Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why is it...

...that having a blog about Shakespeare seems to have greatly diminished my desire to read Shakespeare?

Seriously, I have been busy the past few months, but just not with anything related to the Bard. (As Groucho Marx said, time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.) I hope to return to this blog at some point, but I'm not sure when that will be. Rest assured, the next time I read a Shakespeare play I will post here, so don't unsubscribe to the RSS feed just yet. ;-)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Shakespeare books I've been flipping through lately

Harold Bloom's Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human continues to provide interesting analysis. I also recently looked at Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare, primarily because Asimov is a long-time favorite writer of mine. I quite like it, but unfortunately I don't have a copy. I'll be sure to pick one up from the library so I can look at everything he has to say about Henry V.

I also found a book on my shelf which I didn't even remember having. It's called A Natural Perspective: The Development of Shakespearean Comedy and Romance, and it is by Northrop Frye. I'm going to be sure to check that out at some point, and I'll post here when I do.

Oh, and concerning the poll...

...pretend it says "Favorite Histories?", with the plural. You CAN vote for more than one; in fact, I heartily encourage you to.

Happy 4th of July!

Of course, good American that I am, I'm going spend part of the day reading Henry V, quite the patriotic play. Never mind that it deals with another country...

I'm up to 3.6 by now. I must give Shakespeare bonus points for having a scene in French; that's pretty fantastic. I wonder whether his contemporary audience would've been expected to know French. I would've doubted it, but then again, Shakespeare wasn't some postmodern artiste. I expect he wrote things which he assumed his playgoers would understand. I should do further research on the subject.

Oh, and when the French King is listing all of the dukes and whatnot who should go after Henry? It really sounds like Howard Dean's speech when he named all the states. I was half expecting a "Byaaaah!" at the end. Just saying...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dear Archbishop of Canturbury,

If you are going to say a long monologue about how Henry V is the rightful heir to the French throne, please don't make it so historically inaccurate that the Arden editors have to correct you pretty much every line.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Why I love Ardens

The ridiculously long and awesome introductions.

Seriously, for everyone who has not: check out the Arden Shakespeares. They are fantastic. I've read almost half of the 125-or-so-page introduction to Henry V, and it is very interesting.

I also got a brief start on the play with the first couple of scenes. Two observations:

1) The opening speech is as perfect an apology for the art of theatre as I've ever read. It's also a great ode to the imagination, which I, thinking myself a rather imaginative sort of fellow, quite like.

2) The scene with Ely and Canterbury, while not being quite the way one would expect this play to open (as mentioned in the Arden introduction), is actually quite interesting. We learn some backstory on Henry for those unfamiliar with the Henry IV plays, and we also get a sense of some of the backroom politics of the time. I like how Shakespeare decided to begin what is essentially a war story with some sociopolitical intrigue; it keeps things varied, something he's generally quite good at doing (even as early as 2 Henry VI, with Cade's Rebellion providing a nice tonal shift).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Unexpected update

Well, it turns out that I'm going to be reading Henry V for reasons unrelated to this blog, so I think I'm going to jump ahead in the chronology a bit and post my thoughts on it early. Expect something sometime next week...