QotW (#80): 24 June 2019

happy couple

Honour, riches, marriage-blessing,
Long continuance, and increasing,
Hourly joys be still upon you!
Juno sings her blessings upon you.

(The Tempest, IV.i)

It wasn’t just Twitter’s #ShakespeareSunday that was focused on love and marriage this weekend … if last week gave me an opportunity to reappraise Father’s Day from different perspectives, then Saturday’s wedding of my eldest has given me something else to think about …

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QotW #78: 03 June 2019

shepheardes calendar JUNE
Can we send the Y11s on study leave yet, Headmaster?  They’re getting restless … [image:  June, The Shepheardes Calendar]
Today marks the beginning of one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the school year … the final summer half-term.  The countdown’s on, for teachers at least: 7 weeks; 35 working days; a maximum of 28 lessons with each of those classes.

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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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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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