‘Art any more than a steward?’

subtitled thus:

Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale? (Twelfth Night)

Allow me to introduce the non-Redditors amongst you to the Democratic People’s Republic of R/Literature.  When you get there, it sounds great, doesn’t it?

Welcome to /r/literature, a community for deeper discussions of plays, poetry, short stories, and novels. Discussions of literary criticism, literary history, literary theory, and critical theory are also welcome–strongly encouraged, even.

and yet, all this fancy aspirational stuff doesn’t really mean a thing.  Read the following from the bottom up.

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Note to u/DiggDejected: you are NOT Donald Trump, so why attempt to restrict my free and not-really-that-controversial-at-all speech?  In any event, ‘Mein Trumpf’ uses Twitter, not Reddit.  PS:  ‘YOU can still view and subscribe to my ass’ whilst I await your reply.

This is, in many ways, one of the reasons why I started blogging …

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PTS01/002: Shameful Complacency; Priapic Dolphins

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Henry VI Part 1:  Act 1

And off we go.  First-time visitor?  Click here and here to find out what Ponytail Shakespeare is all about.  Then come back, read, and comment – either here or at the Shakespeare Reddit sub.

On to the play, and post two of God knows how many in this project.

I wonder if I lowered my expectations too far …

To shrug and say it was fine, good, OK, would be to do the opening act of Henry VI part I a disservice. Sure, there were moments of clunkiness – not least when the French Master Gunner feels the need to declare – to himself, his son, and thereby the audience – his employment: 

‘Chief master gunner am I of this town’. (I.iv.6) 

But overall, it’s been an entertaining start.

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A Kingship Paradigm

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Fig 1:  A Paradigm for Kingship or Leadership

Abstract for the busy:  this paradigm crystallises or articulates my recent thinking about kingship/leadership as it applies in Shakespeare’s plays and, I increasingly suspect, beyond.  It gained critical mass after teaching Richard III at Key Stage 5 (Age 16-17) in Autumn 2016, where I found myself returning again and again to questions of Legitimacy, Authority and Dynasty, in plotting not just Richard’s journey and motives, but Richmond’s and, in fact, Queen Elizabeth’s. 

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PTS00/001: I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips …

… Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot (Henry V)

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So.  As we enter February 2017, and the beginning of the ‘Ponytail Shakespeare’ project, I feel the need to quote Stephen King:

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BBC Shakespeare Collection digital download on sale

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Hard to resist the fun of seeing some of our favourite actors looking very, very young!

As I’ve said elsewhere, I have a soft spot for the BBC Shakespeare Collection.

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You’ll put down strangers?

This isn’t a political blog, at all.  It’s not supposed to be, at least.

But, for shame.  I can’t sit by.  Nor, I’d like to think, would Shakespeare …

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Photo  by Abel Guerrero

Lou Reed sung, in ‘Dirty Boulevard’:

Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor I’ll piss on ’em

That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says

Your poor huddled masses

Let’s club ’em to death

And get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard

And Shakespeare?

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Shakespeare’s ‘Salad Days’. Expectations of HVI part 1

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Only 6 years between these albums:  less time than between Richard III and Macbeth …

‘Please Please Me’ or ‘Abbey Road’?

‘Surfin’ Safari’ or ‘Pet Sounds’?

‘Hangin’ Tough’ or ‘The Block’?

[please note – I’ve only ever listened to just four of those albums.  Promise.  I hope you can infer which they are!]

As I approach the first monthly instalment of my Arden Amble, what are my expectations from a work I know relatively little about?  Why start the journey of a thousand steps with a month reading and blogging about Henry VI Part 1?

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