Michael K Jones, 1485: Bosworth – Psychology of a Battle (John Murray: London, 2014)
My hopes for this book weren’t high, having bought it for £2-99 from one of those small discount bookstores that seem to defy all logic in staying afloat. I’ve been pleasantly surprised: Jones has something different to say, and he argues it clearly and persuasively.
One of the things he looks at is the demonisation of Richard, asking if it isn’t just a little over the top. If so, why?
“Don’t expect gratitude from anyone who makes it thanks to you”
Subtitled: The Curse of the ‘Without-Whoms’
Niccolò Machiavelli, Il Principe (The Prince) original publication 1532
This is close to the top of my list of for the Cultural Capital series – a short, highly influential read, freely available: something which, frankly, you ought to have read by the time you hit university – whether or not you are an English Lit student.It’s the kind of thing that certain people, in certain circles, will expect you to have a working knowledge of in the big bad world.
Anyway, to this week’s quotation.Consider the following:
Claiming ‘Shakespeare was this or that’, or worse, ‘Shakespeare did not write the plays’, does NOT entitle you to a mic-drop. It just shows your intellectual bankruptcy …
I’ve written elsewhere about the Rally of Revenge – about my unease that once you abandon all faith in ‘due process‘ or ‘justice‘ (either earthly or divine); once you understand that inequality is endemic, you have nothing left to lose – if you are already losing – so keep raising the stakes until someone has to leave the game. If it’s uncomfortable, perhaps it’s also sometimes necessary, to affect change of a fundamentally broken system. You might not see the benefits yourself. Hey, if you have to leave the game, then so be it: losing can become preferable to playing along, eventually.
There are always other games, other paths, whilst we are still alive – experience has taught me that, even if Shakespeare hasn’t.
And that’s where I find myself, professionally, this weekend. Approaching change, but ready for it, and maybe, in some ways, relieved that an unhappy stasis has broken. There are always other games.
There is a third way – for revenge – I’ve not written about before. The poet George Herbert(1593-1633) suggested that:
Living well is the best revenge.
And I’ll embrace and adapt that, in a ‘standing on the shoulders of giants‘ sense.
Living well equals happiness. LAUGHTER is the best revenge.
Today, I intend to laugh at someone. Long, and hard.
If there’s another Shakespeare play in which dreams loom as large, I’ve yet to read it …
PTS Shakespeare read-through – Richard III, Act I sc iv.
Back in early 1997, I discovered that my eldest son was on his way. The pregnancy was unplanned, and to say the least a shock to a frankly very immature young man who was focussed on nothing but wine, women and song – not necessarily in that order. To be fair to him, books sometimes made an appearance, too. He was, I like to think, a completely different person to the one who’s writing this evening – I look back on him with some shame (on sleepness nights), listing the apologies I owe people.
Anyway, that night, I dreamed that I was eating scissors – large pairs, practically garden shears – but as I chewed them, they transformed into soft, grey liquorice (which I happen to enjoy, luckily).
Disturbed, I went to my mum, who has the folk wisdom of the ancients in some things, and absolutely no common-sense when it comes to others (oh, the stories I could tell). She does, though, have an almost medieval belief in dreams. I told her my dream, but not my news. And she told me that although I was expecting, dreading hard times ahead, I’d find that what I feared would actually be far, far better than expected.
She was right …
So I’m interested, with a lower case ‘i’, in dreams, with a lower case ‘d’. I have many very lucid dreams, and lots of nested dreams, a bit like the film Inception, where through effort I can transfer from one dream to another. They fascinate me, even as they unsettle me.
And if there’s another Shakespeare play in which dreams loom as large, I’ve yet to read it …
In some ways, this post feels like a partner to yesterday’s …
Survive in teaching long enough – it IS a question of survival, and of course many do not – and your students grow up, and they leave ‘the nest’ that is your classroom. Some you never hear from, or indeed see, again, and all you can hope is that the The Long Goodbye … applies.
Others stay in touch. It’s one of my chief joys this year that some of my Year 11 class from last year pop in and say hello every now and then, even though, or perhaps especially where they haven’t chosen English at A Level. Don’t tell them that. Oops.
Eventually, some become friends. And James is one of mine.