Subject to the above, Shakespeare would have hit 455 today. Rather more reliably, WordPress tells me that The Boar’s Head is three today, my first post coinciding with the Shakespeare400 celebrations. They seem half a lifetime away – remember them?
It’s nearly a year (where has the time gone?) since I last picked up a book and decided I’d love to get down the pub for a session with the author (and bear in mind I’m still not drinking: day 70 today). Imagine me, Anthony Sher and Michael Bogadanov setting the Shakespearean world to rights over a few scoops …
Why’s it taken me so long to get this one written? To get this play finished? To ‘officially’ say goodbye to Richard II for a few years, given I have no opportunity to teach it at either GCSE or A Level? That question probably contains its own answer.
Or, the fact that it’s Romeo and Juliet next …
You know – if you’ve been reading along – how deeply I feel an affinity for Richard’s journey. Perhaps when I (eventually) get to the end of the PTS I’ll reflect that the ‘most important things are the hardest things to say‘, as Stephen King tells us [a]. It’ll be interesting to look back and see whether the plays I found harder to connect with came and went rather quicker.
Let battle commence: Shakesparring was the highlight of last week …
In the ‘Marxist’ corner – Mr G
In the ‘Feminist’ corner – Miss C
Friday found myself and a colleague sacrificing a precious free period (one of only four per week) for the opportunity to Shake-spar … and what fun it was.
Let me set the scene – one of our colleagues in the department was unwell. She also teaches A Level Lit to Year 12, and would have done so in period 2, when I’m free. Two of the students in that class are in my form, so I casually said to them in the morning that if there were ‘any problems‘ relating to that lesson, they ought to come and see me.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised to find about a dozen girls at my door at about 09:55?
‘On Brexit, and Ignoring the Advice of Uncles’, as Montaigne might have written …
PTS read-through: Richard II, act II
Richard II plays against the backdrop of an enormous cosmic clockface. Our poetic but ineffective, spiteful monarch ends act I cynically hoping to arrive too late; he begins act II suffering the consequences of being early, getting an earful from his uncle.
What Richard does miss, though, is Uncle Gaunt’s remarkable crie de couer on the state of the nation. It’s an interesting, beautiful swansong, the breathless anaphora creating a crescendo of patriotic fervour – but I have three issues with it.
Bogdanov (and Shakespeare) on the corrosive effects of real life on the soul …
Michael Bogdanov, ‘Richard II: The skipping King’, in Shakespeare : The Director’s Cut (Capercaillie Books: Edinburgh, 2005)
I picked this startling book up from Waterstones in Gower Street, London on Saturday – remaindered at a measly £5-99. Scuffed but basically sound, it seemed destined for the upper slopes of my ever-growing Mount Tsundoku – about which I’m bound to post at some stage, recently becoming familiar with the term.
Either way, as I often do with new Shakespeare-related books, I ambled through the Introduction. Not properly knowing who Bogdanov was in truth, I wanted a sense of who I’d invited to share my bookshelves. I’m at my parents’, and despite the TV blaring at a volume only a practically-deaf father can justify, I became completely immersed.
Bogdanov died almost a year ago, at 78 (a little older than my father is). If we’d been contemporaries, and moved in similar circles, I reckon we would have been drinking buddies …