We’re getting close to the end of Lear, reading it that is. We have five films to watch and busy weekends ahead so it will still be a long process. As always at this point in reading a play I wonder what in the world I’ll write about it but there is no shortage of fascinating aspects. I’m not sure how much I like this play but then I’m not sure “like” is the issue here. Does one “like” Shakespeare? I don’t think so…
From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
- Deborah was the first woman mentioned in biblical history to become a leader and a military general. In Henry VI Part One Shakespeare invents a “Deborah’s sword” to compare her to Joan of Arc.
- Denmark, in Shakespeare’s time, was a world power though in decline. They were uneasy Protestant allies to the English, who were nevertheless suspicious of the Danes because they were allied to Scotland and traded with Spain. Then Anne of Denmark became queen of England in 1603 and they all had to be friends. By then Hamlet had done its Danish thing.
- In the novel The Song House, by Trezza Azzopardi, Shakespeare sightings abound:
- The main character Maggie treasures the Shakespeare her mother had given her for her eleventh birthday. Precocious Maggie.
- When the other main character Kenneth asks where a handkerchief is mentioned Maggie answers “Othello.”
- Kenneth recognizes as Shakespeare the quote Maggie utters: “These strong Egyptian fetters I must break…” and she pretends not to remember that it’s from Antony and Cleopatra.
- When Maggie goes off to town, Kenneth stays in the garden with his Shakespeare.
- Kenneth tells his son Will as he dashes off for a dip in the dirty river, “’Tis a naughty night to swim in!” Because Hal and I had just read that very line, I recognized it as King Lear. Did you?
- Will complains that his father is losing his mind: “He’s reading bloody Shakespeare!”
- Will’s friend Alison tells Kenneth that William is worried about him: “That’s William your son, by the way, not Shakespeare.”
- Dagens Nyheter tells us that Mats Ek’s ballet Julia and Romeo with the Royal Ballet has been invited by the Paris Opera to perform in Paris. We haven’t managed to see it here in Stockholm. Maybe we’ll have to go to Paris to see it.
- Dagens Nyheter, same day: Copenhagen is celebrating Verdis 200th birthday by performing his three Shakespeare operas, Macbeth, Falstaff and Otello.
- The Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther is about a woman from Iran and her English born daughter Sara who is a teacher. On page 2 we are told that that she has sixth form essays on Othello and Desdemona to read.
- The film Sin Nombre was called by the Swedish TV presenter “a kind of brutal Romeo and Juliet in a gang environment.” That’s as far as we got. We weren’t up to a brutal movie yesterday evening so watched something else. We’ll get back to Sin Nombre…
Further this week:
- Continued reading aloud with Hal: King Lear
- Ordered from the Globe shop: DVDs of Globe productions of Henry V, Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew (not, unfortunately, the one we saw this summer) and various other goodies.
- Answered comments left on Blogging Shakespeare http://bloggingshakespeare.com/macdepp
Posted this week:
- Text on Shakespeare and Popular Music by Adam Hansen
- This Monday report.