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28 September 2011 @ 12:09 pm
Calling all literary buffs/Eng. Lit. majors  
I have read four plays by Shakespeare: Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice. I've also attempted bits of a Midsummer Night's Dream. I just this minute realised that Amazon is sure to sell Idiot Guides to Shakespeare - ie the high school versions with translations down one side of the page. That in mind, which plays would true scholars recommend? (Aside from "all of them", I mean. I do have other bills to pay.) I'm excited but puzzled as to where to start. Aid, thus, is required! Go forth and rec! ... are you allowed to rec Shakespeare?
a kid on the lookout for transcendenceextemporally on September 28th, 2011 11:15 am (UTC)
JULIUS CAESAR! Antony & Cleopatra and King Lear and Titus Andronicus are also some of my favourites. The Merchant of Venice is pretty great, ngl, and if you haven't already watched the Jeremy Irons adaptation, you should.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: white dressscoradh on September 29th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
Et tu, Brute? (and fall, Caesar)

I just love that line (it's in The God of Small Things). AND FALL, CAESAR.

Haha, I will, although it may feel a little too much like school (which is where I read it).
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: bandsscoradh on September 29th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
Who is that charming young elf in your icon? He looks familiar ... :P
mesurexit on September 28th, 2011 12:09 pm (UTC)
I am not a scholar, but I'm kind of stupidly fond of Henry V! Also, Twelfth Night.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Japanese bluescoradh on September 29th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
I want to read Twelfth Night just because it's referenced in Shakespeare in Love/the character of Viola. ♥Tom Stoppard♥
mesurexit on September 30th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
I am fond of Twelfth Night more for characters and plot, but I don't really have massive amounts of ~feelings~ over it. But Henry V... ♥


Hey, also, Macbeth.

And can I second above about watching some DVDs? 'Cause I have ~feelings~ (second use of sarcastic tildes, I KNOW) about reading Shakespeare vs. watching Shakespeare (short version: reading, nice and a fun way to pass the time, watching, OMG YES OFTEN LIFE-CHANGIN.)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands PATD fangirl Petescoradh on September 30th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
I did love Baz Lurhmann's R&J. But, I don't know, I maybe am just that dumb, but I actually don't think I'd understand a cold viewing of Shakespeare. I need to sit with it and work out what the fuck is going on first.
mesurexit on October 1st, 2011 03:16 am (UTC)
I cannot stand Luhrmann's R&J, unfortunately, and would like to rabidly pimp Zefirelli's version to you. IT HAS ACTORS WHO ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY'RE SAYING. /bitter dislike of Lurhmann's version. Also, it has John McEnery as an utterly magnetic Mercutio. But you may not like it, it's much straighter than Luhrmann's version, and I do understand the appeal of Luhrmann's setting and actors and stuff.

That is a consideration, yes! I can follow Shakespeare cold, mostly, but it's an effort and I don't get all the nuance - reading is a really good way in, which is definitely a reason why reading the plays is a nice way to pass the time. It doesn't make you dumb, either! I mean, I'm sure you know that, but just in case.
(Deleted comment)
Jain: girls kissingjain on September 28th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
I would get some DVDs of famous performances of the plays and watch them, and then read them. You will get different things out of them that way.

Definitely, this.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bbb cupcakescoradh on September 29th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
I will definitely look into it! I really enjoyed the Baz Luhrmann R&J - if that's not a travesty to admit. I do enjoy reading plays as extended dialogues too, though.
Amanuensis: could you spell that?amanuensis1 on September 30th, 2011 01:00 am (UTC)
This this this this this. Reading Shakespeare IMHO is like reading scripts for a movie: it's entertaining, but it's not the format meant for the audience.

you do often seem cursedivyenglish on September 28th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC)

A Midsummer Night's Dream! Does attempted mean you couldn't get into it? Because it starts of slowly, but then it turns into a nice fun romp. I second the rec for Twelfth Night, and I'll add Julius Caesar (great if you skip the last act) and Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice is FANTASTIC).

every Starbucks should have a polar bear: collapsingnight: pink legsscoradh on September 29th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
No, it means 'got distracted from sitting down with it and never came back'. :D Have you heard about this film Anonymous - 'Shakespeare was a fraud'? I wonder is it about Francis Bacon... :P
Kristinbicrim on September 28th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
Love's Labours Lost is hilarious.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: collapsingnight: couplescoradh on September 29th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Jain: domestic dragonjain on September 28th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
I'd recommend Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Richard III, and Othello.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Fashion: corset xrayscoradh on September 29th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
Much Ado and Twelfth are pulling ahead in the polls!
catnip jonesrumpleghost on September 29th, 2011 01:32 am (UTC)
I'm really fond of The Tempest, though it's been years since I've read it. And you should give A Midsummer Night's Dream another shot, it's probably my favourite of what I've read in terms of sheer delightfulness. Titus Andronicus is kind of hilarious in terms of the goriness and there's even more debate than usual over authorship, but I'm fond of it for all the mythical tropes/references.

Also, in terms of bills, have you tried scouting out op shops and secondhand book stores? You can almost always find copies of individual plays for like, a dollar, and I've found three copies of his complete works for under $5 over the years.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Fashion: princessscoradh on September 29th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
Titus Andronicus, let me see. 'I liked it when they cut his head orf, and the daughter mutilated wiv knives'? (Thanks, Tom Stoppard. :D)

Oh, my dad has the Complete Works. I'm looking for versions where someone has come along and edited in loads of easy-access explanations and translations for the stupid. They will probably cost a bit more than straight repos, I'm guessing!
lokifan: Shakespeare: prose before hoeslokifan on October 9th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
Working through my tabs and found this...


It is beautiful and dramatic and every character compels me. I love Shakepeare and Othello's my absolute favourite. I love how Othello self-dramatises, and Iago is FASCINATING and Emilia is amazing. Othello's wife Desdemona has a reputation for being a wet blanket but I never thought so. I just love it to bits! /squee