December is a busy month for a lot of people, especially us teachers. National tests and grades don’t really affect my Shakespeare Mondays, that’s why it’s called leave without pay, but it seems the world of Shakespeare is sympathetic to my situation by lying low. In other words, again, not much has been happening. We are getting through Macbeth though, with a pile of movies waiting.
From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
- Ermengarde is the woman whose royalty Henry V exploited as an excuse to invade France. She was the daughter of Charles of Lorraine and her right to inherit the throne in 987 was ignored, but it came in handy four hundred or so years later. We can always find reasons in history to do the things we want to and shouldn’t.
- Eton was founded by Henry V’s unfortunate but long-lived son, the wimpy – or was he -? Henry VI. He lost a bunch of wars but he founded Eton and Cambridge and they’re still standing. Not a bad legacy.
- In an unknown TV program, caught by accident, as we turned on the TV to watch the news, one of the characters said, “their pound of flesh.”
- I’ve now finished the fascinating Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt and there are a few more Shakespeare connections.
- The hero of the book, Poggio, who found the lost Lucretius manuscript this book is about, actually got a job with Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester. He was a historical person, and even more interesting for us, uncle of the above mentioned Henry V.
- Greenblatt quotes Hamlet’s “a special providence in the fall of a sparrow” as part of the ongoing discussion on the existence and role of destiny, or as the Christians would have it, the will of God.
- Though Shakespeare did not attend college his Latin would have been good enough to read Lucretius in the original and Greenblatt makes a good argument to show that it’s completely plausible that he did, or least met with the main points in Lucretius through his, Shakespeare’s favorite philosopher Montaigne. Evidence of this abounds in the plays. That’s pretty exciting! Read Swerve!
- The well known Swedish actress Gunilla Röör has played Richard II,I Dagens Nyheter tells us. I would have liked to see her in that.
Further this week:
- Continued reading aloud with Hal: Macbeth. It’s so impressive!
- Finished reading: Sleep of Death by Philip Gooden. It turns out – surprise, surprise – that Shakespeare wasn’t guilty of murder after all.
Posted this week:
- This Monday report.