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Imagining Shakespearean authorship

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    • At the beginning of Shakespeare at Yale (SaY), a semester-long program designed to showcase the Shakespearean riches we have at Yale (and oh, what riches!), I thought I’d write something about the question I enjoy being asked least as an English major: Did Shakespeare write his own plays?

      On the surface, this is a simple question: We accept the validity of the claims made on Shakespeare’s behalf, or we start looking for another authorial candidate.

      The problem, unfortunately, is that we imagine authorship differently today than it was imagined 400 years ago.

    • I hope as we move into this semester of SaY that we start asking the right kinds of questions about Shakespeare and challenge the traditional ways we read him, no longer reading his plays through the lenses of snobbery or modern publishing practices but, instead, as works that teach us — in the words of Harold Bloom — not only about our humanity, but also about our history.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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World is plagued by Shakespearean villains – Ralph Fiennes – UKPlurk

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    • Gerard Butler describes Coriolanus as “fresh and relevant” as he joins his co-stars, the film’s debut director Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave for a special screening of the Shakespearean drama in London. Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut is a modern more
    • Gerard Butler talks about how Ralph Fiennes’ modern take on Shakespeare’s political drama Coriolanus is very relevant and fresh today. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
    • Shakespeare’s tragedy Coriolanus has been reworked by Ralph Fiennes, in his directorial debut, into a timely modern-day tale of betrayal, political unrest and civil discontent. ‘Coriolanus is described in Shakespeare’s play as being “a thing of blood”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Occupy: What Would Shakespeare Do? by Dave Paxton

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    • What would Shakespeare do, confronted by, as Erich Heller once put it in another context, ‘the amazing scene upon which we now move in sad, pathetic, heroic, stoic, or ludicrous bewilderment’?
    • Well, how do the plays themselves present power and protest?
    • King Lear is a play about a king who loses all of his power, and learns to feel what it is like to be a beggar. More than that: it is a play in which a group of rich and powerful men are wrenched from the corridors of power, dressed in rags, and forced to live outside in the cold. All of these men individually, enduring what they do, come to a new understanding of power, of justice, and of the plight of the poor.
    • Lear’s new understanding of the plight of the poor is moving in itself, but what makes the prayer so extraordinary is that it ends, not with a simple call for compassion, but rather with a demand for economic change, for the ‘superflux’ (i.e. private capital) to be spread around more fairly. The problem of the poor is the problem of the social system itself, and it is the latter that needs to be re-thought and re-constituted.
    • Just as Lear wishes for the powerful to ‘feel what wretches feel’, so too Gloucester wants them to experience hardship, in order that they might learn compassion. On top of this, once again, an urgent economic demand is presented: private capital should be redistributed, so as to ‘undo excess’ and allow everyone their fair share.

       

      These are just two central examples of an intense focus – on class politics, economic justice and human solidarity – that runs through the entire play.

    • Shakespeare’s claim, in King Lear, is that, until systemic injustices are eradicated, no other sort of justice is possible.
    • The Occupy movement would strengthen itself if it realised that its concerns were shared by Shakespeare (along with many other great artists and philosophers of the tradition), and if it looked for ways of using this state of affairs to its advantage. Public readings of Shakespeare plays could be organised within Occupy camps, for example, and protestors could make contact with people at theatres, and at Shakespearean institutions, to see if links could be forged.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sir Ian McKellen: William Shakespeare ‘Enjoyed Sex With Men’ As Well As Women

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    • “Romeo and Juliet” may have set a multiple-century precedent for star-crossed — and primarily heterosexual — love stories, but at least one legendary actor of stage and screen believes William Shakespeare enjoyed the company of male lovers in his own personal life.

      As the Daily Mail is reporting, Sir Ian McKellen cited the frequently gender-bending plot devices of Shakespeare’s famed plays as evidence that the playwright himself was gay, or at the very least bisexual.

      “I’d say Shakespeare slept with men,” McKellen, 72, is quoted by the publication as saying. “‘The Merchant of Venice.’ centering on how the world treats gays as well as Jews, has a love triangle between an older man, younger man and a woman.”

    • The openly gay McKellen, who has starred in several productions of Shakespeare’s works including “Othello” and “Macbeth,” went on to note, “And the complexity in his comedies with cross-dressing and disguises is immense. Shakespeare obviously enjoyed sex with men as well as women.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.