Forensic Friday (#10)

Richard II = Edward II = Prospero = Duke Vincentio = Henry VI = every useless boss you have ever worked for,

BH let us sit
Richard’s return from Ireland is NOT a happy one …

Richard II appears on my reading list for Edward II each year.  It’s not just me – this is what Jonathan Bate, who I recently gushed about, has to say:

Richard II’s relationship to Edward II is so obvious that it is not very interesting. The structure of the two plays is identical: the King is surrounded by flatterers and pitted against an assemblage of nobles with vested interests of their own, then isolated and uncrowned, stripped of his royal identity, thus forced to discover his inner self by means of a supple, reflective soliloquy delivered whilst humiliatingly in prison. In each play the Queen is pushed to the margins in part because of the king’s homoerotic leanings. Marlowe is bolder than Shakespeare in his explicit portrayal of the homosexuality and his neat device of joining the Queen with the rebels in revenge. [a]

It should be easy to find something in Richard which’ll look familiar to my Edward students, right?  Let’s have a go …

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QotW (#56): 10 September 2018

Studying a History play? Look for the playwright’s sources …

BH Edward-IIMy Marxist critical inclinations – that a text can’t be read in isolation from the contextual crucible that created it – get pretty much free reign when it comes to teaching Edward II.  For the OCR A Level course, my students need to compare Marlowe’s drama to Tennyson‘s monodrama, ‘Maud‘ and, get this, 50% of the mark is context (that’s AO3, troops).

What, exactly, is context?  I’d suggest that for both texts, maybe all texts, context is usually a mix of two things:

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Quotation of the Week (#55): 03 September 2018

What, exactly, is a text?

BH edward ii front

As the school year commences, for teachers if not students, welcome to the first page of my main copy of Marlowe‘s Edward II. [a]

Why am I showing you this?

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(book review) Melnikoff: Edward II – A Critical Reader

At £20+, you need a real connection to the play to get your money’s worth.

BH edward ii critical reader

Kirk Melnikoff (ed.), Edward II: A Critical Reader (Arden Early Modern Drama Guides), (Bloomsbury Publishing:  London, 2017)

 

 

 

 

This is my first taste of the Arden Early Modern Drama Guides series; my overall impression was a positive one.

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Quotation of the Week: 20 August 2018 (#54)

Marlowe didn’t join them; he wanted to beat them, I think …

BH marlowe malcontent

Marlowe increasingly seems a malcontent, fringe figure, occupying some very liminal spaces indeed on the shadowy edges of society …

Three weeks ago, I suggested that Marlowe had ‘learned too much at school‘,  contributing to his generally accepted ‘atheism’.  This week’s quote follows that, to consider his attitude to class … it also provides another useful adition to our store of understanding of why EMP writers wrote in the florid (at least to modern ears) style that they did.  Getting to grips with this is, I maintain, key to deciphering the texts.

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Forensic Friday (#09): Edward II (iv.400-407)

Without any protection from his class background, Gaveston’s fall was always going to be fatal.

BH alex honnold
Alex Honnold – image: Jimmy Chin

Meet Alex Honnold:

‘history’s greatest ever climber in the free solo style, meaning he ascends without a rope or protective equipment of any kind.'[a]

Just researching a picture for this post made me feel a little nauseous …

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Forensic Friday (#08) Edward II: iv, 223-229

‘We’ve had this date from the beginning’ …

BH a-streetcar-named-desire-vivien-leigh-marlon-brando-1951_a-G-14713122-7174949
Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh
Sometimes the air crackles as soon as two characters lock eyes … Brando and Leigh had it in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, and I think Marlowe achieves it towards the beginning of Edward II

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