QotW (#79): 17 June 2019

father and son

Like so many annual festivals, Father’s Day is, I suppose, all about perspective.  It certainly has a different resonance now I am a father myself, and with my eldest son getting married soon, there might come a time when it means something else entirely …

A little research suggests that the secular celebration is less than a century old in the US (far after Mother’s Day was established, incidentally), and only common in the UK after the Second World War!  That said, Catholics have been commemorating the Virgin Mary’s husband, St Joseph, since before Shakespeare’s day.  And of course, we shouldn’t forget the fifth of the Ten Commandments: ‘Honour thy father and mother‘.

Rather than write something mawkish about the way I am turning into my dad, or about my sons, I wanted to think about fathers in the 16th Century …

Continue reading “QotW (#79): 17 June 2019”

PTS 014/088: With This Ring … ?

brand

RICHARD: Vouchsafe to wear this ring.

ANNE: To take is not to give.’ (RIII, I.ii)

PTS read-through:  The Merchant of Venice, Act V

Occasionally, actually quite often if you’re me, you say things in class which get far more of a reaction than you anticipated. One of those moments came recently, when I suggested that an engagement ring was a symbol of ownership, not so different from a brand on a cow, if you thought about it.

Silence invaded the room’, as Steinbeck might have said.

The students were either reappraising their world-views, or they were reappraising me. It’s never easy to tell which.

Continue reading “PTS 014/088: With This Ring … ?”

Quote of the Week: 14 May 2018 (#41)

Having fun exploring the role of literature in preserving an unfair system …

BH capitalism1Last week finished with me in full theatrical mode, pacing the classroom like a restless, caged predator, declaiming at full volume (and probably decreasingly coherently), on the likely politics of Marlowe and Tennyson.  That’ll teach my Y13s to ask for some ideas on Marxist Literary Criticism (AO5, folks), during Period 6 on a Friday …

Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 14 May 2018 (#41)”

PTS 09/056: These Words Are Not Mine …

How could I dislike this so much? Was it the play, or actually me?

BH claudius hamlet

CLAUDIUS:   How fares our cousin Hamlet?

HAMLET:   Excellent, i’ faith; of the chameleon’s dish, I eat the air, promise-cramm’d. You cannot feed capons so.

CLAUDIUS:  I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These words are not
mine.

HAMLET:  No, nor mine now.  (Act III, scene ii)

Love’s Labour’s Lost:  Act V

ME:  Thank God for that!

HER:  You’ve finished?

ME:  Yup!

HER:  Great, so now you never have to read it again.

(pause)

Continue reading “PTS 09/056: These Words Are Not Mine …”

PTS 05/031: I Don’t Know Whether To Laugh or Cry …

BH comedy tragedy

‘Good comedy is tragedy narrowly averted’ Jonathan Bate

The Two Gentlemen of Verona:  Act V

Over the past year I’ve used the question ‘What’s in a name?’ more than once, dismissing labelling in its many forms, but this feels the best way of articulating my unease with The Two Gentlemen as I finish the play …

Continue reading “PTS 05/031: I Don’t Know Whether To Laugh or Cry …”