Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday November 3 2014

This morning I started writing my text about The Tempest.  I’m quite inspired but also a bit scared. This is, after all, the last play analysis I will do on this Shakespeare marathon.  I want it to be good.  No promises, though, except that as always it will be a torment and a joy to write.  For now, more mundane things:

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Picardy is a province in northern France, a wealthy area known in the Middle Ages for its weaving industry.  Thus is figured hugely in the Hundred Years’ War and in the Henry VI plays.
  • Pie Corner is not quite as big as Picardy. In fact it was just a corner, or actually a district, in west Smithfield in London. Its name comes from its bakeries.  There were also butcher shops and leather shops and it is mentioned in Henry IV Part Two in which Shakespeare displays his intimate knowledge of his new home town.
Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the novel MaddAdam by Margaret Atwood, daredevil hero Zeb sometimes realises that discretion is the better part of valour but he doesn’t seem to know that he’s thinking a Shakespeare quote.
  • While writing up the cast of the film Transcendence I saw that lead character Evelyn Caster is played by Rebecca Hall, daughter to Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
  • Dagens Nyheter has a column today with the title “Macbeth More Important than Graffiti.”  It is part of the ongoing debate about the political importance of culture and the ongoing debate on “highbrow” vs “lowbrow” culture.  The columnist Susanne Birgersson makes some interesting points about why highbrow culture is highbrow – because it focuses on what makes us human, beyond time, class, ethnicity, like Shakespeare.  Shakespeare is still after four hundred and fifty years “red hot” because he presents our relationship with our own selves.  She suggests to Sweden’s new Cultural Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke (Green Party) that instead of financing graffiti workshops she should finance bringing Shakespeare to the concrete suburbs.  I agree. But I don’t see any conflict with having a bit of graffiti in the Shakespeare plays...
Further since last time:
  • Watched with Hal: Peter Greenaway’s version of The TempestProspero’s Books.
  • Finished reading: Peter Ackroyd’s Shakespeare the Biography.
  • Finished watching Season One of the Canadian series Slings and Arrows, received from friends KJG and JG, about a theatre troupe putting on Shakespeare plays. See it!
  • Received from friends KJG and JG: a set of Shakespeare finger puppets. Thank you, KJG and JG!
  • Started writing: “Ariel’s Freedom” in The Tempest

Posted this week:
  • This Monday report
  • Report on
    • Shakespeare’s Freedom by Stephen Greenblatt

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