Pass the Popcorn (AO5 at KS5)

RIII AO5
You think this looks mad NOW? Wait until it’s finished …

Welcome to my next stupidly ambitious project …

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PTS 14/084: Why dost thou spit at me?

camel
[title from Richard III: I, ii]
Ponytail Shakespeare read-through:  The Merchant of Venice, Act I

Bring your baggage to the texts‘, I always say …

By this I mean your life experiences, the nature, the nurture, the things that define you, good and bad.  These are what make your responses to texts individual; they are what lets texts get under your skin as you measure yourself against the moral and ethical dilemmas they present; they, as experience changes you, are what make occasional re-reading such a thought-provoking and rewarding exercise.

So why am I feeling so uneasy about Antonio this time round?

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Shakespeare: The Upstart Magpie …

magpie-499x375

there is an vpstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide , supposes he is as well able to bumbast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Iohannes factotum , is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrie. [a]

Stop and think for a moment – the more you read, the less you find that is truly original. *

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QotW (#62): 03 December 2018

Telling stories ABOUT stories seems to be my stock-in-trade when it comes to teaching Shakespeare.

10th circe campfire stories

Unusually, I’m going to start with the quotation of the week, from Stephen Greenblatt, rather than work towards it:

Humans cannot live without stories. We surround ourselves with them; we make them up in our sleep; we tell them to our children; we pay to have them told to us. Some of us create them professionally. And a few of us – myself included – spend our entire adult lives trying to understand their beauty, power, and influence. [a]

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Half-Term Book Haul

An almost ascetic book haul this time out …

BH htbh.png

Sure, it’s only a week away from school, and I ought to be able to control myself.  Many of you will also have a handle on the state of my bookshelves – I have no space for these, and yet.  Half-terms are an opportunity to catch breath in more ways than one.

Some would suggest I oughtn’t to have bought anything; I like to think of this as a fairly restrained Book Haul, all sourced from the second hand bookshop about 300 yards from ‘her place’.  So, what and why …

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My Delightful Society

‘I’ll show you mine; you show me yours …’

440px-Portrait_of_William_Gladstone‘Books are delightful society.  If you go into a room and find it full of books – even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome.’  William Ewart Gladstone

This post came out of a discussion on Reddit where I asserted that we weren’t seeing enough Shakespeare shelf-porn.  SHAKESPORN, in fact.  Yup. You heard me.  So in the spirit of ‘I’ll show you mine; you show me yours‘, here’s a tour of my Shakespeare bookshelf: MY ‘delightful society‘ …

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QotW (#56): 10 September 2018

Studying a History play? Look for the playwright’s sources …

BH Edward-IIMy Marxist critical inclinations – that a text can’t be read in isolation from the contextual crucible that created it – get pretty much free reign when it comes to teaching Edward II.  For the OCR A Level course, my students need to compare Marlowe’s drama to Tennyson‘s monodrama, ‘Maud‘ and, get this, 50% of the mark is context (that’s AO3, troops).

What, exactly, is context?  I’d suggest that for both texts, maybe all texts, context is usually a mix of two things:

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