Half-Term Book Haul (Feb 2019)

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So near, and yet so far …

Not quite as frugal as October 2018‘s haul, sadly, but on the whole equally satisfying.

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QotW (#69): 25 February 2019

Illustration; Bear Baiting with dogs in the 16th century
‘They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But, bear-like, I must fight the course’. Macbeth, V,vii [a]
If you flick over to my Goodreads page, you’ll see me taking in a lot more historical fiction this year, and unusually, this week’s quotation is taken from one of them – albeit the introduction.

It’s something to especially bear in mind now The Merchant of Venice has come round in my read-through.

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Forensic Friday 012: Richard III, I,iii

Margaret-of-Anjou-463969669x-58b74be75f9b588080559d02
SEEMS like a nice girl …

And we’re back with Forensic Fridays

Partly because I’m teaching Richard III to a new A Level class, partly because my exam class will benefit, should they ever visit (you know who you are), and partly because yes, they are fun.

You can see the full rules here, but if you’ve been before, the task is to write a prize-winning forensic analysis of a very short extract in just 250 words, working to OCR’s mark-scheme in order to provide some models for my students.

In this passage, I returned to the dramatic moment when deposed Queen Margaret of Anjou, devastated by the killings of her son and then her husband (within 17 days, historically), calls down the heavens to curse Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who in the Henry VI cycle did what had to be done.  It’s a very tense moment …

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PTS 14/084: Why dost thou spit at me?

camel
[title from Richard III: I, ii]
Ponytail Shakespeare read-through:  The Merchant of Venice, Act I

Bring your baggage to the texts‘, I always say …

By this I mean your life experiences, the nature, the nurture, the things that define you, good and bad.  These are what make your responses to texts individual; they are what lets texts get under your skin as you measure yourself against the moral and ethical dilemmas they present; they, as experience changes you, are what make occasional re-reading such a thought-provoking and rewarding exercise.

So why am I feeling so uneasy about Antonio this time round?

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QotW (#68) 18 February 2019

rumsfeld.jpg

First (my QotW comes later), a few pithy words from Donald Rumsfeld in February 2007:

‘There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.’

Something worth bearing in mind as the Ponytail Shakespeare read-through canters on to The Merchant of Venice

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PTS 13/83 King John Soundtrack Album

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Just as this play is hard to pigeonhole, so the King John Soundtrack has easily been the most difficult to put together.

So much so that although I usually manage at least double-figures, but not today.

The usual question therefore takes on greater urgency …

WHAT HAVE I MISSED?

 

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QotW (#67): 11 February 2019

“this it is, when men are ruled by women” – or at least by their groins …

Claudius & Gertrude

Although I’m never going to end up on stage, I often compare teaching to acting.

Non-teachers, think for a second: up to six performances a day, with audiences who require subtly different characterisations from you.  (My timetable goes from Y12 to Y7 without interval on a Friday afternoon, for instance).  That plus the teacher persona you can only shrug off when you’re safely indoors (because even walking down the street you end up intervening when you see pupils in uniform mucking about).  To say nothing of the range of people you have to be – in five minute chunks – at Parents’ Evenings …

No wonder I’m perpetually exhausted.

But if I were asked to play a Shakespearean role, what would be my top three choices?

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