Power grabs. Backstabbing. Lust. Ambition. Conniving. Hypocrisy. A weak but well-meaning ruler. A grasping second in command who viciously usurps power. A bureaucrat jealous of the nobles, jockeying for power and trading favours to get his way. Sleaz… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Power, ambition, backstabbing
“Is There Such a Thing as a ‘Bad’ Shakespeare Play?” asks a recent article on the Smithsonian website. It adds, “Shakespeare, despite the efforts of notable dissenting critics and writers to forcibly eject him, has occupie… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: On the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death
To help celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23), the website Mashable has put together a “battle” for the “Best Shakespeare Play Ever.” It’s done up as a sort of sports playoff gr… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: The Bard’s Best? Nope…
From my ongoing Abandoned Literature series. Message or email me if you would like a print. If you can’t make out the text in these images (these are small low […] . . . → Read More: PostArctica: Abandoned Literature – Romeo and Juliet, Finnegans Wake
While Julius Caesar is my favourite of all Shakespeare’s plays, I think Anthony and Cleopatra is my second favourite. I know it’s hard to choose any favourites from his plays, they’re all so good, but this one seems to resonate with me more than most others, enough to encourage me to reread it this week. . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Anthony and Cleopatra
Four hundred years after he wrote them, we still use in everyday speech the many words and phrases Shakespeare coined. He gave us so many, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to list them all here. But two words he wrote have stopped us dead: prenzie and scamels. What do they mean? Were they . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Prenzie Scamels
I have been reading an entertaining little book called How Shakespeare Changed Everything, which, as the title suggests, is about the pervasive influence the Bard has had on pretty much everything in our lives ever since he started putting quill to paper. Stephen Marche’s book was described in the NatPost as a, “sprightly, erudite sampling . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Shakespeare Changed Everything
For my money, Julius Caesar is simply Billy Shakespeare’s best ever play. I mean, what’s not to like in it? It has some stonking great speeches in it – including one of his top five ever (Marc Antony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen….”) as well as a passel of memorable lines you can quote at parties (Who . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Julius Caesar: Best of the Bard?
With two printed versions of Montaigne’s essays (translations by Donald Frame and M. A. Screech) and a couple of online editions available to me, I thought I might offer some examples of how individual translations have captured Montaigne’s writing and let you judge which you think is clearer and crisper for reading today. I chose, . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Translating Montaigne
Alack! what poverty my Muse brings forth, So begins Shakespeare’s sonnet number 103 (I started rereading the sonnets recently because, well because it’s Shakespeare, damn it all, and what other reason would anyone need?). It’s a sentiment I well know. The impoverished Muse thing, I mean. There are three dozen pieces in draft mode I’ve . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Sonnet 103
As I started to watch the last film in the Hollow Crown series, I wasn’t sure whether Tom Hiddleston was up to playing the iconic role in Shakespeare’s most patriotic (and jingoistic) play. I thought Hiddleston’s Prince Hal in Henry IV had just a little too much of Loki – and maybe the bully – . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Hollow Crown: Henry V
I’ve watched three of the four productions in the 2012 TV series, The Hollow Crown, this past week, and am greatly impressed by the productions and the acting. Wonderful, rich stuff. The series consists of the second Shakespeare tetralogy, the Henriad: Richard II; Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V, each roughly two . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Hollow Crown
Cardenio. Written by William Shakespeare. Based on an episode in Miguel Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote. The novel was translated from Spanish into English in 1612. The play was known once, but lost. Performed by the King’s Men in 1613, the same year Shakespeare penned Henry VIII, or All is True and The Two Noble Kinsmen. . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lost Shakespeare play found?
Coriolanus is a tough play, full of politics and angry people and shouting mobs. It has no comic relief, no jesters, no romance and no real heroes. No great soliloquies, unsympathetic characters, uncomfortable double dealing, treachery and plotting. No powerful subplot as a counterpoint. Pride, arrogance, and power dominate. Coriolanus himself is empty, driven, bereft . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Coriolanus on Film
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine. That phrase just makes the modern reader stop and wonder. What, you ask yourself, is a porpentine? And why is it fretful? We never learn, although later interpreters would knowingly tell us a porpentine is a porcupine in today’s argot. Porcupine itself dervices from the Old or Middle French . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Fretful Porpentine
If tinkers may have leave to live, And bear the sow-skin budget, Then my account I well may, give, And in the stocks avouch it. Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, Act IV, Sc. III, Shakespeare These lines got me thinking about the town’s finances. Sow-skin budget? What does that mean? And how does that relate . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Circuitous Path from Bulge to Budget
No, it’s not about that heavyweight book series by George Martin, or the TV series based on it (or even about how you really need to read the books to understand anything that is happening in the TV series). It’s … Continue reading →
One person’s tragedy is another’s travesty.
Back in the late 1990s, I wrote an essay about the “controversy” over who actually wrote the works of Shakespeare. I wrote, then, Not everyone agrees that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. The challenge to his authorship isn’t new: for the last … Continue reading →
Twitter is a wonderful thing except that sometimes you can’t use the whole of a great quote.
The following is a larger bit of one quote that turned up in a minor flurry on the Ides of March. It was hardly a Shakespeare smack down but it was fun for a moment.
The quote below . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Ides of March, 2012 #nlpoli
Yes, yes I shall you diminutive, lovely, and crazy person. Alltop loves a good stifle.