Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Great Shakespeare Project

One of my life goals is to read all of Shakespeare's works. I've already read 17 of them, which is a little less than half. Since the world celebrated Shakespeare's 450th birthday yesterday and will celebrate the 400th anniversary of his death two years from now, this seemed like an auspicious time to begin the undertaking in earnest.

I'll be posting my musings on the experience of reading and re-reading each of these, along with some of the papers I wrote on the bard during my course in Shakespeare at Wadham. What you can expect: Some analysis and commentary, but probably not a whole lot of intensive scholarship. A little pop culture, since the main reason I want to read the whole canon is for its influence on the art that came after it. And probably a lot of me mooning over The Tempest. I just will. I love it a whole bunch.

An astounding fact of my life regarding Shakespeare: I have only seen it performed live twice. Once was The Comedy of Errors at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in 2011, and the second was King Lear in Stratford-upon-Avon, which was honestly the best theatre I've ever seen, and which gave me a new appreciation for the work. So, over the two years, I'd like to make it a goal to see The Tempest in at least one performance, and also to see an original pronunciation version of a play, since I've been fascinated by original pronunciation since taking a course on the history of the English language in 2005.

Finally, if you're interested in joining me for all or some of the journey, that would make me very happy! I'm posting my schedule of reading below. The order I decided on is an approximation of chronologically, as it appears in The Oxford Shakespeare, because that's the copy I have and that's the company I worked for, and that's the university where I first studied Shakespeare. BUT! You can read any old version you'd like, in any order you'd like. The Arden Shakespeare is quite good, and I love my Norton Critical Editions, so I bet The Norton Shakespeare is also great. And, there are about a million online versions if you're an e-reader type person. It's certainly more comfortable than carrying around a complete edition on the subway!

I'll be posting my thoughts on the second and fourth Thursdays, so depending on how things go, these dates will be different, but they should give you an approximate idea of when I'll be reading what, if you want to join along. Feel free to comment on each post with your thoughts, or write your own post and comment with a link. I'd love to have a multitude of voices here, so don't be shy! And don't feel like you have to read every single piece. I'm just as happy to hear what you thought of Romeo and Juliet in 10th grade as I am to have your in-depth criticism of every line he wrote.

Happy reading!

May 8, 2014 - The Two Gentlemen of Verona
May 22, 2014 - The Taming of the Shrew
June 8, 2014 - The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster (Henry VI, Part 2)
June 23, 2014 - The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York and the Good King Henry the Sixth (Henry VI, Part 3)
July 9, 2014 - The First Part of Henry the Sixth (Henry VI, Part 1)
July 23, 2014 - The Most Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus
August 9, 2014 - The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
August 23, 2014 - Venus and Adonis
September 9, 2014 - The Rape of Lucrece
September 23, 2014 - The Reign of King Edward the Third
October 9, 2014 - The Comedy of Errors
October 23, 2014 - Love's Labour's Lost
November 9, 2014 - Love's Labour's Won: A Brief Account
November 23, 2014 - The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
December 9, 2014 - The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
December 23, 2014 - A Midsummer Night's Dream
January 9, 2015 - The Life and Death of King John
January 23, 2015 - The Comical History of the Merchant of Venice
February 9, 2015 - The History of Henry the Fourth (Henry IV, Part 1)
February 23, 2015 - The Merry Wives of Windsor
March 9, 2015 - The Second Part of Henry the Fourth (Henry IV, Part 2)
March 23, 2015 - Much Ado About Nothing
April 9, 2015 - The Life of Henry the Fifth (Henry V)
April 23, 2015 - The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
May 9, 2015 - As You Like It
May 23, 2015 - The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (Hamlet)
June 9, 2015 - Twelfth Night, or What You Will
June 23, 2015 - Troilus and Cressida
July 9, 2015 - The Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint
July 23, 2015 - Various Poems
August 9, 2015 - The Book of Sir Thomas More
August 23, 2015 - Measure for Measure
September 9, 2015 - The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
September 23, 2015 - The History of King Lear
October 9, 2015 - The Life of Timon of Athens
October 23, 2015 - The Tragedy of Macbeth
November 9, 2015 - The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra
November 23, 2015 - All's Well That Ends Well
December 9, 2015 - Pericles, Prince of Tyre
December 23, 2015 - The Tragedy of Coriolanus
January 9, 2016 - The Winter's Tale
January 23, 2016 - The Tragedy of King Lear
February 9, 2016 - Cymbeline, King of Britain
February 23, 2016 - The Tempest
March 9, 2016 - Cardenio: A Brief Account
March 23, 2016 - All is True (Henry VIII)
April 9, 2016 - The Two Noble Kinsmen

1 comment:

  1. Which piece on your list are you most excited about reading?