PTS 015/098: Kill Your Darlings!

We each owe a death. Let’s examine that of Harry Hotspur: a hero too big to be allowed to survive …

PTS read-through: 1 Henry IV, Act IV

Prince Hal pays tribute to his fallen enemy, Hotspur, in he Hollow Crown version of the play.

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Stephen King, ‘On Writing: A Memoir’ (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2000)

Blame Phil Beadle, and his book ‘Rules for Mavericks: A Manifesto for Dissident Creatives‘ – he made me come back. Not knowing how long I’m here for, just testing the water, I thought it better to simply crack on and see how I felt afterwards: no cringing excuses or apologies for my lengthy absence; no promises either … publish and be damned, if you like.

First-time visitor?  Click here and here to find out what Ponytail Shakespeare is all about.  Then come back, read, and comment. Please do.

Let’s finish this magical play together, shall we?

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Forensic Friday (#017): 1 Henry IV, I.iii

the-red-pill-or-the-blue-pill

“You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” [a]

This one is, I think, for my friend, Joe Gifford.

Back in the heady days of the beginning of this project, I likened close reading to autopsies and archaeology.  Today, I present you with a sexy new metaphor: close reading IS the red pill in The Matrix

No, really – let me persuade you. Continue reading “Forensic Friday (#017): 1 Henry IV, I.iii”

QotW (#75): 06 May 2019

trafficking

Last week’s pre-exam discussions with Year 13 looked again at how we might adopt a Feminist critical stance to our exam texts.  The fabled AO5, I hear OCR students gasp …

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QotW (#73) 22 April 2019

upstart crow shakespeare and marlowe

To begin, a little quiz.  What connects the following texts?

  • Ian McEwan: On Chesil Beach (2007)
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson:  ‘Maud’ (1855)
  • Christopher Marlowe: Edward II (1592)
  • William Shakespeare:  Richard III (1592), and

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Richard III on screen

the great debate

Will the  real Richard III please stand up?

The differences between our screen Shakespeares can be easily as great as those between Thomas More‘s view of him pitched against Sir Horace Walpole in the fascinating book, The Great Debate.

This essay explores how Shakespeare’s script has been interpreted to portray our tragic hero …

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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?

Continue reading “PTS 14/084: Why dost thou spit at me?”

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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