My reading goals this year were to 1.Read more poetry and 2. Read “in depth”. I will declare success with the first one: I have made a bit of poetry a daily habit.
The second one ,read “in depth”, might sound a bit fuzzy but what I mean is to read things that other works are based on i.e. the book if I have seen the movie(which is rarely the case actually) and try to read drama.
Sure, like a good little bookworm I’ve read some Chechov and that, but not to any large extent and always with my trepidation. But in 2015 I went to the theater more then I have in my life and thus I felt the need. I was not responsible for getting all those tickets to plays but I happily tagged along whatever it was; Ibsen, the Idiot by Dostoyevsky, something newly written or Shakespeare.
In the past, if I have gone to the theater, Shakespeare has been one of the things I’ve gone for. It’s a safe bet and I do like his works. Throughout time they have stayed relevant.
And it’s a good time to read him; this being the 400th year of his death, a lot has been written about him and I’ve seen things on TV that have gotten me in the mood.
The Introducing Shakespeare by G.B Harrison was something I picked up at a flea market. It was originally published in 1939 and Shakespeare scholars have since added a bit to our knowledge about him but a lot in this book still has value. It was very interesting to read about how stages looked back then and how the process of printing his works came about(something they did even then). Another book “about Shakespeare” is a Shakespeare glossary by C.T. Onion which I will hopefully use/need when I do attempt him in english.
I have stuck to the Swedish translations so far; part of that is fear that the text will make no sense to me in english but mostly because these are the translations that stage productions in Sweden rely on; these are the lines I remember being said.
It has been a lovely journey so far and I aim to manage one or two more before the year is over. I do mumble some of it when I read , to get a feel for the rhythm. I don’t know how to read drama really. Reading it out loud just seems pretentious.
I will say that the tragedies(and I have said this elsewhere) I find to be more of a joy to have read then the actual reading of them except maybe Macbeth (and I say this having read all of four of his plays so I might have to go back on that in future). So much falls into place afterwards; references and why maybe they put on productions in the way they did. Seeing the words and hearing them are different experiences and with no distractions from decor and costume(and I’m very easily distracted by those) there is a deeper understanding and reflection. So no news there; I pretty much knew this before and yet I haven’t read the bard before.
With Twelfth night it’s the same thing in a way; not seeing the costumes brings a seriousness to the text that maybe I didn’t think of when seeing it. And it’s a joy to read; Shakespeare maketh all others look wilted with his one-liners.
I’m thinking about Richard III or The Tempest for my next one; both because of episodes of BBC4 “In our time” because that is my religion now.