The Shakespeare Diaries…. or “to read or not to read.” But it seems as if that question’s been answered already. To read. Definitely. I love Shakespeare. One of my goals at Middlebury College was to “read” Shakespeare, and I did, in a small seminar with Professor Paul Cubeta, hosted at his home. His wife offered homemade goodies to accompany our heady discussions of a handful of tragedies.
I have read many of Shakespeare’s plays, and seen more on stage or screen (more about that later). But not ALL of them. That seems a travesty to me. I feel as if I need to, want to, have to, must, should…. read all of them. So, to check another item off the bucket list, and fill some of the vacuum created by my newly-empty nest, here goes. A Shakespearean Odyssey.
Yes, to read. But in what order? Randomly (As You Like It?– yes, bad Bard puns will abound). Alphabetically? That satisfies my OCD. Chronologically? That seems to honor him the most and would allow for careful observation of change over time. By play category? The most academically appropriate. I was leaning toward chronological but quickly discovered the difficulty in pinning down a precise chronology for the plays for many reasons. So I’m going with alphabetical. Simple and easy. I begin, therefore, with All’s Well That Ends Well. One I’ve never read. That feels right.
As I read, I’ll write. Thoughts, impressions, connections. While I have the complete works on both my iPhone and iPad (what would he have thought??), I’ll read mostly from my Riverside Shakespeare. The selfsame volume that I used in Cubeta’s seminar. That I bought at the Middlebury Bookstore for $22.50 in 1980. That is carefully and copiously annotated in pencil for the plays I read for class. With “Diane Meyer” written on the inside cover.
I give credit where credit is due to Mark Rylance and the cast of the recently-staged Twelfth Night and Richard III. Their amazing performances made me heed the call to do what I like; what I have a passion for. I certainly can’t act; particularly in that company as they only employ males, as would have been the case at the Globe. So I will have to settle for immersing myself in the plays. Hardly settling, though.
Here’s what I can guarantee won’t appear in these posts: Expertise, snobbishness, or arrogance. I’m a fan not a scholar. I love the stuff and will simply read and report. I’m neither a critic nor a professor. I don’t pretend that this will be enlightening or insightful even. Just tremendously fun and satisfying for me — and I can only hope for the random other here and there.
Thanks for joining me on the journey!