Scholarship is like technology, always evolving. The Arden Shakespeare edition of Julius Caesar I picked up from the library can’t be the Arden edition of Julius Caesar I read in my schooldays. This edition, first published in 1998, is edited by David Daniell, who begins his introduction to the play by asserting, “Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s first great tragedy.” Continue reading “Julius Caesar”
Rosalind has been my favourite Shakespearean heroine from the first time I read As You Like It. That was shortly after the Beatles had disbanded, when soft rock was ruling the airwaves and there were no such things as PCs and the World Wide Web. The world has changed utterly since then even in its reading of Shakespeare. As You Like It now turns out to be not just a romantic comedy, which was what I thought it was, but a play with homoerotic elements. Continue reading “As You Like It, Rosalind”
More than a quarter of the Nobel prizes in literature awarded since 1901 have gone to authors writing in English. But English is not the mother tongue of all of them. Kazuo Ishiguro is the fourth Nobel prize winner in literature who writes in English but whose mother tongue isn’t English. Continue reading “Kazuo Ishiguro and other Nobel Prize winners writing in English”
What’s the difference between writers and journalists? Journalists write to inform the public about what’s happening in the world. Writers can write about themselves and imaginary worlds. I was reminded of the difference while reading the book, Why Write?
The author, Mark Edmundson, does not contrast writers and journalists. But he could be alluding to journalists when he talks about writers who “write to learn something”. They are sociable, equally at home with others, gathering material, and alone, writing, at their desks, he says. Continue reading “Why write?”
It’s after midnight, the small hours of a new day, the birthday of Dylan Thomas (October 27, 1914 – November 9, 1953). Since he was born on this day, I am reading his poem, In My Craft or Sullen Art. Continue reading “Reading Dylan Thomas on his birthday”
Ah, the “sensual strut” of Dylan Thomas! I can’t forget those words of his.
I couldn’t recall the poem where he wrote those words, so I searched Google and found it. It’s not one of his best known poems, but those two words from it – “sensual strut” – sum up the appeal of Dylan Thomas, at least to me. Continue reading “The sensual strut of Dylan Thomas”
John Le Carre once said, ” ‘The cat sat on the mat’ is not the beginning of a story, but ‘the cat sat on the dog’s mat’.” He knows how to hook a reader. Yesterday, on his 85th birthday, I opened his very first book, Call for the Dead, published 55 years ago, in 1961. Continue reading “John Le Carre: The cat sat on the dog’s mat”