Category Archives: Early Modern Culture

King Lear: BBC 2, 28/5/2018

On Monday 28 May at 21:30 (UK time) BBC 2 will broadcast their King Lear starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson and others. Details here.

As the play had to be cut down to a little under two hours, the BBC version is expected to adapt the text considerably. The ageing Lear looks back nostalgically to a housekeeper he wanted to, but did not marry. In the consequent emotional turbulence he resolves to eat one of his daughters and a fool, and drink the blood of one of his sons-in-law. However, he cannot decide whom he should dine on first, and though it is clear that he should drink Burgundy, the culinary dilemma unhinges him.

(image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b57d0w)

Merchant of Venice

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Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is often regarded as the most controversial play The Bard has ever written. This is not peculiar: the tale of Italian merchant Antonio who signs a contract with the Jewish Shylock is riddled with antisemitic motives and questions the morality of the law. The Groningen University Theatre Society (GUTS) brings The Merchant of Venice to the Groningen stage in an authentic and completely English rendition.

16-18 February, Vrijdag Theatre. Click here for details.

Note that this play is on the syllabus of the year 2 course Shakespeare & Early Modern Literature.

 

Julius Caesar + music in Groningen

In deze muzikale Shakespeare delen vijf topacteurs van Orkater het podium met vijf koperblazers van K.O.Brass!, bekend van Kyteman Orchestra. ‘Julius Caesar’ is een tragedie die zich afspeelt in het Romeinse rijk [note: I think that ‘rijk’ isn’t really accurate], waar het politieke spel op het scherp van de snede wordt gespeeld. Wanneer de Romeinse heerser de absolute macht in handen dreigt te krijgen, wordt Brutus op de proef gesteld. Wat weegt zwaarder: zijn vriendschap met Caesar of het voortbestaan van de democratie? Regisseur Michiel de Regt laat muziek, taal en beeld samensmelten in een voorstelling die haarfijn blootlegt hoe kleine mensen in staat zijn tot daden met grote gevolgen.

25 November 2017

More details here.

Attending Shakespeare Lectures May be Traumatic

File:"Titus Andronicus" foto de Paula Nogueira.jpg

Image: Paula Nogueira

While no Groningen student has been stressed by their lectures on Shakespeare, things are different elsewhere. Some day Shakespeare may even be bard from university syllabuses.

Shakespeare contains gore and violence that might “upset” you, Cambridge University students have been warned. The “trigger warnings” – red triangles with an exclamation mark – appeared on their English lecture timetables. Lectures including Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus contain “discussion of sexual violence, sexual assault”. BBC

See full article here. 

Stephen Greenblatt: Original Sinner?

It makes sense that Cultural Studies has succeeded the New Historicism at the top of the humanities heap, because it’s even more unserious, even more indefinable, even more open to recherché (not to say inane and capricious) topics of “study”; to an even greater extent than the New Historicists, the typical practitioner of Cultural Studies combines a breathtaking cultural and historical illiteracy with a tendency to lean on pseudo-radical tropes about Western imperialism and so forth. In sum, it’s an intellectual and scholarly disaster. And its spiritual father is Stephen Greenblatt.

Stephen Greenblatt is one of the best know literary critics and the editor of The Norton Anthology. Not everone is a fan though.

Article in New Criterion