Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader


This is a biggie for Shakespeare fans. This is the year we Bardinators celebrate the 400 years of the Bard’s influence since he left us in 1616. Usually I spotlight an author around this part of the month, but I plan I spotlighting Billy Bard every month this year as my personal salute to the guy who brought us plays like Hamlet, words like crocodile, and phrases such as “in a pickle.” So if you are not into Shakespeare plan on skipping my posties at the end of the month OR maybe I can convince you that Shakespeare is a big deal. You might want to skip down to the Shakespism video to see if you suffer from this malady.

I was fortunate enough to participate in the first Folger Summer Academy  in which thirty teachers from all over the USA came together and studied Hamlet for a week at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC. It was a WOW time–Wonderful, Oh Wonderful.

Being surrounded by Shakespeare scholars and being immersed in Shakespeare culture for an entire week fortified my appreciated for the legacy of the playwright/poet of Stratford.

An embarrassing confession: it’s only been a mere fifteen years since I discovered Shakespeare. There was no Shakespeare in my home, in my schools, nor did I encounter him during my college years. Sad and shocking, I know. It wasn’t until I became an English teacher and had to teach Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet that I realized I had much to learn and I determined I had best make up for lost time.

As a celebration of  the Bard’s 400 years of influence the Folger Library is providing a first ever tour of Shakespeare’s First Folio. This is the book Shakespeare’s friends and colleagues put together after the Bard’s death and contains the thirty plus plays we associate with Shakespeare. I saw AND touched the Folio. Big ooooh factor. I also handled his lease for his Stratford house. Somehow that had more meaning because I know he actually touched that document. The folio is a more or less a tribute of his greatness, but he knew nothing about it.

However, I realize not everyone is wowed by William. Here are some videos that might help you overcome your Shakesfear or ennui of Bard Hoopla.


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14 thoughts on “Shakesyear

  1. Have you watched all of Giles and Dan’s documentary (have I even discussed it with you?). I love those guys – they got me over my Shakesfear in a big way.
    I’ve got the audiobook of the first part of Henry VI ready to listen to (hopefully) this month. It’s a full cast production including David Tennant. I’ve very excited for it.

    Can’t wait for all your bard related posts!

    • I haven’t watched their documentary, only the Shakesfear portion. Check out the Hollow Crown for superb Henry action. Tom Hiddleston is amazing as Prince Hal.

      • I have the whole series of The Hollow Crown on DVD but haven’t got around to watching it yet.
        The documentary is excellent, and all the full interviews with actors/directors etc. are here – they’re pretty great as well.

      • You are in for a treat. It absolutely is a winner. I will never see him as Loki quite the same way. Richard II is even better. “Q” is wasting his talents in James Bond flicks.

      • I have a soft spot for Richard II after seeing it in London, so I’m especially looking forward to that. It’ll take a lot for Ben Wishaw to be my favourite Richard though – I adored the actor who played him in the version I saw.

      • I hear they modeled Whishaw’s Richard after Michael Jackson…

  2. Shakespeare’s contributions to theatre, literature, poetry, history, language, and second-best beds are second to none. But did he ever tell a good cow joke?

  3. An anagram of William Shakespeare is a lawlike reemphasis which I like and hope that it adds to your knowledge and can be bandied about willy nilly to Shaky fans when you meet them.

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