Monday, October 5, 2015

October 2015

What an eventful month. You can read about the release party below.
Since then my computer was taken over by a Trojan. Fortunately, I’d saved almost everything on a USB and much was recovered by my good friend KP who is a computer expert. If that wasn’t enough, our TV died and will not be brought back to life until today (hopefully.) So the two Henry IV:1 plays we’ve watched have been seen on my old laptop. Not the best quality but better than nothing.
The problems of trying to learn to become a marketing expert continue. Publishing a book in Sweden and hoping to sell it internationally is truly not an easy task.  But Shakespeare Calling – the book is out there. Below you will find the links for on-line purchase. Please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it! And once again, thank you all for visiting the blog throughout the years and for supporting this project.

Shakespeare Calling – the book

For those of you in the UK, Sweden and the rest of Europe:
or Adlibris, CDON or Bibliotekstjänsten

For those of you in the rest of the world and/or those who usually shop at Available soon (I hope) also as an e-book.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary:
  • Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty and Shakespeare referred to her often, even writing a whole poem about her and her love affair with the reluctant Adonis.
  • Verona is one of the oldest towns in Italy and has had strategic importance since Ancient Greece. It is known for its art and architecture, for its Two Gentlemen of… and the famous balcony.

Shakespeare sightings:
  • Starter for 10 stars James McAvoy who is a student with posters of Hamlet and The Tempest on his wall. He quotes from Hamlet, he’s called Romeo, and on the quiz show in which he takes part there are Shakespeare questions.
  • Ewan McGregor is also called Romeo by Brenda Blethyn because he’s wooing her daughter Jane Horrocks in the film Little Voice.
  • In The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy one of the patients in the hospice where Queenie is dying and waiting for Harold Fry to walk his way through England to see her notes that Harold has passed Stratford upon Avon. Another patient remarks, ‘I was there once. I saw King Lear…’
  • In Muriel Spark’s novel Robinson one of the characters has learned his mangled English by reading Shakespeare and talking to allied forces after WWII. Another character has Shakespeare in his book collection.
  • Friend AR has sent an interesting link about Romeo and Juliet being performed in Syria and Jordan via Skype. It’s very inspiring. Read it! 
  • Still reading Beethoven biografin by Åke Holmquist. Beethoven admired Shakespeare very much and there are a lot of references:
    • Beethoven read Shakespeare in German and his Shakespeare books were well worn.
    • Shakespeare was performed often in Bonn theatres.
    • Beethoven thought about the tomb scene from Romeo and Juliet when he wrote the F major quartet Opus 18:1
    • Beethoven called one of his friends ‘Falstaff’ because of his obesity.
    • Beethoven described his D Minor Sonata Opus 31:2 as being based on The Tempest.
    • Beethoven planned to write an opera based on Macbeth and made notes about it but that never happened.
    • In a letter Beethoven mentions that Goethe translated Shakespeare into German.
    • More next time, I’m sure, there are still 400 pages left to read!
  • On the third season of The X Files Macbeth is mentioned in the discussion of prophesying one’s own death and in a description of the elaborateness of a victim’s revenge. 

Further since last time:

Posted this month
  • This report
  • ‘Bullingbrook Blues’ in Henry IV Part One


  1. Fascinating stuff on Beethoven! I didn't know he was so obsessed by Shakespeare. He still has a long way to go to reach Berlioz, the most Shakespeare-obsessed composer by far, but that's plenty of material to reflect upon. Sources must be checked carefully: if the information comes from Schindler, it may well be fiction. (I'm not sure, but I think "The Tempest" bit did originally come from this dubious source.)

    I can't think of any Beethoven work with Shakespearean connotations, not even the terrifying overture "Coriolan" (listened to it today, still shattering) which was written as incidental music to a completely different play on the same historical person. The bit about the "Macbeth" opera, if true, is truly amazing. Not a subject I should have thought would interest Ludwig (too dark and pessimistic), but who knows.

    Thanks for sharing these details on the Beethoven-Shakespeare connection. Keep them coming.

  2. You're welcome, Alexander! It is fascinating reading. I didn't know Berlioz was so obsessed. I'll have to listen to his music with new ears. You're right about source criticism and Holmquist is very good about that. As you will see on the November report I've now finished the biography and there were a few more references, some of which were repetitions. Anyway, it's always fun to see connections between one's favourites.