Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday March 17 2014

A new period has started with the reading of Pericles, a far lesser known play than most of the others but quite interesting. I’ve also written a report on Shakespeare’s Language by Frank Kermode. It’s been a long time, with one thing or another, since I’ve written a book review but I still have a long list of books about Shakespeare that I’ve read so I hope to keep that going more regularly Now for the week’s report:

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Hereford – the site of many battles between the Saxons and the Celts. The Normans built castles there. Henry IV had a castle there and it was an important area of the defence of the English against the Welsh. It’s mentioned in Richard III (why not Richard II, I wonder?)
  • Hermione is not only the name of the cleverest young witch at Hogwarts but the name of the unjustly accused wife of the insanely jealous Leontes in A Winter’s Tale.  Hermione proves to be a very strong character and we’ll be getting to her soon in our reading. That play comes up next.
Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the book Thames – Sacred River by Peter Ackroyd, Shakespeare shows up a few more times:
    • “The association of Shakespeare with the Thames is generally neglected, but it was one of the highways of his invention.  He lived beside it...He crossed it continuously...His plays were performed beside its banks...when he writes of the tides, and of the merchant ships, he is considering the life of the Thames...” Worth a full quote, don’t you think?
    • Again Ophelia is mentioned as a symbol of the connection between the Thames and death.
    • Datchet is “the scene of Falstaff’s disgrace in The Merry Wives of Windsor.” He was tossed into the muddy ditch in this part of the Thames.
    • David Garrick built a temple to Shakespeare at Hampton. The bust of Shakespeare itself is however in the British Museum.
  • In the novel The London Train by Tessa Hadley one of the main characters, Cora, describes shutting up her memories in a casket like the ones used in The Merchant of Venice.
  • In a book on pedagogical teaching that we’re reading and discussing at work, Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan William, two examples of good discussion questions use Shakespeare: “Why is The Merchant of Venice a comedy (or tragedy)?” And “Is Macbeth evil or mad?”
  • Dagens Nyheter had an ad for William – the Musical (which I’m afraid we’ll miss) and in its listing of the five top cultural events of the week, Rickard III is still on it, though has slipped from first place into second.
  • In the novel Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach Shakespeare is paraphrased  in the title of an Internet broadcast, “Is This a Laptop I see Before Me?” and a failed actor cheerfully says, “I’ve just realized – if I’m not going to be an actor, I don’t have to go and stand for four hours watching Shakespeare at the Globe!” Oh, to live in London and have this option!
Further since last time:
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: Pericles
  • Written: a review of the above mentioned book.
Posted this week:
  • This Monday report.
  • Review of Shakespeare’s Language by Frank Kermode.

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