logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Shakespeare
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-08-06 23:56
William Shakespeare's Jedi the Last (William Shakespeare's Star Wars Part the Eighth)
William Shakespeare's Jedi the Last: Star Wars' Part the Eighth - Ian Doescher

The fallout from the First Order’s destruction of the New Republic’s capital and the Resistance’s destruction of her enemy’s superweapon even as they look to bring Luke Skywalker back in William Shakespeare’s Jedi the Last by Ian Doescher.  Beginning almost immediately after the previous film, the middle installment of the sequel trilogy finds the First Order looking to takeout the remnant of their opponents only this adaptation is not on screen or a book but on the stage in Elizabethan prose as Shakespeare would have written.

 

Adapting The Last Jedi was definitely the hardest Star Wars film that Doescher had to deal with because of the how awful the Rian Johnson written-direction film is.  There is only so much Doescher could do to make this adaptation to make it readable, unlike The Phantom of Menace in which he only had to develop Jar Jar Binks.  He had to salvage so many poorly written characters, including those long established like Leia and Luke as those newly introduced, that to even have this published in a timely manner meant he could only polish them so much.  Since this is a review of the adaptation and not the film, I will applaud the excellent work Doescher did in making the at times bad dialogue into some more passable, the continuation of footnoting translations of Chewbecca’s few lines, and great narratives for the fight scenes.  However I must also commend Doescher for the wonderful easter eggs in reference to James Bond, Rogue One, and yes the sly acknowledgements that Johnson underdeveloped or ruined so many characters in particular Rey.

 

Jedi the Last is the most controversial film of the franchise and Ian Doescher did the best job he could in making it into a passable stage play in the style of William Shakespeare.  As a result my rating is celebration of Doescher’s hardwork and like the rest of the Star Wars fandom we look for to what he must deal with in Episode IX.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-26 19:31
Tyrant: Shakespeare On Power - Stephen Greenblatt

Greenblatt's studies on Shakespeare on "must reads" for me.  His discussion of the tyrants throughout Shakespeare's writings are thought-provoking in a way that I don't find anywhere else.  I particularly enjoy the discussion of Coriolanus, since that particular play is less performed and discussed than others.  I teach Coriolanus every year and students really love analyzing him so this book will add depth to our conversations around the motivations and thoughts of Caius Martius.  

Greenblatt makes it clear what his political leanings are and whether you agree with him or not, this study of the nature of tyrannical power is one well worth reading.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-23 22:02
Sigh
Her Infinite Variety: Stories of Shakespeare and the Women He Loved - Pamela Rafael Berkman

I really, really wanted to like this book.  I did.  Supposedly monologues from the various women in Shakespeare's life and his plays, sounds great.

 

Yeah, but no.

 

The Anne Hathaway Chapter (told by Shakespeare incidentally) and the Titania chapter are the only good chapters.  The Titania chapter is the only chapter where the voice feels different.  Otherwise, the chapters are all pretty much the same person doing something different.  The voices of Shakespeare and his family also feel way too modern.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-21 18:13
A chummy history of how Churchill became Prime Minister
Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister - Nicholas Shakespeare

The selection of Winston Churchill as Neville Chamberlain's successor in May 1940 is regarded today as one of the most pivotal moments of the 20th century. With his elevation to the premiership Britain was committed to a course of action in the Second World War that ended with victory over Nazi Germany. Given his role in the Allied triumph and subsequent anointing as the greatest Briton ever, such a choice can be perceived as inevitable. Yet was it?

One of the great merits of Nicholas Shakespeare's account of the events surrounding the decision is in his detailing the views of the key actors in the spring of 1940 and the choices available to them. In the process, not only does he demonstrate that Churchill's selection was far from ordained, but he also shows that it was more than a simple choice between Churchill and Lord Halifax traditionally described in most accounts of the event. As Shakespeare explains, ministers and Members of Parliament had several alternatives available to them. For many of them, Churchill was an unacceptable choice for the top post given his recklessness and adventurism, while others seemed much more appealing candidates. Even the very notion that Chamberlain needed to be replaced because of the military debacle in Norway the month before was not generally accepted, and only emerged over the course of the "Norway debate" and the subsequent division that exposed the weakness of Chamberlain's support.

To detail the events of May 1940 and uncover the thinking of the various people involved Shakespeare went beyond the traditional accounts in memoirs and biographies and undertook additional archival research and interviews. This he knits together in a narrative to which he brings all his skills as a novelist, making for an account that is highly engaging. By comparing the at times conflicting accounts and retrospective explanations, he has produced a very detailed description of how it came down in the end to Churchill. Yet it is also an incredibly chummy account, focusing almost exclusively upon the actions and decisions of a select group of elite men (and even a couple of women). While this is understandable given the small circle of people in politics and media at the time, the weaknesses in this approach are more evident in the account of the Norway disaster that precedes it. Given its importance to the events that followed Shakespeare spends a third of the book describing its failings, yet his account of events rarely strays beyond the experiences of key officers and government officials, creating the impression that it was merely their personal experiences which drove their objections to Chamberlain rather than the broader defeat that informed their criticisms of his handling of the war.

 

By narrowing his focus to a group of elite figures (one that includes his own uncle), Shakespeare trivializes the motivations of many of the men involved in the decision to turn out Chamberlain. It's a glaring flaw in what is in many respects an excellent book, one that details the chain of events that would define the course of world history. It is especially unfortunate, given that Shakespeare's extensive research and ability as a writer have produced what is the best account yet of how Churchill became prime minister in those fateful weeks in the spring of 1940. Its weaknesses, however, cause it to fall short of the definitive account it could have been with just a broadening of its scope.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-07-20 12:15
Reading progress update: I've read 103 out of 528 pages.
Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister - Nicholas Shakespeare

This book is proving to be a disappointment. Its ostensible focus is on the events surrounding Churchill's elevation to the premiership, but Nicholas Shakespeare has spent the first quarter of it on a chummy history of the battle of Norway. It's not terrible and his gifts as a writer make it interesting reading, but it's more narrative than analysis and it all feels like padding.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?