Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday March 4 2013

And now we’re done with Hamlet for this round.  It’s like seeing your best friend off on a two or three year voyage.  Who knows when we’ll get back to him in the cycle?  At the moment it feels like I want to spend the rest of my life reading and analyzing Hamlet but I know there are a lot of other good plays left! And to get back to.  And Hamlet will undoubtedly keep in touch by sending postcards in the form of Hamlet sightings. It’s been great having you with us, Hamlet. ‘Bye for now.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary:
·         Ajax, famous for his strength, courage and stupidity, is not an admirable character in Troilus and Cressida, which incidentally is the next play we will be reading.
·         For that reason I’ll take another one: Alexander, Cressida’s servant, describes Ajax in less than admiring words.

Shakespeare sightings
·         Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspeare, mentions star-crossed lovers.
·         In the movie The Emporer’s Club classics teacher Kevin Kline has the boys play different parts of  Julius Caesar.
·         In Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel, the incredibly good Flight Behavior (read it!) the main character Dellarobia, a high school English major (nearly a dropout) names her daughter Cordelia but doesn’t think about King Lear until Professor Ovid Byron points it out to her.
·         In season four of The Big Bang Theory the university president comes to the café and Sheldon compares him to Henry V, slumming it among his troops.
·         The Finnish rock group Lordi are releasing a new CD with the title “To Beast or Not to Beast”.  There’s no song with that title that I can find but track 4 is “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and the sample starts at about 1 minute 40 on this link Now before you check this out, a word of warning to those of you who are not Finnish hard rock experts.  This group won, against all odds, the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006; here’s the link to that. Those of you who don’t live in Europe, and those of you who aren’t into the ESC, don’t even ask. But to be honest, I was one of the millions who voted for it….It was just too weird not to.
·         Michel Houellebecq won the award for the best French novel of 1998, Les particules élémentaires and I’m plowing through it (don’t ask me why, it’s too complicated). I’m not going to give you the whole quote, it’s too long (it’s on page 167 if you’re interested) and I’m not sure I understand it, partly because my French isn’t that good and partly because the book is more or less incomprehensible, but it’s something about Nietschze’s take on Shakespeare’s clowns.

Further, since the last report:
  • Watched: Hamlet with and directed by Kenneth Branagh
  • Finished reading: Hamlet, Contemporary Critical Essays, edited by Martin Coyle.
  • Started but didn’t finish Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Raye.  As you know, I’ve made many claims that, yes, you can do that to Shakespeare but please! Whatever you do, do it well!  This teen novel starts with, “Frailty, thy name is woman – William Shakespeare” followed with “Willie, thy name is sexism – Ophelia”.  The next line should have been, “Michelle, thy name is sexism and stereotype”. A more evil bitchy Gertrude and a more perfect manly Hamlet, Senior and a more banal boy-girl love affair I have yet to see. A pity. The idea was good. The whole story told from a present-day, texting teenage Ophelia’s point of view, an Ophelia who hasn’t died but gone into hiding.  Sadly, the book is unreadable, the characters completely uninteresting. Even more sadly, in her “Author’s note”, Raye seems to sincerely love Shakespeare and want to share him with her young students.  My advice: read the original with them and let them discover the complexity. Sorry, fellow Shakespeare lover.
  • Blogging Shakespeare posted “Doing Something About Hamlet”

Posted this week:
·         This Monday report
·         “Who’s there?” – Hamlet in Hamlet

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