander hasn’t spotted the Shakespeare connection, and admittedly it’s far-fetched…, a bit of a joke really. Any last-minute guesses?

·         This Monday Report
·         Comments on Alexander’s and others’ comments


  1. Yes, I have tried to solve the mysterious Shakespearean connection and I have failed miserably. In my desperation I have invaded your FB account. (I hope you don't mind my sharing that gorgeous photo of the RSC.) There I have found one of Mr Berglund's canvasses showing a duck which is "undoubtedly a descendent of a duck from Shakespeare's time", in your own and very quotable words. Since you appear to have taken a lovely duck-photo on your last visit to Stratford, that must be the connection! There, I have found it! Have I?

    Clearly related to each other, no?

    PS Time to write an essay on the duck imagery in Shakespeare...

  2. Since I have (presumably though probably not) solved the current Shakespearean mystery (and this is its last week anyway), I have decided (no doubt presumptuously) to launch the next one.

    To spot the next Shakespearean connection, it would mightily help if you are a science fiction fan or if you are especially fond of Arthur C. Clarke. Well, that's it. What is the connection between Arthur Clarke and William Shakespeare? Ha! Tough, is it?

    As a matter of fact, it's not that though. The answer is readily available on Amazon as well as in my profile on LibraryThing. To give you a hint, the connection has both biographical and bibliographical dimensions.

  3. You have indeed solved it. And your new challenge is an exciting one. Having read most of Arthur C. Clarke’s books back in the 70’s I should see a connection but that was well before my Shakespeare days and although ACC is back on my pile of books to read immediately in this, my renewed sci fi days, the connection has yet to emerge. I will try to resist looking at your LibraryThing profile so that I can figure it out for myself but that might take too long…

  4. I thought I should clarify that the Shakespeare-Clarke connection is not between the "authorship controversy" and Arthur's hilarious essay "The Lunatic Fringe". The latter deals with other cases "mass moronity" and "mass stupidity", mostly taken from the mythical science UFOlogy. I don't think Arthur ever wrote anything about "Who Wrote Shakespeare", but I imagine he would have used the same words as he did about creationism: "intellectual perversion". Pretty accurate description.

    To give another hint, the connection has to do with one of his short stories and refers to Shakespeare himself rather than to any of his works. The "biographical and bibliographical dimensions" mentioned above refer to Clarke himself.

    So your time frame is perfect, Ruby. Since Arthur published his last major short story collection in 1972, you sure have read the piece in question.

  5. Thanks for the clarification. I will certainly have to brush up my memory on this one, since the 70's were awhile ago. I expect that particular collection is on my shelf in the stacks in the storage room. It's high time to find it!