A busy month with Shakespeare, of course, but also with Merlin and Shakespeare. Please do visit my alter ego’s new web page, especially the Shakespeare bits! https://themerlinchronicles.wordpress.com/ One of history’s greatest secrets is revealed – Merlin and Shakespeare were good friends!
Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet have all figured in this month’s Shakespearising. And there have been a lot of sighting. So, let’s get to it.
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- In the novel The Purchase by Linda Spalding the girl Mary writes in the year 1799 to her friend from Virginia and wonders if her old school was performing Shakespeare while she had only one student, a slave boy, to teach in the wilderness.
- There are so many references to Shakespeare in Philip Roth’s incoherent, almost unreadable but somehow fascinating novel I Married a Communist that the page notations almost filled the inside back cover. Here just a few of them:
- It starts out with 90-year-old Murray enrolling in a course ‘Shakespeare at the Millennium’. He had taught Shakespeare throughout his teaching career and refers to him often throughout his narration to Nathan
- As Ira is betrayed, Murray (his brother) mentions the betrayal in Othello, Hamlet, Lear, Macbeth.
- Just a few minutes after writing in An Isle Full of Noises – the Merlin Chronicles Volume 3 about Merlin’s reaction to seeing the ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy at the Globe, I read in this novel: ‘the three-hundred-word assignment – discuss, from the perspective of a lifetime, any one line in Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy…’
- Christopher Hill also refers often to Shakespeare in his The World Turned Upside Down – radical ideas during the English Revolution. Here are the best:
- ‘The Forest of Arden gave shelter to a shifting population of blacksmiths and nailers as well as to Shakespeare’s artless countrymen.’
- ‘…both Spenser and Shakespeare had clearly heard communist propaganda.’
- ‘In the freer circumstances of the 1640s and 50s most “madmen” appeared to be political radicals…One wonders how conscious Shakespeare was of what he was doing when he put significant social criticism into the mouths of fools and those, like Lear, under extreme mental stress.’
- The film The Holiday starts with the quote ‘Journeys end in lovers meeting’ and one of the characters telling us that she now knows that ‘love is blind’ is true.
- In Prunella Scales and Timothy West’s delightful program about canals they make the journey to Stratford by boat. The whole program is filled with quotes and recitations by these two brilliant Shakespearean actors, though perhaps we remember Scales best as Sybil in Fawlty Towers.
- Dagens Nyheter had an article about the book published in 1970 by Maja Ekelöf, Report from a Cleaning Bucket, about supporting five children on the salary of a cleaner while studying at university. The article ended with a list of books about scrubbing and included Macbeth with the comment that Lady Macbeth had history’s worst cleaning problem, going mad because the spots of blood would not wash out.
- In the YA fantasy Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, bad girl Isabel opened the Shakespeare she was supposed to be reading.
Further since last time:
- Finished writing: a text on Twelfth Night
- Watched: the Globe version of same.
- Read aloud with Hal: Romeo and Juliet
- Watched: the Globe version of the same
- Appeared on alter ego’s new webpage:
- The insult for today, 4 March 2018, in our calendar of Shakespeare insults, a gift from JS, is ‘Then he’s a rogue, and a passy-measures pavin. I hate a drunken roague.’ Twelfth Night. Well, that’s a coincidence.
Posted this month
- ‘A horribly funny play – Twelfth Night’
- This report
Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by