Wednesday, 1 October 2014

FutureLearning Shakespeare

My First MOOC

And so I've signed myself up to a FutureLearn MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in order to keep my brain and spirit alive as the Autumn sets in. So far I'm impressed and need to stop rewatching each video and reading every single comment, otherwise I’ll never catch up. There are a lot of enthusiastic people signed up from around the world, so I don’t feel too geeky.

A certain gentleman

And in this blog I'm finally going to attempt to begin to articulate what it is about the work, life and times of a certain gentleman that occupies a huge part of my imagination....

The other love of my life

Sally knew when we married that there would always be another man in our life…. complicated by the fact that the man died in 1616. He was born in 1564 and grew up in a Midlands market town before getting regular work in London early in his twenties. He probably revisited his home town a few times a year, sometimes staying for reasonably long periods, keeping in touch with his family and hometown friends and neighbours, doing a bit of wheeler-dealing and eventually buying some property.
Joseph Fiennes in the film of Shakespeare In Love
Big Fat Book

During the seven years after he died two of his work colleagues gathered most of his works together and had them printed in a big fat book. About 750 copies, probably, were printed. And just over 220 still exist. God alone knows what happened to the rest – hidden, lost, burned, used for starting domestic fires, shredded, recycled? I have dreamt – literally dreamt – more than once – about finding and owning one of them.
West End cast of play version of Shakespeare In Love
And his book….?

A Shakespeare First Folio is, eccentrically and wonderfully, in Skipton Town Hall on permanent display.  The First Folio isn’t a simple story, though, with complications created by earlier quartos good and bad, printing errors, collaboration questions, disputed choices by a range of people: Heminges, Condell, the original typesetters, the original printers, possibly even choices made by Anne Shakespeare (or Susannah or John Hall or Judith?)

A fine legacy…. To be continued….

Whatever circumstances surrounded the original printings of the works attributed to Shakespeare, there is no doubt his legacy is a powerful and profound one.