QotW (#77): 20 May 2019

elizabeth essex film poster

When you teach Richard III you almost inevitably touch on the idea that ‘history is written by the winners’, as Orwell said in 1944 (and again, of course, so horrifically in Nineteen Eighty-Four). [a]

Who were victorious over Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex in the end?  Would he have recognised the history they wrote for him?

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QotW#76: 13 May 2019

bird fights snake
“… though she be but little, she is fierce”  A Midsummer Night’s Dream (III,ii)

Poor Isabella.

Not just married to Edward II.  Not simply denounced by history as the ‘She Wolf of France‘.  As if all that wasn’t enough, she was relegated to a footnote in last week‘s QotW.

It’s her turn.  Be afraid.

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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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[book review] Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time

tey hospital bed man
No, Inspector Grant, you can’t get a hunchback from reading about it …

Is this the ultimate ‘cold case’?

The Daughter of Time arrives with some hefty baggage in terms of its critical reception.

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QotW (#74) 29 April 2019

despair and die

I shall despair; there is no creature loves me,

And if I die no soul shall pity me.  (Richard III: V.iii) [a]

No matter how many times I watch it – with Y9, 12 and 13 classes, or alone – Benedict Cumberbatch can move me to tears, delivering what I think are the saddest lines in Shakespeare.

The saddest lines … by arguably the biggest villain?

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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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QotW (#72): 08 April 2019

subtitled: ‘Sir’s rule number 1‘ …

nightwatchman

‘Who’s there?’

‘Nay, answer me.  Stand and unfold yourself.’ [a]

Bernardo and Francisco have a point.  The entire path of the scene is determined by who is on stage.  Think of the ways the conversation could go if instead of Bernardo, another unknown Dane approaches Francisco’s guard-post, or one of Fortinbras’ troops.

From Hamlet to real life, and the idea of decorum – behaving or speaking appropriately to the circumstances and audience.

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