‘Who’s Macduff again, Sir?‘
Everyone remembers the ‘Egg’, but not who his father is …
‘Who’s Macduff again, Sir?‘
Not ALL those who wander are lost. But I think I have been, for a while …
And he himself wander’d away alone,
No man knows whither. (Richard III, IV.iv)
Tentatively, I feel like my self-imposed exile might be over.
Be warned: today’s post has little to do with Shakespeare per se, except as an example of my own peculiar insanity, and a way of getting rid of an ‘ear-worm’ that has been plaguing me since May.
… 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 …
Robert 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.
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 …
PTS read-through: 1 Henry 4 Act II, scene iii
How can anyone, male or female, gay or straight, NOT fall for Harry Hotspur?
You almost feel sorry for the Spanish …
Today marks the day when the undeniably mighty Armada, reeling from a night attack by fireships and blocked from retreating down the Channel, was pummelled by English ships and scattered northwards by storms. Unable to regroup, they tried – and many failed – to get home the hard way, via Scotland and Ireland.
It’s easy to forget that Shakespeare pre-dates social media …
‘We’re sitting here like a couple regular fellas. You do what you do. I do what I gotta do. And now that we have been face-to-face, if I am there and I got to put you away?
I won’t like it. But, if it’s you, or some poor bastard whose wife you’re going to turn into a widow, brother, you are gonna go down.’ [a]
What if Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots had met … ?
1 Henry IV Act I scene ii is, really, all about that devastating soliloquy in which Hal channels Lon Chaney jr.
But before that, I want to have a word about … EXPOSITION.