Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 2016

Since we’re still reading the Henry VI trilogy there will be no play analysis this time but there has been quite a lot going on in the world of Shakespeare so here’s the report:

Shakespeare Calling – the book
Available on
or Adlibris, CDON or Bibliotekstjänsten
Please help promote the book by liking and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Bokus…. And please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it!
Once again, thank you all for visiting the blog throughout the years and for supporting this project.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary:
  • Wittenberg’s most famous student was undoubtedly Hamlet but a few others studied at this German university founded in 1502. The city itself is from the 12th century. D&F write that the fact that Hamlet and Horatio studied there ‘would indicate they were at the forefront of thinking at their time.’ 

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the novel Caedmon’s Song, by Peter Robinson, Martha, contemplating the meaninglessness of life, recalls Shakespeare’s lines, ‘As flies to wanton boys, are we to gods; They kill us for their sport.’ Later her alter ego Kirsten, in trying to remember what her attacker looked like, compares the frustration to trying to find a phrase from Shakespeare when you can’t remember which play it was from (the book takes place in pre-Google says).
  • In the novel Summer in February by Jonathan Smith the boisterous and not very likeable artist Alfred Munnings compares himself to Macbeth at the end just before Macduff gets him, and later to Falstaff depending on his instincts. He compares a friend of his to Pistol and says that Shakespeare would be proud of him.
  • In the novel Blackout by Connie Willis the characters are time travellers on a mission to study everyday life in England during World War II. One the agents, Polly, uses names from Shakespeare as her aliases. An actor in a bomb shelter performs Shakespeare to help his companions avoid panic during the bombing. Shakespeare’s plays are wrongfully cited frequently by his fellow bomb shelter friends. Shakespeare quotes are often used to head chapters.
  • In the sci-fi novel The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu, one of the aliens occupying human form had, it turns out, occupied Shakespeare and written his plays for him.  In this life she calls one of the centres for the good guys the Capulet Ski Lodge.
  • In the novel After You by Jojo Moyes Louisa’s mother, who is rebelling against the restraining role of housewife, says that before she shuffles off this mortal coil she wants to try new things.
  • In the novel A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo the young Chinese main character Z thinks that since Shakespeare spelled so badly she doesn’t have to be ashamed of her spelling. She also discovers the author Anon and thinks she likes him better than Shakespeare. She also points out to her British lover that the Chinese invented paper so that Shakespeare could write his plays centuries later.
  • In discussing names on the TV series Endeavor the lovely Kay says, ‘A rose by any other name…’ In a later episode, the last for Season 3, Endeavour says to his old professor when the bell rings for the second half of the concert, ‘We have heard the chimes at midnight.’
  • In Dagens Nyheter there was a notice about the new X Files in which the series is described as speaking boldly about George W Bush being part of the conspiracy and Fox Mulder siding clearly with Edward Snowdon (we’re in the middle of Season 5 so haven’t seen this). The notice goes on to say that they wouldn’t have dared do this in the ‘90’s but (and here comes the Shakespeare) ‘that the best stories outdo history in time has been shown, for example, by Shakespeare in Richard III. In 400 years George Bush will have fangs and eat babies.’
  • In the film About Time Tim says, ‘Some of my best sleeping has been done at the Royal Shakespeare Company.’
  • In The Third Rock from the Sun Dick says, ‘I believe it was Mr William Shakespeare who said, “Parting is such sweet sorrow”.’
  • In Isaac Asimov’s massive Guide to the Bible he points out that the ‘murder of an anointed king, regardless of the personal characteristics of that king, is bound to be looked upon with horror by people taught to believe that the anointment represented the adoption of the monarch by a deity. This quasi-holy character of kingship served to protect kings from assassination down to modern times.…Shakespeare, in his historical plays, sees some of the disasters befalling England in the fifteenth century as being the consequence of the forced deposition and later murder of Richard II (even though Shakespeare recognizes him as an unworthy king).’
  • Dagens Nyheter had a 3-page spread about the 400-celebration and some of the productions going on in England. Oh I want to go to England! But we have things happening here in Sweden too. See below!  

Further since last time:

  • Posted on Facebook: by blog follower Kalle ‘I was just watching a video on Nico Video (Japanese YouTube). It was a song using Vocaloids (like Hatsune Miku if you know her). Anyway, in the song Shakespeare came up! I was surprised. I didn't realize people here knew about him at all. tongue emoticon It goes "約束"は人を誘う シェイクスピア. Which means "Promise" invites people; Shakespeare. (Hard to translate.) Actually I just ran into another random Shakespeare. This time it was in a manga I was reading. The 5th volume of "Boku Dake ga Inai Machi", in which an elementary school girl is reading Shakespeare on a bench. She finds it hard to grasp. One of the others say he has only read Romeo and Juliet, and they exchange the start and end of some famous citation. Not sure which. (You haven't reached the bottom if you say you've reached the bottom? Or something like that.) Aya Nakanishi is her name btw.’ Any comments from Japanese visitors to the blog?
  • Participated in: a very interesting discussion on As You Like It arranged by the English Bookshop in Stockholm together with Bio Rio which was broadcasting the performance of the National Theatre’s production. Unfortunately Hal and I couldn’t stay for that but the discussion was very inspiring.
  • Finished reading aloud with Hal: Henry VI Part Two.
  • Seen with Hal: BBC’s version of Henry VI Part Two.
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: Henry VI Part Three. Next month I should post an analysis of all three plays.
  • Discussions started: with SEST on how to work together on the 400th anniversary. Those of you in the Stockholm area – do not miss this!
  • Scheduled: with the local library a lecture on Shakespeare, Wednesday 23 March, 6.00 p.m. Those of you in the Stockholm area: welcome! 

Posted this month
  • This report

No comments:

Post a Comment