Cultural Capital 02: The Book of Genesis

It doesn’t get much more influential than the ‘good book’ in English Literature …

BH blues brothers
Do you see the light?

[Second in a series of articles aimed at our ‘A Level’ students, addressing gaps in their general and literary knowledge.  Read the previous article, On Dante’s Inferno, here]


 

Jehovahs Witnesses‘Good morning [big smile]!

In the Christmas season, who do you think is the greatest gift-giver of them all?’

(this happened to me a few weeks back)

No – don’t slam the door !  I’m genuinely not here to convert you.  But if there’s just one text that has gifted the most sources of inspiration and allusion to our Western literary tradition, it’s probably the Old Testament Book of Genesis.  Estimates vary, but its very strong messages on obedience and patriarchy have been influencing society for about 3,000 years.

This would be the book to choose alongside Shakespeare’s Complete Works when looking for the most influential literary works.

Continue reading “Cultural Capital 02: The Book of Genesis”

Quote of the Week: 29 January 2018

The ‘tribes’ that make up an audience can be just as entertaining as the show itself …

BH arden ass
This bit’s funny, everyone!

Malcom Evans, ‘Deconstructing Shakespeare’s Comedies’, in Alternative Shakespeares (ed. John Drakakis), (Methuen:  London, 1985)

Why do we go to spectator events?  What’s in an audience?

Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 29 January 2018”

PTS 09/054: 400 Year-Old Smoke Signals

Sometimes the smoke is easier to read than others …

BH smoke

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Act III

Inspired by Ursula K Le Guin and The Pet Shop Boys, I picked this up again with a steely glint in my eye.  I’ll read.  I’ll gloss.  I’ll conquer!

Continue reading “PTS 09/054: 400 Year-Old Smoke Signals”

PTS 09/053: A Reminder to Rebel

I’d stopped listening to the voices in my head, and actually, they’re the important ones in English.

BH Green Goldfish

My Ponytail Shakespeare read-through project is behind schedule.

Not drowning, necessarily – still waving, to paraphrase Stevie Smith, but wishing I wasn’t quite so far away from the shore, paddling blithely in the warm shallows of Romeo and Juliet, as I should be by the end of January; having splashy fun with the rest of the blog and my new excursions on Twitter.  But fifty-plus posts and nine plays in?  Not dead.

That said, despite plenty of opportunity, I’ve ‘not got round to‘ reading Act III of Love’s Labour’s Lost.  I’m still reading:  Iain M BanksPaolo Bacigalupi, and chunks of George Wilson Knight on Julius Caesar, but, when all’s said and done, no Shakespeare or LLL.

We might say I’ve lost any love of my labour in this play … (sorry about that)

Why?

Continue reading “PTS 09/053: A Reminder to Rebel”

Quote of the Week: 22 January 2018

It’s man’s ‘imaginations and stupidities’ that makes the tragedies so affecting – and effective …

BH bernalJD BernalThe World, The Flesh and the Devil: An Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul (Verso:  London, 2017)

Last year’s ‘reading river’ reflected a monomaniac attitude towards Shakespeare, which I think I’m going to try to avoid this year.

First off was a virtual trolley dash through the sale aisle of Verso Books, ‘the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world‘ on New Year’s Eve.  Only one of the baker’s dozen of political tracts I bought had any specific link to Shakespeare  But I can’t and won’t dismiss Shakespeare entirely this year, and there’s some added fun in finding the ‘applicability’ – NOT ‘relatability’ – of my wider reading to the plays, and vice versa.

Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 22 January 2018”

What’s in a name, Google?

She sounded unimpressed. Hurt, even. I backtracked swiftly.

BH JF SEBASTIAN

I live alone, and lead quite a solitary existence, truth be told.

But, and I suspect it’s a sign of madness, like JF Sebastian in Bladerunner, I have a number of inanimate buddies who I’ve named.  I even say hello to them when I get in, sometimes, in a post-post-post-modern, ironically jovial way.  Take my fridge, for example …

Continue reading “What’s in a name, Google?”

PTS 09/052: It’s got nil-nil written all over it …

As Alice might say: ‘de tongues of de mans is be full of
deceits’

BH no score draw

Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act II

‘We could do with a shot on goal, John.  The game’s mostly being played in the middle of the pitch’ …

Our Princess arrives, and immediately impresses.  In fact, she reminds me of my girlfriend: scarily competent, impervious to flattery (no, really), and icily, frustratingly logical at times.

Continue reading “PTS 09/052: It’s got nil-nil written all over it …”