Even Shakespeareless weeks go by quickly. Four weeks have already passed since my last Shakespeare Monday and I'm back for a one-Monday landing. Next time I show up here on the blog will be in July. But for now, a lot has happened in May, so I'll get right to it.
From the Shakespeare Almanac:
- On May 4, 1597, Shakespeare bought New Place in Stratford, the second biggest house in the town. It cost £60. After returning to Stratford upon retiring, he lived there the rest of his life. Thereafter his daughter Susanna, her husband John Hall and their daughter Elizabeth moved in.
- On May 9, 1594, Shakespeare registered his second narrative poem, The Rape pf Lucrece.
- On May 15, 1611, Simon Forman writes in his diary that he has seen The Winter's Tale at the Globe.
- On May 17, 1603, King James issued a warrant authorizing William Shakespeare and his theater group to “freely use and exercise the Art and faculty of playing Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Interludes, Morals, Pastorals; Stageplays, and such others...” The King's Men were thus created.
- On May 19, 1603, the Globe was closed for nearly a year because of the plague.
- On May 20, 1608, Antony and Cleopatra and Pericles were registered but not published. In 1609, the Sonnets were registered. In 1613, the since lost play Cardenn was performed.
- On May 21, 1471, Henry VI was murdered.
- On May 22, 1465, Henry VI was captured.
- On May 26, 1583, Shakespeare's first daughter Susanna was baptized.
- Busy month, May!
- In the sci-fi novel Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl there is an odd sighting. Elana, from another galaxy, is scouting a planet that could possibly by Earth, and when being chased by bad guys she claims that discretion is the better part of valor. Maybe Shakespeare really is well known in other galaxies? As usual this creates a contest with wonderful prizes for the first correct comment on the blog: which play and who said it?
- Emma Thompson, in an interview in the '80's in connection with her comedy series Tutti Frutti, was asked if she was bawdy to which she replied that she's “Shakespeare bawdy.”
- In the DN Friday crossword the following quote: “Upp flyga orden, tanken stilla står, ord utan tanken aldrig himlen når.” I'm proud to say I got it immediately even in Swedish. So this is the second contest: Which play and who? To make it fair to you non-Swedes, here's a direct (and therefore a bit twisted) translation: “Up fly the words, the thought unmoving stands, words without the thought never heaven reaches.”
- In DN the headline: “Much Ado about Shakespeare” about all the plays going on at the Globe.
- In an essay test written by a student on the subject of consumerism and the environment the final line was: “To buy or not to buy, that is the question.”
- In an educational film about England, a boy being interviewed about school subjects tells the world that Shakespeare is part of the required reading. What a surprise.
- In the teen fantasy novel Mist by Kathryn James, a picnic in the woods (which is actually occupied by hostile fairies), one of the characters is described as looking like somebody from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- In the novel I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass, a love affair is compared to – how original! - Romeo and Juliet, and one of the characters writes in her suicide letter that she rents Hamlet to see Mel Gibson and muses, “I got into Hamlet, the guy Shakespeare created. Good questions lead to a bad end.”
- DN has a notice about a protest by Emma Thompson and others against an Israeli theater, which has performed in occupied areas, taking part in the Shakespeare festival.
- Steven Pinker, in his mammoth essay The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes, refers several times to Shakespeare to show how king-killing and other violence used to be the norm.
- In the movie “Honeymoon in Vegas”, a couple of lovers are compared to... guess! (No contest.)
- Jasper Fforde's second Thursday Next novel, Lost in a Good Book, is partly about finding the lost manuscript of the above-mentioned lost play, now known as Cardenio. The book is of course crawling with Shakespeare sightings. Here's a favorite: Illegal page-runners (characters who move out of their own book into another) are being chased by the book cops. One culprit: Feste, who has escaped from Twelfth Night after a night of debauchery with Sir Toby. Also they're keeping an eye on Falstaff: “You've been allowed to stay in Merry Wives but don't push your luck.” See further today's posting of my text on said play!
- DN reports that Othello is being performed this summer in the ruins of the Medieval church Roma on Gotland.
Further, this month:
- Finished reading aloud with Hal: The Merry Wives of Windsor.
- Received: Companion to Shakespeare: the Comedies. Edited by Jean E. Howard et.al.
- Posted: Wise Wives and Laundry Baskets
- Posted: On http://openshakespeare.org/2012/05/11/introduction-the-merry-wives-of-windsor . I've been trying to set up a link to Open Shakespeare on the blog but I haven't figured out how yet. Will keep trying.
- Started reading aloud with Hal: Henry IV Part Two.