Sunday, April 3, 2016

April 2016

Shakespeare fever is spreading as the 400-year anniversary of his death approaches.  See below for coming events. March itself has been a busy month. Among other things we’ve finished reading the Henry VI trilogy and my text is now on the blog. Richard III is waiting in the wings.
Now to the report:

Shakespeare Calling – the book
Available on
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Once again, thank you all for visiting the blog throughout the years and for supporting this project.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary:
  • Woodstock – Henry VI was there! Not the one you’re thinking of, however. This one is the royal forest in Oxfordshire that ‘was a favourite retreat for kings throughout the Middle Ages’.  Henry VI was captured there, at least in Shakespeare’s play. Blenheim palace, known amongst other things for Branagh’s Hamlet, is found there. 

Shakespeare sightings:
  • On the subject of despairing thoughts in Third Rock from the Sun Dick’s new lady love Jennifer spouts some poetry, as she tends to do, and then says, ‘Shakespeare.’ To which Dick replies admiringly, ‘He’s good!’ In a later episode, when he believes he is about to be interviewed about his intellectual prowess Dick proclaims, ‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some thrust their greatness upon others!’
  • In Isaac Asimov’s massive Guide to the Bible he compares Tobit, in the book bearing his name, to Polonius, because Tobit too gives his son advice before sending him off on a journey.
  • In the novel Academy Street by Mary Costello the hospital library where the main character Tess spends much of her time while recovering from an illness has Romeo and Juliet in its collection.
  • Dagens Nyheter had a 5-page spread about the significance of King Lear in the political situation of today: ‘Johan Hilton sees a tragedy about politicians who are no longer capable of steering their country and right-wing populists who are shredding the little remaining decency.’
  • Dagens Nyheter also has a review of a production of Romeo and Juliet in which the two lovers have lived into old age and are now living together in a pensioners’ home. It’s described as unexpectedly successful if not analysed too much.
  • Imagine our surprise when we started seeing full-page adverts for the Royal Opera with our dear friend ÖB - who is sought after in advertising as well as small roles in films, partly because of his magnificent beard and general wise old wizard good looks – as Falstaff! He assures us however that he doesn’t play Falstaff in the coming opera…
  • In John Le Carré’s classic spy novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Guillam (the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch) thinks that he’s ‘not so sure whether Percy realised, on that first presentation of the facts, quite what the facts were: after all, he was still Chief, and Haydon was still his Iago.’ 

Further since last time: 
  • Read aloud: excerpts from Shakespeare Calling – the book to a well-attended gathering at our local library under the heading: ‘Why Shakespeare?’
  • Finished reading aloud with Hal: Henry VI Part Three.
  • Seen with Hal: BBC’s version of Henry VI Part Three.
  • Written: analyses of Henry VI Part One, Two and Three.
  • Ordered but not received: Kent Hägglund’s Shakespeare en man för alla tider and Tina Packer’s Women of Will: following the feminine in Shakespeare’s plays.
  • Work started: with SEST on the program for the 400th anniversary 22, 23 and 24 April. Those of you in the Stockholm area – do not miss this!
  • Event posted on Facebook: at the English Bookshop in Stockholm ‘Breakfast Talk: Ruby Jand on Shakespeare Calling, 21 April’. Those of you in the Stockholm area, welcome! 

Posted this month
  • ‘Holy Henry’ in Henry VI Parts One, Two and Three
  • This report

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