For too many of the 600,000 students who sit that GCSE, it’s their final taste of Shakespeare …
Shakespeare is the only author that everyone over here has to study. Unless, it appears, you live in Scotland (and someone might be able to correct me on that if I have misread the SQA specification) …
‘For divers unknown reasons‘ as Richard III would say, I’ve been engaged in a little research of what our exam boards offer at Key Stage 4 – that is for the 15/16 year-olds who sit their GCSE English Literature. I think it throws up some interesting points:
Continue reading “Pay attention, there’ll be a test!”
Don’t Panic, as Douglas Adams might say. Together we can beat this awful disease.
This is a PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING brought to you by the Boar’s Head, Eastcheap.
There is a deadly, debilitating disease sweeping schools in the UK. Parents, teachers, and especially students need to be informed. Many people do not realise they have it until it is too late. Treatment can be lengthy, and painful, and some patients (err, I mean students) never recover.
Continue reading “Crimes Against Shakespeare 011: beware Shakesphobia”
Almost nothing seems to have changed in 400 years … as usual …
subtitled, ‘Food for powder‘
Matthew Beaumont: Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London (London: Verso Books, 2015)
My recent article on Gayle Rubin‘s important Feminist work, ‘The Traffic in Women’ touched upon what has been historically expected of women, especially working class ones. Rubin takes a look at the Marxist position before developing it into a gender rather than class-specific argument: the commodification of women in the marriage market. It’s an excellent read.
And we see Rubin’s position everywhere in Shakespeare and the EMP, where women constantly struggle against the social imperative to marry a man who ticks boxes for their family / parents, love coming as an unexpected bonus. Even comedies such as The Dream feature the tension between ‘kinship‘ and ‘companionate‘ marriages.
To say nothing of the pressures Elizabeth I was under, of course …
In my article, I dipped into Beaumont‘s book for a supporting quotation, but it’s been weighing on my mind. I think it needs to be considered on its own merits.
Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 26 February 2018 (#30)”
This has been on my mind for a while …
This is a long read – I say that on a blog where posts often hit 1,300 words, against ‘accepted wisdom’ – so apologies in advance. YOUR blog is your blog; my blog is MY blog, and I write for catharsis and as a kind of journal, not ‘popularity’, ‘followers’, or ‘influence’. I was tempted to temper my words with a gallery of pictures, but that didn’t feel right, either. This post feels a little more personal than most.
In spite of, or maybe because of, constant trawling for Shakespeare-related content, I have only just found this. Last April, Peter Marks wrote a piece for The Washington Post (link below) suggesting that Americans are too ‘intellectually lazy’ to appreciate Shakespeare, and fearing for the future popularity of the plays. My immediate response was ‘you think it’s bad in the US? Try over here, where Shakespeare was born!’
Continue reading “Crimes Against Shakespeare 010: On ‘Dumbing Down’”
Sometimes the smoke is easier to read than others …
Love’s Labour’s Lost – Act III
Inspired by Ursula K Le Guin and The Pet Shop Boys, I picked this up again with a steely glint in my eye. I’ll read. I’ll gloss. I’ll conquer!
Continue reading “PTS 09/054: 400 Year-Old Smoke Signals”
I’d stopped listening to the voices in my head, and actually, they’re the important ones in English.
My Ponytail Shakespeare read-through project is behind schedule.
Not drowning, necessarily – still waving, to paraphrase Stevie Smith, but wishing I wasn’t quite so far away from the shore, paddling blithely in the warm shallows of Romeo and Juliet, as I should be by the end of January; having splashy fun with the rest of the blog and my new excursions on Twitter. But fifty-plus posts and nine plays in? Not dead.
That said, despite plenty of opportunity, I’ve ‘not got round to‘ reading Act III of Love’s Labour’s Lost. I’m still reading: Iain M Banks, Paolo Bacigalupi, and chunks of George Wilson Knight on Julius Caesar, but, when all’s said and done, no Shakespeare or LLL.
We might say I’ve lost any love of my labour in this play … (sorry about that)
Continue reading “PTS 09/053: A Reminder to Rebel”
She sounded unimpressed. Hurt, even. I backtracked swiftly.
I live alone, and lead quite a solitary existence, truth be told.
But, and I suspect it’s a sign of madness, like JF Sebastian in Bladerunner, I have a number of inanimate buddies who I’ve named. I even say hello to them when I get in, sometimes, in a post-post-post-modern, ironically jovial way. Take my fridge, for example …
Continue reading “What’s in a name, Google?”