Quotation* of the Week: 13 August 2018 (#53)

Thankfully, we can’t have a third series of The Hollow Crown, but what about adaptations of the Roman plays?

Great Performances: The Hollow Crown - The Wars of the Roses: Henry VI Part 2

 

If there’s one thing my (currently stuttering) Pony Tail Shakespeare read-through project has given me so far, it’s a greater love for the History Plays.  Once the project is (eventually) finished, I’m looking forward to reading them again merely for pleasure.

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QotW: 06 August 2018 (#52)

Gifted, abominable, yet capable of producing ‘the mighty line’ …

BH perfume
Ben Wishaw and Karoline Herfurth in Tom Tykwer‘s 2006 film

It’s episode 52 – not a continuous year (the first post is here), but a year nonetheless, so I’m going to indulge myself a little this week.  Will you be able to tell the difference, I hear you ask!

Bear with me whilst I tell you a story:

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His story will be told here. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name – in contrast to the names of other gifted abominations, de Sade’s, for instance, or Saint-Just’s, Fouché’s, Bonaparte’s, etc. – has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent. [a]

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Forensic Friday (#07): Edward II, (iv.15-21)

‘Know your place’, the world of literature seems to scream. ‘Or else …’

BH jacob jordaens phaeton
Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678):  ‘Phaeton Falling’ … careful he doesn’t land on you!

If there’s anything I enjoy as much as anti-heroes, it’s tales of Promethean over-reachers.

Christopher Marlowe belongs in that category, I believe …

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Forensic Friday (#06): Edward II, i.4-8

Piers Gaveston believes he’s hooked a rich man …

BH andrew tiernan gaveston
Andrew Tiernan as Piers Gaveston:  an unsettlingly naked, chittering demon, occupying Edward’s throne (Jarman, 1991)

Episode 6 of Forensic Friday – the rules are here for first-timers – effectively kicks off this summer’s likely obsession with Marlowe.

My OCR A Level students are not obliged to analyse Edward II in this way; perhaps they’ll wonder at the point of today’s exercise.  The point is that you ought to be able to do this – and enjoy the process – for any text, people.  We are, after all, archaeologists of the written word – this is what we do …

Anyway, here’s a tiny extract that speaks volumes about Edward II’s lover and their relationship …

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QotW: 23 July 2018 (#50)

For a perfectionist, it’s an opportunity: time to produce something better than ‘good enough’ …

BH here comes the sun
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes …

It seems like years since it’s been here. [a]

So many people seem to resent our summer holiday.  They bemoan having to take responsibility for their own offspring (my favourite pet peeve); whine about the cost of holidays; whinge about the number of tourists clogging their area (without appreciating how their local economy depends on that tourist pound, or how often they are the problem in other parts of the country).

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Pay attention, there’s a test (part 2)

At 18, students ought to be able to handle History plays, but the exam boards don’t seem to like them?

BH KS5 texts

Following my recent KS4 post, I extended my research to A Level – that is the exams taken by 18-year olds before they hit university.  Again, I’d love to hear from students or teachers, especially in other countries.  Here are a few thoughts of my own:

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QotW: 25 June 2018 (#47)

All the world IS a stage, where Richard is concerned …

BH chameleon

Year 12 face their mock exam this coming Friday, with varying degrees of panic.

So, this week’s QotW is actually a BOGOF offer.  I often talk about Richard III being a ‘season finale’ to the History plays.  The chameleon quotation above comes from the penultimate episode, as you might remember, people.  Richard is – at least until it all begins to unravel for him – the consummate actor.

But don’t just take my word for it:

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