Sir Peter Hall (1930-2017)

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I won’t hypocritically pretend that Sir Peter Hall was a friend or indeed someone I knew very much about.  I might have been to one of his productions over the years, but for most of the time it’s not been the sort of thing I took careful note of – let’s face it, I was probably under 10 when I saw my first Shakespeare.  It would be churlish, though, on a blog like this not to mark his passing.  He’s one of those people whose life influences yours at one remove …

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Quote of the Week: 11 September

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BATE, Jonathan: ‘Introduction’, in Titus Andronicus (The Arden Shakespeare: London, 2003)

Some students see value in Literature as an end in itself.  Others need a bit of persuading about why they have to study poetry, novels, and of course Shakespeare in particular (sigh).

‘What’s Shakespeare got to do with me?  I want to be an air hostess!’

I was asked by a Year 9 pupil a few years ago.  Henry Peacham, via Jonathan Bate, has an answer.

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Quote of the Week: 28 August

BH macaulayMACAULAY, Thomas Babington: The History of England from 1485 to 1685 (ed. Peter Rowland) (The Folio Society: London, 1985)

Before we look at Macaulay, let me give you one of mine from the classroom.  It’s always an attention-grabber – you can see students falling into a few different categories:

a) people who clearly haven’t considered the issue before but are now thinking rapidly;

b) those who panic at the agency I’m potentially giving them; and

c) the ones who get a twinkle in their eye and would like to test my theory but daren’t.

I hardly ever get a d) can’t be bothered or not listening …

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Crimes Against Shakespeare 006

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I’ve thought long and hard since I saw this article in the Guardian yesterday … and the upshot is, I’m simply not having it!

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

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‘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 …

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PTS 05/030: There’s nothing ill …

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall …

The Two Gentlemen of Verona:  Act IV

Thus far, I feel like I’ve been quite objective about the play, glossing over the obvious errors about travelling by boat between land-locked cities, etc. I’m not one to lionise Shakespeare (whatever my other half thinks), but nor am I interested in joining the current fad I see online for ‘dissing’ him.

Having said that, Act IV begins with a ‘mote to trouble the mind’s eye‘, though – and more on it later, but Act V trumps even this episode. What am I talking about?

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Boar’s Head Bookshelf update: ‘travelling light’ …

Books in the vault, Deck C, Folger Shakespeare Library, 9/11/09
image courtesy Folger Library

Spending practically all of the summer holidays away from home, you’d think I travelled loaded with books?

Not a bit of it – I simply brought down my Ponytail Shakespeare texts, so I could try to catch up on writing about the read-through.  Plus, experience told me that I’d be buying books wherever I went.  Shakespeare’s an exacting master, and wherever I go I usually end up returning to Cumbria laden like a donkey.

Half way through the hols, my score so far is:

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