The Queen Mab Speech: Mercutio’s Unwitting Prophecy

Mercutio's famous Queen Mab speech (I.iv.58-100) has elicited many interpretations, such as the belief that the monologue demonstrates Mercutio's genius at improvisation as well as the notion that it pinpoints Mercutio's overt homoeroticism and possible homosexuality. While one (or both) of these characterizational interpretations may be true, there is another reading of the speech that … Continue reading The Queen Mab Speech: Mercutio’s Unwitting Prophecy

Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’: 1592-1599: Chapters III-Epilogue

I read the second half of the book in close succession, having been entranced by Burgess's language as one transfixed by a spell. The plot is not surprising, though it is magical observing the conception and execution of Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, the Henry IV plays, Henry V, and the better part … Continue reading Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’: 1592-1599: Chapters III-Epilogue

Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’: 1592-1599: Chapters I-II

Burgess decides to pass over the most historically ambiguous time in Shakespeare's life (between his leaving Stratford and his early fame as a mediocre playwright for Philip Henslowe's playhouse, the Rose; i.e., 1587-1592), and he instead commences the novel's second section a full five years after WS's decision to take his "pseudo-Plautus" (an early draft of … Continue reading Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’: 1592-1599: Chapters I-II

Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’: 157?-1587: Chapters IX-X

Sin, humiliation, population, desolation. WS, heartbroken after the rebuff from his prostitute-Goddess and panicking at the loss of the Plautus books, sets out to write his own "Englished" version of Plautus's Menaechmi, taking pains to retain the supposed translative voices of the Quedgeley boys. But disaster strikes when, in the midst of a lesson on … Continue reading Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’: 157?-1587: Chapters IX-X

Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’, 157?-1587: Chapter VIII

After a mere 54 pages, WS meets his dark Goddess: a Bristol prostitute. Teaching the Quedgeley boys is a hopeless task. They are too much the rambunctious adolescents, goofing around, mocking the divine material (here, Ovid and the Latin language in general) and otherwise condescending to their instructor. WS threatens beating but the boys only … Continue reading Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’, 157?-1587: Chapter VIII

Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’, 157?-1587: Chapters IV-VII

Chapters IV-VII move quickly despite the great many events that occur: after seeing a girl he fancies with another man, WS gets drunk in an alehouse, gets punched in the stomach, vomits, and passes out; he wakes up in a wooded area next to a half-nude woman [later revealed to be Anne Hathaway, future Mrs. … Continue reading Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’, 157?-1587: Chapters IV-VII

Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’, 157?-1587: Chapters I-III

Chapters I-III find young WS delivering gloves for his father; encountering the Stratford drunk belching "the soul of an alehouse" (and otherwise putting young WS in mind to go to sea); making love to a black-haired girl he doesn't much care for (though he yells out something ingenuine about love mid-O because that's the type … Continue reading Reading Update: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’, 157?-1587: Chapters I-III

New Read: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’, by Anthony Burgess

I'm in the midst of Nothing Like the Sun, Anthony Burgess's novel about Shakespeare; I'm just starting, but I love it thus far. The novelty of "seeing" a living young Shakespeare is intriguing, but the true value of what I've read thus far is the language. Splendid hybrid of "Shakespeare" modern English and 20th century … Continue reading New Read: ‘Nothing Like the Sun’, by Anthony Burgess