Cultural Capital 01: Dante’s Inferno

Flatterers … are destined to mud-wrestle each other in a lake of diarrhoea … representing the crap they spoke whilst alive, I suppose!

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The ultimate HAMLET tee-shirt?

Subtitled:  Big Mouth Strikes Again (The Smiths – my students will know why, today of all days)

This article was written for a forthcoming in-house newsletter/magazine.  First, hopefully, in a series of articles (Cultural Capital) about influential, dare I say essential works that our students need to get under their belts.  I set myself a STRICT word-count of 750, including quotations but excluding titles and references, tried to avoid being too professorial, and I’ve prioritised other texts related to what I’ll be teaching as part of the OCR A Level Engish Literature course.  If I’m spared 😉

Inferno is a valuable source of AO1 and AO3, people.  This won’t replace you reading the original, but it might at least persuade you to give it a go.

Next up?  James I‘s DaemonologieMachiavelli‘s The Prince or The Book of Genesis:  open to suggestions …

[…] Midway on our path in life,

I came around and found myself searching

Through a wood, the right way blurred and lost.

I know the feeling.  More importantly, so begins Dante’s Inferno, the sexiest-titled poem no-one’s read.  Perhaps only at a certain age do you start asking Really Big Questions:  ‘What am I doing with my life?  What’s the point?  What’s left?’  Tennyson’s like a dog with a bone on this.  Ponytail Shakespeare readers – you’re fed up of hearing this sort of thing from me.

The most important question, though, is surely ‘what’s next?

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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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Cheaper than a Harley. Easier than growing a ponytail …

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How dull it is to pause, to make an end,

To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!


Why this?  Why now?  And why so slow?  What on earth would prompt someone to commit to a read-through of Shakespeare’s plays?

I decided to do this about 6 weeks ago, let’s say about the end of November 2016.  In many ways this post is a way to work through my motivations, as well as finally committing to the project.

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A chronological nightmare …

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“Like an Early Modern game of ‘Find The Lady’, my expectations seem to be defied at every turn, and no two results were the same!”

I’ve been toying with the idea of a Shakespeare readathon for a while, and am trying to justify it to myself.  When I do work out the ‘why?’, I’ll post …

In the meantime, a friend received a full set of BBC Shakespeare on DVD for Christmas.  This worried me quite a bit: mostly because I had a small (and I DO mean small) cameo in the gift’s selection. But, what if she hates them, or simply finds them staid and sooo-1980s? Their overwhelmingly earnest nature and general quaintness – which I find as endearing as original series Star Trek – might pall quickly.

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