GR Elton, A History of England: England Under The Tudors (The Folio Society: London, 1997)
If there was ever a knockout blow in the ebooks vs. physical books debate, I think The Folio Society supplies it.
The heft of them, the slipcases, the overall production values – even the feel of the paper stock makes these a pleasure to read, and as someone who usually subjects his books to ‘tough love’, it makes me look after them in a way I rarely do other books.
And the contents never fail to live up to the packaging …
Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 25 September”
Ponytail Shakespeare read-through – Richard III (Act I, scene i)
Larger than life. One of a kind. Brash on the outside, to mask an inner vulnerability. The ultimate showman, whose memory lives on long after his death. Freddie Mercury is all these things, too …
I’ve arrived at Richard III, the first play in my read-through that I know well, with a sense of awe, almost a fear of not doing him justice. Unusually, I’m as tentative as I might have been had I met him with a pathetic autograph book in my hand (or Mercury, whose death in 1991 touched me as few other celebrity deaths have: Prince and Sir Terry Pratchett are the only others that I register, emotionally). My relationship with Richard grows more obsessive and complex every time I teach him, and my recent book-buying seems unconciously centred round the historical Richard and the major players in his accession and downfall. I’ve also realised there is no way I can do this in the usual 1,000-ish-words-per-act format, so all I’m going to do is try to avoid 1,000 words-per-scene, if I can.
How has Shakespeare done this to me?
Continue reading “PTS 07/039: (Find Me) Somebody To Love”
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 …
Continue reading “Sir Peter Hall (1930-2017)”
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.
Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 11 September”
MACAULAY, 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 …
Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 28 August”
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!
Continue reading “Crimes Against Shakespeare 006”
‘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 …”