So, this is, apparently, the last Shakespeare play I've ever read for the first time. It appears that I've read all 38 plays that have Shakespeare's nSo, this is, apparently, the last Shakespeare play I've ever read for the first time. It appears that I've read all 38 plays that have Shakespeare's name attached to them with academic approval.
This is weird for me. I know I'm not saying goodbye to Shakespeare - hardly - but... in a way, I am? And, admittedly, I remember almost nothing about All's Well That Ends Well or King John, and mostly what I remember about Troilus and Cressida is the eternal theme of "Achilles and Patroclus are Gay" (that's even what my junior high brain got out of it, when I was not nearly as sensitive to subtext of that nature). So I have some rereading to do. And yet it's not the same. It's an interesting realization, that you only have backwards to look.
That's a very cynical way to look at it, and this has nothing to do with Two Noble Kinsmen! Onwards!
Having just read "The Knight's Tale" by Chaucer a few months back for my medieval lit course, it was really fun to see Shakespeare take a shot at it. I didn't even know this play's subject, so it was a pleasant surprise. I was surprised that he changed the 202-man-army battle to an 8-man tussle, but I suppose that the latter is much easier to present onstage.
For a while, I thought he was going to pull a comedy and have Palamon fall in love with the Jailer's Daughter and Arcite would marry Emilia and everything would be okay, but no, he stuck with Chaucer's ending. I think it loses something for not having the backstory of the quarrel between Mars, Venus, and Saturn; without it, the ending is very abrupt. I'd imagine that many of Shakespeare's audience would be familiar with the Chaucer tale, and would have that backstory in mind, thus smoothing out the plot twist three pages from the end; still, it's a bit odd. And I'm still not sure what to do with the story about the Jailer's Daughter. Bizarre. And the moral of the story is: medieval doctors should not be trusted with mental/sexual health.
But it's my last Shakespeare. I give it 3 stars because of integrity in the rating system, but my heart gives it a full 4 1/2. Palamon and Arcite's relationship was hilarious and adorable - angry best friends lacing each other up for battle against each other, a timeless scene - and Emilia's and Hipployta's potentials were just within reach but sadly underdeveloped. But what do I care? It's Shakespeare, my last first encounter (even if it was mucked up with John Fletcher), and I loved it. ...more
So much better than the first two parts! I really enjoyed this one and was relieved that the characterization was back to my regularly-expected levelSo much better than the first two parts! I really enjoyed this one and was relieved that the characterization was back to my regularly-expected level of awesome. Usually with king stories, you can tell what Shakespeare's moral standpoint is - what team he's on, so to speak - but I really couldn't tell in this case. It was fascinating. And then the eerie quality of the final scene - wow. Just wow. Especially knowing about Richard III. It was great. And Margaret - love her!
Richard II and Henry VI would make good friends. I am convinced....more
Now I understand why so few people read Henry VI; it's not particularly /Shakespeare/ at all. Flat characters all around without even interesting speeNow I understand why so few people read Henry VI; it's not particularly /Shakespeare/ at all. Flat characters all around without even interesting speeches to liven them up, except for a Joan of Arc whose fascinating character is utterly obliterated in Act V. Tragic. Even the stage directions feel uncharacteristic. I'm disappointed. This kind of story isn't how I wanted to end my Great Shakespeare Drama Marathon, since he only cowrote Two Noble Kinsmen.
Alas and alack. At least I'll have a good reason to reread Richard II after this (not that there's ever a bad time to reread RII, but it'll be a good palate cleanser)....more
I'm a little worried that I've teared up more reading this book than I have in any fiction I've read in probably the past two years (save the Books ofI'm a little worried that I've teared up more reading this book than I have in any fiction I've read in probably the past two years (save the Books of Umber).
This is an amazingly obsessive work. I don't know much about Shakespearean history - I've just read the plays, man, I'm working up to the scholarly stuff - and you have to be so careful about trusting sources you don't know much about. But the fact that the Folger Shakespeare Library has this book prominently displayed on their website makes me more comfortable taking Mays at her word. That, and she seems to be the protege of some pretty big Shakespeareans. I trust you, Mays, though your authorial bias comes in pretty strong in a few points.
But she loves Shakespeare! This whole book is such a LOVE LETTER to the love of Shakespeare, and as an increasingly obsessed bardolater, I'm so WEAK to this kind of rose-tinted effusion. I was brought to TEARY EYES! Because of SHAKESPEARE and how Mays is so in love with his words and his impact on the world! Look at how many caps and exclamation points I'm using! Because I'm SAD and OBSESSED and I feel like Mays is my wise older sister in bardolatry!
I don't know how interesting this would be to someone who's not head over heels with Shakespeare, because even I grew a little weary at times - there are whole chapters dedicated to telegrams about Folger's pursuit of one Folio. But if you are head over heels for Shakespeare, I don't think this is one you can pass up. Maybe even if you already know some of the Folger story. (I didn't; I was an uneducated dilettante. I'm working on that now.) Mays's writing is crisp, clear, and, most importantly, enthusiastic.
Gah, she just loves Shakespeare so much. She makes me love Shakespeare even more than I already did. If I die young, bury me in satin, lay me down on a bed of my Shakespeare copies. ...more
A mildly charming little play, without many stand-out characters or shocking plot twists. A literal deus ex machina wraps up the ending. Not my favoriA mildly charming little play, without many stand-out characters or shocking plot twists. A literal deus ex machina wraps up the ending. Not my favorite, but it is better than Two Gentlemen and Measure for Measure, so I'm not complaining. Marina's ability to talk her way out of prostitution is so hilarious it's almost amazing.
If they'd had the internet, Thaisa wouldn't have ended up in Ephesus for fourteen years. ...more
Good! Really good, actually. For some reason, I wasn't expecting much, but I enjoyed it a lot! That's what I get for underestimating Shakespeare. SillGood! Really good, actually. For some reason, I wasn't expecting much, but I enjoyed it a lot! That's what I get for underestimating Shakespeare. Silly Collin. Never do that.
The Princess and her ladies are the most delightful quartet of females, and the King and his menfolk are pretty hilarious. (You hear a lot about Shakespeare having lame female characters at the beginning of his career, but the Princess and Rosaline, especially, could come close to Beatrice in strength of character and independent streaks miles wide.) I'd have to read it a couple times to get all the nuances with the supporting cast - the "Fantastical Spaniard," Moth, Costard, Jaquenetta, etc. - but the main gist of this very simple play is entertaining enough the first time around.
Not to mention the ending! It's such a funny ending, in all possible definitions of the word. Funny amusing, and funny odd. Still wasn't expecting that, but it was a pleasant surprise. It makes LLL a unique play with a unique feeling to it. It's definitely a play I'd like to study....more
Still one of my favorite Shakespeares, and Cleopatra is still one of my favorite Shakespearean characters. Almost all of her dialogue is so beautiful.Still one of my favorite Shakespeares, and Cleopatra is still one of my favorite Shakespearean characters. Almost all of her dialogue is so beautiful. Mark Antony loses some of the vigor he has in Julius Caesar but maybe that's the point, and when it comes down to it he can still turn a phrase. And don't even mention their scenes together.
"...And make death proud to take us" is one of those lines that's stuck with me ever since I first read it years ago. Both main characters' death scenes, too, are beautiful, more beautiful than Hamlet's and definitely more so than Romeo's and Juliet's. I just love this play....more
I was really hoping I'd like it more - I mean, Prince Hal only grown up to be a great king. Unfortunately, not a whole lot happened. It didn't quite hI was really hoping I'd like it more - I mean, Prince Hal only grown up to be a great king. Unfortunately, not a whole lot happened. It didn't quite have Shakespeare's feel of brilliance.
I liked it, of course, but it just wasn't quite as well constructed as most of his plays.
(Also - imagine reading a Shakespeare-era history snippet about how wonderful Henry V was, which you're so glad to believe... and then reading a present-day history lesson that completely demolished the mythos of Henry's goodness. Not cool.)...more
I don't think I've ever bumped up a four-star book - still a pretty solid, amazing rating - to aFirst read: November 18, 2011
Third? read: July 5, 2015
I don't think I've ever bumped up a four-star book - still a pretty solid, amazing rating - to a five-star the second/third time around. Maybe it's because I was in a couple plays in the past year, or maybe it's because I've fallen deeply in love with Shakespeare and drama in general since 2011. Maybe now was just The Right Time to read Eyes Like Stars again. Maybe I love a well-written book with a fantastic heroine, amazing side characters, beautiful prose, and a plot and situation to die for. Or maybe I just appreciate a book that doesn't cast Ariel as a flighty, spunky female. (Male or agender Ariel forever! Down with Little Mermaid Stand-ins! Vive la resistance! For real, Mantchev's Ariel is fan-freaking-tastic.)
Whatever reason, Eyes Like Stars is a five-star for me. There wasn't a page I didn't love. ...more