Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday May 27 2013

Vacation! Nice.  It’s been a hectic period with house guests, end of term stress and bursitis, but now life is supposed to be calm for a couple of weeks. Wouldn’t that be nice?  We’ve started reading Shakespeare again, not Othello which is next in line but because we have several film versions of that to watch and we don’t have so much time before our trip to London, we’ve decided to go on to All’s Well That Ends Well. We only have one version of that to watch so even if I don’t get an analysis on the blog before we go, I should get one written.  So what’s been going on in the month of May? Here we go:

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary:
  • Bohemia, now a part of the Czech Republic, was in the 14th century considered to be the freest and wealthiest country in the world.  In Shakespeare, Bohemia is a fantasy land and not necessarily accurately placed in his plays.
  • Bosworth, a town in Leicestershire, was the scene for the last battle of the War of the Roses in which Richard III was defeated and killed by Henry VII’s troops.

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In Friends, Season Seven, Joey is doing a film with Gary Oldman who tends to spit when giving his lines. Joey says, “I know you’re great and play all those Shakespeare guys but you’re spitting all over me, man!”
  • In Big Bang Theory, Season Four, Sheldon’s reaction to being quarantined in a bio-hazard ward by mistake, “Oh what fresh hell is this?”  I’m sure that’s Shakespeare but Google tells me this is a common mistake – it’s actually Dorothy Parker!  Really?!?!??
  • When we were done watching School of Rock and turned off the DVD, the TV reverted to its normal channel and there happened to be a program about Shakespeare going on.  I watched it later on SVT-Play and it was quite interesting but rather general.
  • In a crossword I’ve had laying around for ages I saw the clue “Sir Belch of literature.”
  • One of my former students, RB, gave me the book Europaeiske Scenarier – Skandinaviske Perspektiver in which one of his papers, about national identities among the Scandinavian countries, had been published.  One of the sources RB used for his paper described a visit to Hamlet’s Kronborg.  Thank you, RB!
  • In the movie Out of the Ashes Christine Lahti’s character is asked to quote Ophelia at her son’s Bar Mitzvah.
  • There was trailer on one of the DVD I watched recently for Prince of Jutland about our favorite Danish prince starring Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren and Christian Bale.  I had never heard of it so had to order it immediately.
  • Susannah Yorke in her role as an aspiring actress in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? quotes something literary in order to get a special deal in the ongoing dance marathon and boss Gig Young says, “Yeah, yeah, Shakespeare.” It wasn’t.
  • In historian Eric Hobsbawm’s How to Change the World – Tales of Marx and Marxism he writes: “…to consider Marx’s and Engels’ political analysis without its international dimension is to play Othello as though it did not take place in Venice.” Well, that was…astute.
  • In the disappointingly uninteresting sci fi novel Bedlam by Christopher Brookmyre the hero ponders the quote, “Some men are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them.”  A few pages later he refers to the rage of Caliban.
  • The Guardian Weekly of May 13, 2013, brought to our local Raspberry Hills Library English Book Circle by our very own librarian Ingrid, includes an article about the book being released by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (host of the web debate a few weeks back) about the authorship question.
  • Dagens Nyheter had a review in yesterday’s paper of choreographer Mats Ek’s ballet version of Julia och Romeo”.  He is called a hero and the reviewer concludes, “There has seldom been such jubilation at the Royal Opera.”  Hmmm. Might have to see that one.
  • Deborah Harkness writes books about the witch Diana and the vampire Matthew and in the second of the trilogy Shadow of Night they have time traveled to the London of 1590, which is why I bought the book. I expected it to be all about Shakespeare.  It’s not. So far, two thirds through the book, he is referred to only from Diana’s 21st century knowledge and as a scruffy forger by his own contemporaries.  But I sneaked a look at the table of contents and he shows up himself in the last part of the book.

Further this month:
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: All’s Well That Ends Well.
  • Discovered, ordered and received but not watched: The Prince of Jutland (see above).

Posted this week:
  • Reviews on Ruby Jand’s Movie Blog of the last of the Hamlet movies 

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