||[Jan. 18th, 2008|10:13 am]
We've been converting the back bedroom into a study for Ailz. She's got a TV in there so she can watch the Shakespeare plays she's studying. And yesterday we went to IKEA and bought her a flat-pack bookcase. I'm good with flat-packs. This one has its shelves supported on metal pegs. I opened the packet and one of the pegs leapt out, bounced joyously and went down a gap in the floorbooards. Never mind. Ailz produced a magnet on an extending thing like a radio aerial and we had the little bugger out again in no time. |
This is going to be our year of Shakespeare. Already we go to bed and lie there talking about the Sonnets and how Shakey reportedly drank himself to death in the company of Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton and what silly wankers the Oxfordians are and other significant matters arising.
I'm reading the Lodger. It's about a law case Shakey got involved in while lodging with a Hugenot family in Cripplegate. It's like you're circumambulating him. There he is, sitting in his study bedroom with the MS of All's Well That Ends Well spread out on the table, and you can almost reach him but not quite. It's frustrating how much we know about his world- like who his neighbours were and what they did for a living- and how little about the man himself.
Ole Uncle Will trivia: When I lived in London, I had a friend who was a tourism guide. He told me that Will Shakespeare was a friend and drinking buddy of the Bishop Winchester - Ye same Bishop responsible for directing the King James translation of the Bible. There is speculation but no proof that Will may have made a comment or three on the texts.
I've always wanted to believe this as I find it hard to believe that an ordinary mortal could have penned text as beautiful as Luke Chapter 2 or the 23rd Psalm which to me is as perfect a poem ever written.
There's a story by Kipling- Proofs of Holy Writ- in which he imagines Shakespeare working on the King James Bible- more particularly polishing the prophecy in Isaiah which begins "Rise, shine, for thy light has come..."
And why not?
They were neighbors. Southwark Cathedral WAS Shakes church. It's nice to think it might be so.
Certainly a reason for avoiding this basterdised modern translation.
I always use the King James or- at a pinch- the RSV.
clever you two, getting the peg back!
I look forward to some Shakey observations over the coming months. I keep meaning to go to Stratford for a play or two...
I've just been reading All's Well that Ends Well. I may post about it tomorrow- if I can can get head around it. What a weird play!
Why not a Middleton or Webster or Jonson or Ford or Shirley or Marston or Dekker or Beaumont and Fletcher year instead?
The best thing ever said about Shakespeare was Robert Benchely's grouse that "Shakespeare (or the Immortal Bard, as his wife used to call him) isn't that great. I give 400 more years." And yes, the Oxonians are wankers. I had one as a high school teacher. I scored revenge on her when she said the Globe burnt down during a performance of Hamlet. I raised my hand and said it had actually burnt down during a performance of Henry VIII.
That's easy to answer. Ailz is doing a Shakespeare course with the Open University and I've decided to ride shotgun.
I like some of those other guys, but I'm not sure I'd want to spend a whole year in their company.
I am taking a class, or rather a seminar on Shakespeare's Roman plays - including his research into Plutarch and the Roman influence on the Shakespearian theatre. It has not yet started. Monday was to have been the first night of this once a week class, but school was closed because of a deep snowstorm. Next Monday is the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. We will not be starting until January 28th.
Is Ailz taking a Shakespeare survey course or a specialized one?
I remember my first Shakespeare course. I dreaded it but had to take it as part of my English Major. What I got was a marvellous professor who "opened the book" for me. Although I was not required to take the second semester, I volunteered for it. Now, several years later this new opportunity arose - to study Shakespeare with the very best Humanities/History teacher I have ever had. I also have another class with the same professor this semester -- "Pagan Reason to Christian Revelation", and in the past have studied 5th Century Athens and Imperial Rome with him. There remains only one more class which he teaches, and I will take it next fall: "Dante, the Divine Comedy in a Historical-Sociological Context".
Shakespeare is working up to a degree with the Open University. This is the fourth unit she's taken. It'll involve her in a close reading of about 8 different plays.
I love Shakespeare. I'm not sure quite how I first encountered him- probably through acting in extracts from Julius Caesar and Macbeth at school. I was 11 or 12 and I got to do Mark Antony's Friends Romans, Countrymen speech in front of a hall full of doting parents. Bliss.