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Thread: what are you reading now?

  1. #2701
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    Having struggled manfully through The Tempest (although enjoying parts of it a great deal, the famous speeches, the climactic scene where everyone gathers on the beach together 'Oh brave new world!' etc. etc.), I thought I'd give Shakey another crack and started re-reading 'Henry IV pt 1'. Perhaps it's because I'm quite familiar with the play now, or perhaps its because its more obviously entertaining and satisfying, but I'm enjoying it sooo much more.

    some reasons why

    1. i've stopped trying to squeeze an understanding out of the verse of the 'music' of shakespeare, which sometimes i seem to hear but mostly i remain deaf to, perhaps misapprehending what others mean by 'music' - the only time i can really 'hear' this is when he does some comparatively vulgar trick like alliteration or rhyme...

    paradoxically(?) by doing this i think i'm closer to understanding the rhythm of it because the rhythm is in part a rollicking rhythm, not some sort of laboured, pompous 'speechifying'

    2. instead i've tried to focus more on the plot, who is speaking, what sort of voice shakespeare has given them, trying to visualise the players and so on. aside from the difficult language i think this is what makes shakespeare particularly difficult to read (and infinitely interpreted by actors) - you have to do a fair amount of work to imagine what's going on, what tone of voice is being used, etc.

    3. i've simply relished what shakespeare himself obviously relishes, particularly in this play perhaps - words. The variety of oaths, similes, metaphors, puns etc. the mixing of 'high' and 'low' language (which is hard to apprehend sometimes as a 21st century person - when a character is using a word sarcastically to mock pretension, e.g., it's hard to catch it because almost ALL the language looks pretentious in the modern context). when you start to relish this, the 'key' section becomes less an annoyance than a treasure chest of olde wordes.
    Last edited by Corpsey; 13-12-2017 at 03:22 PM.

  2. #2702
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    The latest update in my nobody-cares saga of wrestling with Shakespeare - last night I picked up 'The Tempest' again, interested to see if i'd enjoy it more having had the 'breakthrough' with hivpt1 (that looks dodgy) - and I did! but even better than that, and quite unexpectedly, i felt like i FINALLY understood the 'music' of shakespeare that I've been straining - like a man passing a particularly awkward poo - to 'hear'.

    e.g. the way in miranda and prospero's initial conversation that they begin their dialogue by completing (almost resolving) the metre of the other's last sentence, the power of pacing which using, say, several monosyllables in a row...

    What made the difference? I think in realising that reading shakespeare involves a lot of work on the reader's part - because he doesn't describe the characters appearance (except through other characters descriptions), because he doesn't describe the scenery (much), or the action, or the emotion, or if X is talking to Y and Z or just to Y... I'm pretty sure luka advised this on this thread or the poetry one, to pay attention to the emotion and how the poetry reflects the emotion, the rhythms of speech.

    One of the first bits that I noticed the music of was

    ARIEL '...the fire and cracks / Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune / Seem to besiege'

    The steady intonation of 'fire and cracks' and then the acceleration of 'sulphurous' and 'most mighty'. And then of course the onomatowhatta of 'cracks' and (perhaps its not onomattawotta) 'roaring', the assonance of seem-besiege... All these things become more apparent, more apparently effective, when you read the speech in an excited or boastful voice.

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  5. #2704
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    Like a proud father!

    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    One way to tap into it is find the impassioned speeches, the raging or the yearning or the despairing or see how closely the rhythms match, the breath of it outlines the feeling
    This is luka's quote.

    The most magical luka quote of all was in the depression thread where he said he used to have a negative voice but he killed it. That's actually the approach I've found most useful in combating depression since.

    Basically you two are Socrates/Plato to my Aristotle. Or maybe I'm that one that lived in a barrel?

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  7. #2705
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    Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swoln parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?

  8. #2706
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    This sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker, this huge hill of flesh

  9. #2707
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    All these things become more apparent, more apparently effective, when you read the speech in an excited or boastful voice.
    this really is the key. Lear's rage, or Juliet's breathless desire or etc

  10. #2708
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    LEAR: I am King Lear, your king. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be "Sir". Do you maggots understand that?

    LEAR'S DAUGHTERS: [In unison in a normal speaking tone] Lear, yes, Lear.

    LEAR: Bullshit I can't hear you. Sound off like you got a pair!

    LEAR'S DAUGHTERS: [In unison, much louder] SIR, YES SIR!

    LEAR: If you ladies leave my island, if you survive my apportioning out my estate, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human fucking beings. You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit! Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair... Dost thou maggots understand that?

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  12. #2709
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    School's done for a moment so I have to read again now. And listen to music. And do things. Lord.

    Sunday I speedread Patricia Highsmith's "The Price of Salt" because it was something I bought for myself but determined it was instead going to be someone's Xmas present and then I had to make sure it got handled in time. X_x

  13. #2710
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    Reading 'Kidnapped' by R.L. Stevenson. Only a few chapters in, but as vivid and entertaining as 'Treasure Island' was. Might reread 'Gulliver's Travels' next, but also need to read some Shakespeare...

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    Scott confronts conventional historians and looks at the evidence, archaeological and textual, for the proposition that three centuries, roughly between 615 and 915, never existed and are "phantom" years. The author shows in detail how no archaeology exists for these three centuries, and that the material remains of the seventh century closely resemble those of the tenth, and lie directly beneath them. This is the first book on this topic in the English language, though Heribert Illig's books on the same topic, 'Das erfundene Mittelalter' and 'Wer hat an der Uhr Gedreht?' Have been best sellers in German-speaking Europe.

    A look at the evidence that we're in the 1720s, not 2018.

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  16. #2712
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    Two books published by the ever reliable Fitzcarraldo Editions:
    Flights by Olga Tokarczuk https://fitzcarraldoeditions.com/books/flights
    Compass by Mathias Enard https://fitzcarraldoeditions.com/books/compass

    Both in the tradition of learned, heavyweight European literature - I don't know if we have an equivalent currently working in English - I would love to be proved wrong.

  17. #2713
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    2 archaeology texts worth exploring by anyone with an interest in nature & psychology (both by Richard Bradley)

    An Archaeology of Natural Places - pick any natural landmark feature or category of environment & Bradley goes deeeep on their significance through prehistory. Animism, shamanism & differing world views all collide in an outstanding appraisal of our (disappearing) relationship to the natural world. You dont need any pre-amble or Time Team chronological lessons on c14 dating, just jump & enjoy this superbly written ride. Zero new-age wank included.

    The Idea of Order: The Circular Archetype in Prehistoric Europe - "Time is a flat circle" according to Rust Cohle & humanity's understanding of linear & circular time-frames in integrated in quality case studies including stone circles, henges, causewayed enclosures & roundhouses. Expensive but a lot of libraries will have it. My inner nerdlinger cant get enough of this despite far too long knee deep in water-logged excavation trenches. Zero flat earth wank included.

    Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane - similar to the above but more a linguistic examination of landmarks (funnily enough), placenames & all the language influences that have left their mark on the places of the British Isles. Only a 3rd of the way thru and truly hooked.

    The Living Stones: Cornwall, by Ithell Colquhoun - part travelog, part ethnography, part archaeology, part rural & coastal psychogeography, part occultism.....paused b4 crimbo, its mood is unique in defining moments of psychological strangeness when the artist encountered various places & locations across the county after settling in Lamorna. Weird but not for the sake of it, she's brilliant at extrapolating pre-christian mythology, places & unpicking these cultural remnants out of the terrain, plus Stewart Lee did the new edition foreword.
    Last edited by cwmbran-city; 17-01-2018 at 10:34 PM.

  18. #2714
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwmbran-city View Post

    The Idea of Order: The Circular Archetype in Prehistoric Europe - "Time is a flat circle" according to Rust Cohle & humanity's understanding of linear & circular time-frames in integrated in quality case studies including stone circles, henges, causewayed enclosures & roundhouses. Expensive but a lot of libraries will have it. My inner nerdlinger cant get enough of this despite far too long knee deep in water-logged excavation trenches. Zero flat earth wank included.

    Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane - similar to the above but more a linguistic examination of landmarks (funnily enough), placenames & all the language influences that have left their mark on the places of the British Isles. Only a 3rd of the way thru and truly hooked.
    Don't mention Macfarlane near Luka...although i like quite like him, felt that Landmarks was his least successful piece - railing against lost words etc. Bits of The Old Ways i loved - especially on The Broomway which is just down the road from me.

  19. #2715
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    yeah one of my bÍtes noires. him and dan snow and various other creatures of complacent privilege.

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