Posts Tagged: Shakespeare

What’s So Great about Relatability?

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In the wake of a tweet by Ira Glass that called Shakespeare’s plays unrelatableRebecca Mead explores why we care so much about whether we can relate to a play, story or work of art. She admits there’s nothing new about people wanting to see themselves reflected in art, but is still bothered by this recent insistence on relatability:

To appreciate “King Lear”—or even “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Fault in Our Stars”—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience.

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Privilege vs. Privilege

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In an excerpt from her book The Shelf, Phyllis Rose illustrates the systematic dismissal of women writers through the imagined figure of Prospero’s Daughter: wealthy and educated yet burdened by the demands of a family life whose quotidian challenges, having monopolized her time, become central concerns in her work.

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An Agnostic, Chortling Freelance Space-Yahoo

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Amid all the meanings and uses that give a word its weight, it’s easy to forget that language is ultimately a system of arbitrary signs. Lexicographer Paul Dickson’s new book “Authorisms—Words Wrought by Writers” chronicles some of the most dynamic moments in a language’s history: those instances when writers endeavored not just to create with words but to create the words themselves.

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Shakespeare’s Women

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In honor of the Bard’s 450th birthday, The Millions presents us with an analysis of Women Making Shakespeare, a new anthology from The Arden Shakespeare series edited by Gordon McMullan, Lena Cowen Orlin, and Virginia Mason Vaughan. They have  a few questions about the representations of gender found in Shakespeare’s work:

The anthology contains short essays on anything related to women and Shakespeare — as characters, as actresses, as critics and scholars, as educators, as suffragists and feminists, and as readers — over the past 450 years.

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Shakespeare As It Was Meant to Be Heard

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Via 22 Words, here’s a video demonstrating how Shakespeare plays sound when performed in their original pronunciation.

That’s right: the sonorous received pronunciation we associate with Shakespeare didn’t evolve until long after the bard’s death.

This new, old accent sounds strangely Irish (to American ears, anyway) and reveals all kinds of rhymes, jokes, and double-meanings that stay hidden in most modern performances.

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The Ancient Art of the Book Blurb

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Book blurbs—and the controversies surrounding them—go back as far as Thomas More, who gathered a bouquet of them for Utopia.

Ben Jonson blurbed Shakespeare. Ralph Waldo Emerson blurbed Walt Whitman. But do they really mean anything anymore?

Click through to find out—and read historical blurbs and blurb satires like this one:

Say!

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Better Books, Better Brains

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If you’ve ever felt like reading good literature gives you more comfort and insight than any self-help book ever could, you’re probably onto something.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool recently conducted a study indicating that the brain “lights up” bigger and brighter when grappling with Shakespeare and Wordsworth than when taking in ordinary prose.

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Poetic Lives Online: Links by Brian Spears

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Here’s some interesting reading from the world of poetry this week.

Michael Schaub at HTMLGIANT picks up where the Poetry Foundation left off a little while ago about martinis and poets. You’ll like their entries.

This is a little dated by internet standards, but it’s still worth looking at: Calvin Trillin versifies about the Roman Polanski apologists.

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The Book of William, Reviewed

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The Book of William — the new book chronicling the fortunes of Shakespeare’s First Folio, by regular Rumpus contributor Paul Collins — gets a nice brief writeup in the “Nonfiction Chronicle” feature of the NYT Sunday Book Review:

“Part antiquarian-book primer, part chronicle of literary curiosities, The Book of William is divided into five acts, each evoking a significant place and time in the First Folio’s colorful history…

“Weaved throughout are accounts of Collins’s amusing efforts to examine a handful of the 230 First Folios known to exist; he writes of the mixture of horror and delight he felt on discovering that ‘some Jacobean brat’ had doodled in a Folio’s margins.

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