Scripturient: Power, ambition, backstabbing

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. Sleazy nobles selling their loyalty for petty trinkets. A cast of despicable, grasping characters all out for themselves, oblivious of ...

Scripturient: On the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death

“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 occupied the position of world’s greatest playwright since his star was re-affixed to the firmament in the late 18th century. ...

Scripturient: The Bard’s Best? Nope…

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 grid (a tournament bracket), broken into four categories. Four? That’s right. Even though the First Folio was only divided into three ...

PostArctica: Abandoned Literature – Romeo and Juliet, Finnegans Wake

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 res versions) here is the first page of Finnegans Wake and here is the excerpt from Romeo and Juliet.

Scripturient: Anthony and Cleopatra

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. ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Prenzie Scamels

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 more ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Shakespeare Changed Everything

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 ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Julius Caesar: Best of the Bard?

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 among ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Translating Montaigne

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, ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Sonnet 103

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 ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Hollow Crown: Henry V

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 – ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Hollow Crown

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 hours ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lost Shakespeare play found?

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. ...

PostArctica: Abandoned Romeo and Juliet

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Coriolanus on Film

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 ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Fretful Porpentine

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 ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Circuitous Path from Bulge to Budget

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 to ...

Chadwick's Blog & Commentary: Troilus and Cressida

I’ve always found Troilus and Cressida a difficult play. The characters all seem jaded, cynical, opportunistic, stuffily sanctimonious, lecherous or simply underhanded. Some are merely unpleasant, others are despicable, reprehensible. All seem self-serving, more concerned with their own gains and … Continue reading →

Chadwick's Blog & Commentary: The Game of the Book of Thrones

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 →

Chadwick's Blog & Commentary: More’s Speech to the Mob

The scene is a riot, on the first day of May, 1517. It would later be known as Evil May Day,or Ill May Day. An angry mob, mostly comprised of apprentices, marched through the streets of London, their passion inflamed … Continue reading →

ParliamANT Hill: PM Waxes Poetic on Senate Scandal

One person’s tragedy is another’s travesty.  

Chadwick's Blog & Commentary: Enter Christopher Marlowe – Again

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 →

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Ides of March, 2012 #nlpoli

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 ...

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Shall I compare thee, in chart form, to a summer’s day

Yes, yes I shall you diminutive, lovely, and crazy person. Alltop loves a good stifle.