I was initiated into the unique world of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays in high school and, I believe like many people, though instantly smitten with the man and his works, meandered a while before settling on my all-time favourite piece – Hamlet.
Earlier candidates included pretty much all the other usual suspects at one point or another; but particularly so, Romeo and Juliet (of course), Macbeth, Richard II, Richard III, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, the “battle of the sexes” comedies (The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labour’s Lost), Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, as well as some of the sonnets.
When precisely the realisation hit home with me what a truly unique piece of writing Hamlet is, I can no longer even tell. All I know is that it was a gradual process: for a long time I was intimidated by the play’s sheer length; as well as its gutwrenching atmosphere, its – apparent – utter hopelessness, and its uncharitable stance towards its two female characters. Yet, eventually the play’s unique power got through to me and firmly took hold of my brain, unmix’d with baser matter.
But of course the Bard left us much more than this one piece, great though it may be. Therefore, here my focus is on his literary and theatrical legacy as a whole – to the extent this is possible within the confines of a blog like this one in the first place.
Globe Theatre, London: outside, stage and stalls, and stage roof and balcony
Quick Info / The Basics: Author Page
- Biographical Sketch
- Detailed, Illustrated Biography
- The Authorship Debate
- Portraits of Shakespeare
[To be completed.]
One-page editions of Shakespeare’s sonnets and of Hamlet (photo: mine)
… on the Page
- Review: The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, gen. eds. Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor (Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK, 1986 / 2005)
- Review: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1600-1601)
- Review: 154 Sonnets (1593-1603)
- The British Council: #ShakespeareNoFilter (A Mdsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet modernized, on Instagram)
The 1623 First Folio, with a portrait of William Shakespeare ascribed to Martin Droeshout
… and on Stage and Screen
- TV series review: The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare (BBC, 1978 – 1985, starring, inter alia, Derek Jacobi)
- Movie review: Richard III (British Screen Productions / United Artists, 1995, starring Ian McKellen)
- Movie review: Much Ado About Nothing (Renaissance Films / BBC / American Playhouse Theatrical Films, 1993, starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson)
- Video: Here’s What Shakespeare’s Plays Sounded Like With Their Original English Accent
Globe Theatre, October 2012: Director Dominic Dromgoole (right) and the cast of that year’s production of Twelfth Night – including Mark Rylance as Olivia (at the right end of the cast lineup) and Stephen Fry as Malvolio (yellow garters! centre / left, below the balcony) – take standing ovations at the end of the season’s very last performance. (photo: mine)
Literature About Shakespeare
[To be completed.]
Shakespeare’s Legacy … and a bit of fun
- Thou Gorbellied, Clapper-Clawed Moldwarp! (A Shakespearean Insult Kit)