Monday, September 7, 2015

September 2015

The problems of trying to learn to become a marketing expert continue. Publishing a book in Sweden and hoping to sell it internationally is truly not an easy task.  But Shakespeare Calling – the book is out there. Below you will find the links for on-line purchase. Please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it! And once again, thank you all for visiting the blog throughout the years and for supporting this project.
It’s also been a month of continuing our third, sometimes fourth, reading of the plays. We’ve finished Richard II and started (almost finished) Henry IV Part One.
Coming up, next week, is the release party for Shakespeare Calling – the book, just a local event for local friends. I wish you all could be there! Another book of interest will be released as well. See below under ‘Further since last time’ for more information.

Shakespeare Calling – the book

For those of you in the UK, Sweden and the rest of Europe:
or Adlibris, CDON or Bibliotekstjänsten

For those of you in the rest of the world and/or those who usually shop at Available soon (I hope) also as an e-book.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary:
  • Varro, used as one of Timon of Athens’ creditors, lived from 116 – ca 27 BC and was one of Rome’s most prolific writers. Another Varro fought Hannibal. The name, D+F tell us, would have been well known in the Renaissance.
  • Venice was a major cultural and economic centre in Shakespeare’s time and is mention in The Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Much Ado about Nothing, The Merchant of Venice (obviously), Richard II and Othello.

Shakespeare sightings:
  • The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen has one mention of Shakespeare. In telling the story of a local couple who had escaped the tyranny of a father to go to Australia, one version is that they don’t make it.  ‘You got the Shakespearean tragedy. Instead of living happily ever after, the illicit lovers are torn to shreds in the shark-infested seas of the Pacific.’  Hm, sounds like Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter
  • In the novel Thin Air by Ann Cleeves one of the murder suspects had done a drawing of the victim ‘looking like Ophelia in her bridesmaid’s dress.’ Her bridesmaid’s dress?
  • In writing up the cast of The Lord of the Rings – the Fellowship of the Rings I see that the endearing Pippin is played by Billy Boyd, who played Banquo in the Macbeth we saw at the Globe in 2013.
  • In the novel The Girl on the Road by Monica Byrne Meena meets a lifeguard who thinks there are more things in heaven and earth than can be dreamt of in our philosophy. Later, on her journey on the Trail, Meena adds to her scroll (a futuristic form of e-book) her favourites, including Shakespeare.
  • In the novel Shifting Colours by Fiona Sussman the rich white civil rights activist in South Africa has Shakespeare amongst her Gordimer, Paton and Wilbur Smith books.
  • Ben Elton’s protagonist in The First Casualty, Douglas Kingsley, has to take an alias to go undercover. He considers Shakespeare but figures it’s probably too showy so opts for Christopher Marlowe.
  • Beethovenbiografin is the enormous, 900 + page long biography of Beethoven by √Öke Holmquist. I have read 50 pages so far. It’s quite interesting and on page 45 we learn that in Beethoven’s home town Bonn there was a lively cultural life. The theatre put on productions of Hamlet, King Lear, Richard III and Macbeth for example.
  • Travelling to Infinity is Jane Hawking’s updated version of her memoirs of her marriage to Stephen Hawking. Shakespeare figures frequently:
    • She went to a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet when she was young.
    • She was convinced that there ‘had to be more to heaven and earth than was contained in Stephen’s cold, impersonal philosophy.’
    • On a Spanish course in Spain that included Shakespeare in Spanish she decided to be a truant after one class because it ‘made a travesty of Macbeth, and …enough was enough. I had had a lifetime’s education in Shakespeare at school and could not bear the thought of having a supplementary dose in Spanish.’  Later, however, she mentions several interesting encounters with Romeo and Juliet.
    • She and Stephen discuss Shakespeare with some of his colleagues from the Soviet Union.
    • She mentions a Shakespeare knot garden. I must confess I don’t know what that is.
    • After one of Stephen’s health crises she describes him as being ‘very frightened, like Lear, he was child-changed…’
    • ‘With a little help from Shakespeare, Stephen had devised a title for his book.’ ? How is A Brief History of Time connected to Shakespeare?
    • At her wedding with her second husband Jane and Stephen’s daughter Lucy recited Shakespeare’s sonnet about the marriage of true minds.
  • In the third part of her Regeneration trilogy about World War One, The Ghost Road, Pat Barker’s character Billy Prior writes about his servant Longstaffe who can quote Shakespeare by heart, for example, ‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,’ the night before a battle. Billy himself thinks it would be more appropriate to quote, ‘I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more…’
  • On an episode of the BBC game show Pointless, which we watched daily in England last spring, now seen on YouTube, one of the questions was about the most borrowed library books. One of the contestants answered Shakespeare but it was wrong.
  • Both Dagens Nyheter and TV’s Kulturnyheter report on Benedict Cumberbatch’s battle with mobile phone users during his performance of Hamlet. I’m on his side. How annoying that must be.
  • In the British TV series The Last Tango in Halifax with Shakespearean Derek Jacobi playing a very nice old man, he wonders if the quote ‘now heaven walks on earth’ is from Shakespeare. I didn’t know so I googled it. Yes. Twelfth Night. Later ‘her infinite variety’ from Antony and Cleopatra is used. That one I know.
  • In Endeavour, the first episode of season two, when Endeavour Morse is returning to duty after an injury, his less than sympathetic chief played by Anton Lesser (a wonderful Feste in Twelfth Night) says, ‘Once more unto the breach, mmm?’

Further since last time:
  • Finished reading aloud with Hal: Richard II
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: Henry IV Part One
  • Posted on my Facebook (by me): ‘Dear Shakespeare friends, Shakespeare and Merlin were friends! I have it on good authority. The author of this just published book, Rhuddem Gwelin, is my cousin, or twin sister, or kinswoman, or something, and she assures me that every word (more or less) is (sort of) true! Don't miss it!’  I repeat. Don’t miss it. Order it at the same time as you order Shakespeare Calling – the book and save on postage.

Posted this month
  • This report
  • ‘Looking for Richard’ in Richard II

Posted 7 September 2015

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