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Current and historical attempts to chronicle my life and thoughts
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

My New Project: Shakespeare's Plays

[This essay was originally posted to "The Third Tale," a blog on Weebly. In transferring it I have updated and made corrections where necessary.]

I've just started a new project: I'll try to read (study, really, with footnotes) one Shakespeare play a week for the next ten months or so, and then watch the BBC production of that play, from back in the '80s. I've downloaded 37 of them (The Two Noble Kinsmen seems not to be included). When time is tight, I may find myself taking two weeks, so this might last a year or so.

This week I read and watched Othello. Each day I read and studied one act, then watched it in the evening, while the reading was still fresh. Tomorrow I may try to watch the whole thing again, time permitting.

Next week is King Lear; I chose these two mainly because I bought cheap copies at a used bookstore in the Philippines in February. This week I'll need to go seek out copies of more plays in Shenzhen's bookstores.

Why not just read the online versions? Because a "real book" like the Folger Shakespeare Library series puts the notes on a page facing the text--most convenient. True, you can find nicely-formatted versions online, too, but they're not portable. (To tell the truth, I understand over 90% of what I read; but understanding those rare archaisms and occasional obscure allusions can make all the difference.)

Rather than blab on (I found "blab" in Othello!) about what I think of the plays, I'll try to post questions that occurred to me; you can then form your own opinions (though sometimes mine may be given away in the very questions).

So, avaunt! Hie thee to my next post upon the nonce, lest with delay you lose the sense of it. (Anything interesting about that sentence, meter-wise?) I'll let you know on Facebook any time I've posted new stuff. Enjoy!

Categories: Shakespeare

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