Monday, 20 June 2005

Assuming the Position

Heartfelt apologies for the last post, I don't think they can get any worse from here on in. All the same, there could quite possibly be a nasty itchy flaky red rash of boredom and inanity on the way, because that's what tends to happen when there's a lot of work to do and little clear idea of where to begin.
I've got to brush up my Shakespeare & pals this week and next: get through eleven plays, and read enough recent critical stuff to feel reasonably on top of things. Dear oh dear.

I'm feeling a bit limp about it at the moment, but it should be a fairly interesting semester. I'm particularly curious to see what the Mildura people make of it. The subject is arranged around the city / country axis - half the plays are twitchy, snippy, morally grey urban comedies, and the other half are la-la land everything-is-nice-in-the-countryside pastorals. The longstanding gentleman's agreement in Shakespeare industries is that the city plays are realist and the pastoral plays are romances. But I spent my adolescence in a country town, and from there, it's the city that's the unreal and very-far-away fantasyland. The country is all too real, and to a teenager with no mobility or independence, it's boring, and it's shite. I don't want to assume anything at all about how these particular students will approach the plays, but it seems wholly plausible that they might want to argue with the pastoral theme in Shakespeare, or at least, with the way it's generally interpreted. I imagine if you live near or in a place like Mildura, there's a good chance you'll associate "pastoral" with pastoral leases, and Wik, and hard graft, and soil erosion, and struggle, before you'd think of comfort and freshness and ease and plenty.

Anyway. I better get stuck into it.


boynton said...

I often wondered how "Seachange" went down in realist countrytowns. I never saw a character on that la-la show like some I observed at Nondescript in gippsland talking erosion at the local.

11 plays? Next post you might be heavily into iambic pentameter...

Mallrat said...

luv the cat photos.
hey, i replied to your meme- about a month later!

genevieve said...

Wow, that is terrific, thank God somebody somewhere is still studying enormous chunks of Shakespeare. Lucky young devils, I still brag about my year reading Shakespeare for honours.

Lucy Tartan said...

Hi Genevieve. There are three half-year subjects at my little university which are 80% Shakespeare. And they're always well enrolled. Yes, it is good.

genevieve said...

That is wonderful. I get a bit fretful when I realise my young 'uns have NOT READ MACBETH OR OTHELLO. Holy shit. Time to get some movies out. One of them is signed up to see Ken's Hamlet with me so we will see. Funny how they pick up the stories by osmosis when they live with someone who has read a lot of it, though.
Thanks for the blogroll, Laura. Will return the favour!

Anonymous said...

Shakespeare grew up in a counry town as well. I am damn sure from Stratford that London was a golden city.

Mind you, he was sor of kind of fitting in with the masque tradition with the pastoral theme.

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