[book review] Dan Jones: The Hollow Crown

jones book coverDan Jones, The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors, (London: Faber & Faber, 2015)

Dan Jones’ muscular account begins with Catherine de Valois’ marriage to Henry V in 1420, and ends in 1541, with the brutal execution of Margaret Pole (at 67) by Henry VIII; the final remnant of the Plantagenet dynasty to be mopped up by the Tudors.

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PTS 015/094: Zap!

PTS readthrough: 1 Henry IV, II, iv

‘As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods.

They kill us for their sport.’ (King Lear, IV.i), [a]

In Nick Hornby’s terrific ‘High Fidelity, the music-obsessed narrator, owner of a record store, is asked to name his favourite songs by a pretty, young journalist type. [b] He has an embarrassing meltdown. Stumbling out a few choices, he resorts to contacting her several times afterwards, with constant revisions to his ultimate ‘best of’ list, until he realises he’s practically stalking her …

That’s me, asked to identify my favourite scenes.

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Forensic Friday #018: 1HIV II.iv

Play Extempore

If all the year were playing holidays,

To sport would be as tedious as to work (I.ii)

Erm … no!

Prince Hal is one of those annoying, frankly very boring people who simply don’t have sufficient imagination to have hobbies. The ones who pine away six months into hard-earned retirement, or keep coming into work after you thought you’d finally got rid of them, to ‘keep their hand in, and check the youngsters haven’t stuffed it up yet.’ AND they no longer contribute towards the coffee fund!

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PTS 015/093: Man-Crush alert!

Hotspur Kate
Joe Armstrong and Michelle Dockery

PTS read-through:  1 Henry 4 Act II, scene iii

How can anyone, male or female, gay or straight, NOT fall for Harry Hotspur?

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QotW (#74) 29 April 2019

despair and die

I shall despair; there is no creature loves me,

And if I die no soul shall pity me.  (Richard III: V.iii) [a]

No matter how many times I watch it – with Y9, 12 and 13 classes, or alone – Benedict Cumberbatch can move me to tears, delivering what I think are the saddest lines in Shakespeare.

The saddest lines … by arguably the biggest villain?

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Richard III on screen

the great debate

Will the  real Richard III please stand up?

The differences between our screen Shakespeares can be easily as great as those between Thomas More‘s view of him pitched against Sir Horace Walpole in the fascinating book, The Great Debate.

This essay explores how Shakespeare’s script has been interpreted to portray our tragic hero …

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QotW (#72): 08 April 2019

subtitled: ‘Sir’s rule number 1‘ …

nightwatchman

‘Who’s there?’

‘Nay, answer me.  Stand and unfold yourself.’ [a]

Bernardo and Francisco have a point.  The entire path of the scene is determined by who is on stage.  Think of the ways the conversation could go if instead of Bernardo, another unknown Dane approaches Francisco’s guard-post, or one of Fortinbras’ troops.

From Hamlet to real life, and the idea of decorum – behaving or speaking appropriately to the circumstances and audience.

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Pass the Popcorn (AO5 at KS5)

RIII AO5
You think this looks mad NOW? Wait until it’s finished …

Welcome to my next stupidly ambitious project …

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Quotation* of the Week: 13 August 2018 (#53)

Thankfully, we can’t have a third series of The Hollow Crown, but what about adaptations of the Roman plays?

Great Performances: The Hollow Crown - The Wars of the Roses: Henry VI Part 2

 

If there’s one thing my (currently stuttering) Pony Tail Shakespeare read-through project has given me so far, it’s a greater love for the History Plays.  Once the project is (eventually) finished, I’m looking forward to reading them again merely for pleasure.

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PTS 11/068: ‘Team Richard’ T-shirt Time …

The power of beauty vs. the beauty of power …

BH CSF14 RII 86647
Cambridge Shakespeare Festival 2014.  Image: ME

An emerging theme in my reading – and teaching – is the notion of being careful what you wish for.  For too many, Nietzsche’s ‘will to power’ is ephemeral, evaporating once a goal is achieved.  To others, it is an insatiable addiction. What links both is the outcome: unhappiness and deep satisfaction – the former cannot easily retain their newly won goal; the latter need another, greater fix of achievement.
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