Not a lot to write this week. The film watching has started, thoughts on the Tempest text are circulating, three more books of interest have been posted. That’s about it. So here’s the week’s report.
From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
- Pendragon, you know, of Uther and Arthur fame with their friend Merlin, is actually mentioned in Shakespeare once, in Henry VI Part One. In Shakespeare’s time the Camelot myth was still very popular but Shakespeare is generally thought to be ridiculing it the various times he mentions it in his plays.
- Perigouna. If you feel the need to worship a new deity here’s one for you. Perigouna was the mother of Melanippus (father: Theseus). D+F tell us that Perigouna, or perhaps her son, founded the cult that worshipped the asparagus. Well, why not? It’s nutritious and does more good than deities generally do.
- In the film Dark Shadows, Johnny Depps’ character, the vampire, reflects on the lyrics of 20th century popular songs (“I’m a picker, I’m a grinner...” by the Steve Miller Band) and says, “If only Shakespeare had been as eloquent.”
- There have been adverts for various Shakespeare productions this week: a one-man Hamlet, and at the Royal Ballet Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- In Jacqueline Winspear’s solemn and very good novel about World War One (not part of the Maisie Dobbs series) The Care and Management of Lies, Hawkes says to Tom as they observe the approaching German soldiers, “Discretion might be the better part of valour.” Tom should have listened to him. Later the villain Knowles, out to get Tom, reflects with satisfaction that he will get his pound of flesh sooner or later.
Further since last time:
- Watched with Hal: The BBC version of The Tempest
- Continued reading: Peter Ackroyd’s Shakespeare the Biography.
- Continued watching Season One of the Canadian series Slings and Arrows, received from friends KJG and JG, about a theatre troupe putting on Shakespeare plays. It just gets better and better.
Posted this week:
- This Monday report
- Report on three books about Hamlet: Hamlet’s Purgatory by Stephen Greenblatt. To Be or Not to Be by Douglas Bruster. Hamlet, Contemporary Critical Essays, New Casebooks, edited by Martin Coyle.