[book review] Laura Ashe, Richard II: A Brittle Glory

cover asheLaura Ashe,  Richard II:  A Brittle Glory (Penguin Monarchs), (London:  Penguin, 2017)

With a particular connection to Shakespeare’s play about Richard, and a few Penguin Monarchs already under my belt, I’d really hoped for something special from this book.

I was disappointed.

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QotW (#87): 02 September 2019

… and we’re back to school today, for another year’s fun and games.

Cue all kinds of traffic on Twitter and elsewhere on-line: pre-battle speeches from the veterans; advice sought by the newbies, and given by the self-styled ‘influencers’; new teaching-year resolutions declared; virtue-signalling pictures of classroom displays, and so on …

Have I got anything to add to the Babel? Not really.  I’d rather chat about Literature …

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[book review] Helen Castor, Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity

cover castorHelen Castor, Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity (Penguin Monarchs Series), (London:  Penguin, 2018)

Helen Castor is – perhaps despite the title – sensibly objective in this short (117 pages) but useful biography of Elizabeth. Early on, she admits that the queen was almost unknowable to her subjects and rivals, let alone to us from a distance of over 300 years.
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Forensic Friday #019: 1HIV IV.i

 

northern lights gif

It seems I’m not alone in placing the Northern Lights at or near the top of my (fairly small) bucket list.  Some of my strongest, and most content, memories are of nights spent looking upwards at the indescribable grandeur and beauty of the universe (I highly recommend this corner of Reddit you need a regular fix of infinity, by the way).

Imagine how travellers in earlier ages would have tried to express seeing the Northern Lights when they returned home.  That’s where I’m headed today … considering how we describe the indescribable …

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[book review] Robert Hutchinson: House of Treason

cover HUTCHINSONRobert Hutchinson, House of Treason:  The Rise and Fall of a Tudor Dynasty, (London:  Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009)

Never mind, DBDDBS*, Robert Hutchinson gives us ample material for a new mnemonic in his account of various generations of the hapless Howard Dynasty.

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PTS 015/095: Two Bravehearts Collide

Owain-Glyndwr
Owain Glyndŵr stirs the blood in Corwen, North Wales

PTS 015/095 1HIV Act III, scene i

When my Dearest Partner of Greatness (DPG) and I were discussing Trilogy Day at The Globe, THIS is the scene that prompted my suggestion she come along to this first play.  Curiosity mixed with mischief as I thought about her reaction to an English representation of the national hero, Owain Glyndŵr

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QotW (#85) 12 August 2019

shakespeare map

Particularly when teaching writing, I’ve often compared a text to a map.  My thoughts generally run like this:

When your reader lands on a fresh page of prose, they haven’t got a clue what landscape they are standing on; it’s up to us as writers to orientate them, and our language forms the contour lines and the key to the world we are mapping out for them.  We have to make careful decisions about what and how much to show – how far they can see; how quickly they can recognise signs, symbols and the direction of travel.  We need to contextualise what they’re reading, even if that is the relationship between this page and the previous one, or this paragraph and the one before it, because context is key to avoiding the dizzy nausea that can turn a reader off.

Conversely, when teaching close reading, it’s all very well spotting WHAT a writer is trying to do.  By the time pupils hit KS3 at Y7 they can all spot a simile: a symbol on the map.  But how many students, even when we get up to the heights of Y13 can really read the map, talk about WHY the simile was employed; WHY that particular comparison was chosen?

Context, in it’s broader sense, is everything

Continue reading “QotW (#85) 12 August 2019”