Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday September 30 2013

Finally the text for Timon of Athens is ready to post and you will find in just above this Monday report. We’ve made a start with the King Lear marathon, which includes three printed versions of the play (honestly, we’re only going to read one of them), two spin-off movies and five filmed productions, not to mention the stage production we have tickets for, so it will take awhile.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • The Commons, which are mentioned in Richard II and Henry V, represent the untitled propertied class and were summoned as early as the 13th century in England. This has shaped England’s history with the principle that the king could only levy taxes with the support of Parliament.
  • Cornwall, which figures in King Lear, produced tin from ancient times, had a nice climate and a good harbor. It was the last area to be taken by the Saxons in the 11th century. Because of its relatively quiet history there are many surviving ancient ruins.

Shakespeare sightings:
  • Laurie R. King continues her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series and in Justice Hall the characters play around with a jumble of quotes from Shakespeare, Dryden and Jonson (so they say; it’s quite a jumble).
  • In his revealing book 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, about the necessity of major economic reforms, Ha-Joon Chang uses the clever title on his chapter about planned economy “To Plan or Not to Plan – that is Not the Question”, meaning of course that planned economy is both necessary and desirable.
  • If you are considering buying the novel I, Coriander by Sally Gardner because it’s available from the Globe Shop (which I love dearly, but nothing is perfect) and so you think it has connection to Shakespeare, don’t. It doesn’t and it’s not a very good book either, making the Cromwell side of the Civil War completely evil and the royal side enlightened, kind and lovely in every way. Nothing is ever that simple but all things considered, the Commonwealth supporters were the ones promoting a kind of democracy and the royalists were the extravagant wastrels in the real Civil War. However, there is a quick mention in the novel of “the old Globe Theater” and it ends with the quote: If we shadows have offended, / Think but this and all is mended: / That you have but slumbered here, / While these visions did appear. It’s not the visions that offended…
  • Dagens Nyheter had an interesting article a couple of weeks ago about often used quotes but somehow I missed it last time. Among them were from Swedish classics, Chekov, Brecht, Ibsen, and of course Shakespeare:
    • To be or not to be (naturally) (in Swedish att vara eller inte vara): “Shakespeare’s bull’s-eye. This can be explained by saying that it’s so universal and easy to remember. Everyone feels like Hamlet sometime in their life. It doesn’t have to be about living or dying but it can be. These days when nobody feels good feeling slighted or ignored can be enough. Hamlet is the first modern individual and consequently speaks continuously in the first person: I, I, I.”
    • Quotes that have become titles of other works: The Sound and the Fury was also used by Bergman (Larmar och gör sig till, but I must confess that I’ve never heard that, or noticed it anyway). A string of famous quotes follows but as far as I know they aren’t titles of other works (though that could be a very long and interesting list): the beast with two backs (djuret med två ryggar), My kingdom for a horse (mitt kungarike för en häst), the stuff that dreams are made on, (av samma tyg som drömmar göres av) what’s in a name? (vad är ett namn?)
    • Et tu, Brute: “Many want to believe that it was the historical Julius Caesar who said this. But it was Shakepseare who gave him the line.”

Further this week:
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: King Lear
  • Started reading: Shakespeare’s Freedom by Stephen Greenblatt
  • Started the King Lear film watching with: A Thousand Acres

Posted this week:
  • “When You’re Down and Out – Class Conflict”  in Timon of Athens
  • This Monday report.

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