Girdling the earth …

1595_vera_totius_hondius.jpg
A 1595 worldview, post Drake’s circumnavigation.

‘Most students away from these UK shores adore Shakespeare.

In his homeland, unless you catch them young, a dislike gets deep under the skin and stays engrained, enduring wind and weather.’ Ben Crystal [a]

Welcome to my world …

Claiming some kind of unanswerable ownership of Shakespeare based on his nationality is the last thing on my mind, akin to the idiocy of him being some kind of class signifier (or adopting the Turkish hero, St George, as England’s patron).  There’s a frustrating, illogical irony to these bigoted attitudes which I have blogged before about.  And, bear in mind, I was not born in England.

Continue reading “Girdling the earth …”

[book review] Laura Ashe, Richard II: A Brittle Glory

cover asheLaura Ashe,  Richard II:  A Brittle Glory (Penguin Monarchs), (London:  Penguin, 2017)

With a particular connection to Shakespeare’s play about Richard, and a few Penguin Monarchs already under my belt, I’d really hoped for something special from this book.

I was disappointed.

Continue reading “[book review] Laura Ashe, Richard II: A Brittle Glory”

QotW (#87): 02 September 2019

… 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 …

Continue reading “QotW (#87): 02 September 2019”

[book review] Helen Castor, Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity

cover castorHelen Castor, Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity (Penguin Monarchs Series), (London:  Penguin, 2018)

Helen Castor is – perhaps despite the title – sensibly objective in this short (117 pages) but useful biography of Elizabeth. Early on, she admits that the queen was almost unknowable to her subjects and rivals, let alone to us from a distance of over 300 years.
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Forensic Friday #019: 1HIV IV.i

 

northern lights gif

It seems I’m not alone in placing the Northern Lights at or near the top of my (fairly small) bucket list.  Some of my strongest, and most content, memories are of nights spent looking upwards at the indescribable grandeur and beauty of the universe (I highly recommend this corner of Reddit you need a regular fix of infinity, by the way).

Imagine how travellers in earlier ages would have tried to express seeing the Northern Lights when they returned home.  That’s where I’m headed today … considering how we describe the indescribable …

Continue reading “Forensic Friday #019: 1HIV IV.i”

QotW (86): 26 August 2019

 

man-writing-with-quill-pen

We all have a book in us, right?

I’d hazard that proportionately, more of us who Read (capitalisation intended), and who write blogs, believe themselves capable of writing a book.  I mean, look at The Boar’s Head – just over a quarter of a million words written since its inception in 2016.

So from about Easter onwards this year I was declaring to my older classes with increasing insouciance that this summer, of all summers, was the one that I would spend writing ‘The Book‘ …

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PTS 015/096: Gimme A Shot At The Title …

rocky apollo

PTS readthrough – 1 Henry IV:  Act III, scene ii

21 July 1403, Shrewbury.  Fifteen three-minute rounds for the Heavyweight Championship of England and Wales.  In the blue corner, the Percy Pounder, Harryyyyyyy Hotspur!  In the red, the Lancaster Lumper, Priiiiiiiiiiince Hal! Continue reading “PTS 015/096: Gimme A Shot At The Title …”

[book review] Robert Hutchinson: House of Treason

cover HUTCHINSONRobert 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.

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PTS 015/095: Two Bravehearts Collide

Owain-Glyndwr
Owain Glyndŵr stirs the blood in Corwen, North Wales

PTS 015/095 1HIV Act III, scene i

When my Dearest Partner of Greatness (DPG) and I were discussing Trilogy Day at The Globe, THIS is the scene that prompted my suggestion she come along to this first play.  Curiosity mixed with mischief as I thought about her reaction to an English representation of the national hero, Owain Glyndŵr

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[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.

Continue reading “[book review] Dan Jones: The Hollow Crown”