Sunday, November 5, 2017

November 2017

It’s not quite blow, winds, rage blow but it is November and windy and often grey and dark but that’s a good time to read and give lectures on ‘Why Shakespeare?’ (see below) and listen to new CD’s with Shakespeare music (see below). Yes, I’m OK with November!

As always, I will once again mention to visitors of this blog that Shakespeare Calling – the book is available for purchase. Please help promote the book by buying it, of course, and telling your friends about it, by liking and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Bokus…. And please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it.  Thank you. Your support is needed to keep this project alive.

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Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the novel The Shining by Stephen King Wendy jokingly calls her author husband Jack ‘the American Shakespeare’ and some 300 pages later when things have started to go wrong she reflects that the untidy half-mad Jack resembled ‘an absurd twentieth-century Hamlet, an indecisive figure so mesmerized by onrushing tragedy that he was helpless to divert its course or alter it in any way.’
  • In the novel At Yellow Lake by Jane McLoughlin, Etta’s hard-living mother says when Etta expresses surprise that her mother might go back to college, ‘Yeah. College. Why do you sound so shocked...I finished a whole semester before I had Jesse…English Lit, that was my major. Shakespeare. Jane Austen…’
  • Dagens Nyheter informs us that the brilliant Shakespearean (and elsewise) actor Jonas Karlsson has received the O’Neill award for his ability to awaken sympathy for dark characters, citing his interpretation of Richard III as an example. Jonas Karlsson was quoted as saying that to celebrate he would be playing Richard III that evening.
  • In the film Gideon’s Daughter with Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt, an excerpt from Richard III (popular play!) is performed at the daughter’s end of term assembly.
  • In Love Actually (watched the next evening because we can’t get enough of Nighy)
    • Hugh Grant as the prime minister boasts to the American president, ‘We are the country of Shakespeare, Harry Potter and David Beckham’s right foot.’
    • Colin Firth, a mystery writer, as his pages blow into the lake: ‘It’s not Shakespeare.’
  • In Christopher Hill’s The Century of Revolution he writes
    • in his introduction: ‘Shakespeare had thought of the universe and of society in terms of degree, hierarchy; by 1714 both society and the universe seemed to consist of competing atoms.’
    • ‘Shakespeare’s historical plays illustrate the Elizabethan sense that a strong monarchy was essential to defend national unity against foreign invasion and domestic anarchy.’
    • of the ‘boundless individualism’ in Macbeth and King Lear, Coriolanus and The Merchant of Venice, and that in Hamlet ‘the conflict has entered the soul of the hero.’
    • that in the late 17th century: ‘Tragedy and comedy, which Shakespeare had integrated in his plays, are now as sharply distinguished as prose and poetry….’
  • In the modern version of King Kong one of the sailors says to screen writer Adrien Brody as he passes, ‘Excuse me, Shakespeare.’
  • In the novel Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig
    • Lottie is worried about her teen-aged son and her mother Marta says, ‘that way madness lies.’
    • Hugh, Lottie’s father-in-law, about her and her husband Quentin’s marriage problems: ‘Love is not love that alters when alteration finds or bends with the remover to remove.’ Which sonnet? Any guesses?
    • Quentin, when discussing problems in sleeping arrangements in the crowded house with Lottie, who protests that her son can’t sleep in her bed: ‘No, that’d be altogether too much like Hamlet. Jesus, Lottie!’
    • Hugh, who does not have a good relationship with his son Quentin, tells him: ‘I’ll come back to haunt you like Hamlet’s father.’ 

Further since last time:
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: King Lear
  • Ordered, received but not listened to: the 10-CD box Shakespeare in Music
  • Preparations made: for my lecture ‘Why Shakespeare’ at the English Bookshop in Uppsala on Tuesday 7 November

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