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How to Participate in Shakespeare Week on Goodreads

Posted by Cynthia on April 11, 2016
Approximately 38 plays and 154 sonnets as attributed to Shakespeare, as well as a variety of other poems—in total, his complete works consist of a whopping 884,647 words (written by hand, not on the computer, mind you!).

From April 18 - 22, Goodreads is celebrating William Shakespeare’s literary legacy in honor of his 400th anniversary. All authors inspired by Shakespeare are invited to participate. Help readers discover books inspired by Shakespeare’s plays, share how Shakespeare influenced your life, or tell readers which Shakespeare character you portrayed in your high school play.

Here's how you can get involved next week:

Enable Ask the Author from your author dashboard, and answer any pending writing prompts or questions from readers.

Tell your followers you're participating in #ShakespeareWeek. If you haven't answered the pre-seeded questions from Goodreads yet, now is a great time to do so.

Share a link to your Ask the Author landing page on Twitter using #ShakespeareWeek. Invite readers to ask you a question, or share a great answer.

Join the conversation with readers and other authors to discuss best quotes, favorite sonnets, or alternate endings.

Answer questions from readers throughout the week. Answer at your own pace, and remember it’s ok to skip questions. Thoughtful answers go much further than short, dismissive ones.

Shelve your favorite works by Shakespeare. Even if you just read a few plays in high school, share what works you've read with your followers. Writing a review is optional (not like it was back in Ms. Smith's English class...)

List a giveaway. Have a book that features Shakespeare, or is based on a Shakespeare play? Be sure to do this today, as the giveaway needs to be scheduled 7 days in advance.

Ask another author a question. Browse our list of Featured Authors to connect with more authors. Ask a question, or like and comment on an answer. Remember: the answer gets shared in both your newsfeeds, which exposes you to new followers.

Tweet your favorite quote from Shakespeare. Find inspiration on on our quotes page.

The fun starts Monday, April 18th so be sure to check our Goodreads blog for a complete overview of what's happening.

Next: Five Things to Remember When Engaging on Goodreads

Goodreads Authors can subscribe to the Monthly Author Newsletter by editing their account settings.

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message 1: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Richmond Shakespeare’s Tragedies Reviewed: A Spectator’s Role
by Hugh Macrae Richmond

Peter Lang, Studies n Shakespeare, Vol. 22 2016 ISBN 978-1-4331-2919-3 hb. (Hardcover)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 222 pp. $84.50 Sept. 2015

Shakespeare’s Tragedies Reviewed explores how the recognition of spectator interests by the playwright has determined the detailed character of Shakespeare tragedies. Utilizing Shakespeare’s European models and contemporaries, including Cinthio and Lope de Vega, and following forms such as Aristotle’s second, more popular style of tragedy (a double ending of punishment for the evil and honor for the good), Hugh Macrae Richmond elicits radical revision of traditional interpretations of the scripts. The analysis includes a major shift in emphasis from conventionally tragic concerns to a more varied blend of tones, characterizations, and situations, designed to hold spectator interest rather than to meet neoclassical standards of coherence, focus, and progression. This reinterpretation also bears on modern staging and directorial emphasis, challenging the relevance of traditional norms of tragedy to production of Renaissance drama. The stress shifts to plays’ counter-movements to tragic tones, and to scripts’ contrasting positive factors to common downbeat interpretations – such as the role of humor in King Lear and the significance of residual leadership in the tragedies as seen in the roles of Malcolm, Edgar, Cassio, and Octavius, as well as the broader progressions in such continuities as those within Shakespeare’s Roman world from Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra to Cymbeline. It becomes apparent that the authority of the spectator in such Shakespearean titles as What You Will and As You Like It may bear meaningfully on interpretation of more plays than just the comedies.

message 2: by Anna (new)

Anna Patterson This could be so much fun! I guess I will have to brush up on my Shakespeare!
I look forward to all posts about this!
Thanks for letting me know about it.
Anna Patterson

message 3: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Acevedo Yay for Shakespeare week! The narrator in my second book is a huge Shakespeare fan and quotes him at the most excellent moments. God Awful Thief comes out May 1st, just in time all the literary fandom. :)

message 4: by Julius (new)

Julius Thompson This will be super! I'm teaching Romeo and Juliet now. We're reading Act II...the famous Balcony scene in Scene Two.

message 5: by John (new)

John Bentley My novel- The Royal Secret - tells -through the eyes of a woman of today the true tale of the amazing life and loves of Francis Bacon -who used the masked name of ShakesPeare for his plays. He was a Prince, a son of Elizabeth 1st, and founder of America of which he was the potential King. The Royal Secret

message 6: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Islip For a bit of fun at our Burns Club meeting I wrote and the company read the following....

Two Gentlemen in a Far Away Land.
A Play or a Story: Act One or Chapter One
Narrator: This takes place in a land flowing with milk and honey, a place where some folk go when they get tired of planet earth or more commonly vice versa. Two men meet up, greet each other, sit down for a chat on a grassy bank alongside slow moving Milk river. The sun shines warm but not too warm. Don’t ask what these two look like or what they’re wearing. They look as you want them to look and they wear or do not wear what you are happy to see them wearing or not wearing. Their language is here translated into modern English or indeed any other known to or preferred by you. Note also that in a land of milk and honey neither time nor space exists. So let us begin …
Robert Burns: “Now then, Will, how’s she hangin’?”
William Shakespeare: “That’s horrible, Robert.”
RB: It’s Irish. Mr Joyce always greets you with it.
WS: Indeed he does. Still awful. But yes as a matter of fact she’s hangin’ pretty well even though I’ve just been watching As You Like It being played on television with the men dressed up as twentieth century German nasties and the girls as ladies of the night. Not at all as I like it. Oh, what they do to us once they perceive us dead and gone!
RB: Right. (Chuckles.) As You Like It indeed! You know how much I used to like it.
A big-eared hare has come lolloping over the lea, now sits up on hind legs close by, regarding the pair with shining, jet-bright eye.
WS: Hello Mister. Good here, is it not?
Hare: Yes. None of your kind shooting me. No killing. None of your kind eating me.
RB: In my part of the world we called you ‘Maukin’, Mister Hare. After seeing one of you dragging your poor gunshot self along I wrote you a poem.
Hare drops to all fours then leaps high, twists in mid air, comes down shadow boxing his front paws.
WS: Yes, that verse of yours - lovely! Oft as by winding Nith I, musing, wait / The sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn, / I'll miss thee sporting o'er the dewy lawn, / And curse the ruffian's aim, and mourn thy hapless fate. But you talk of sex, Robert. Yes, we all liked it. Ever since that lovely Garden of Eden the pursuit of that sort of gratification was so compulsive yet such a gross waste both of your energies and your store of years on earth.
RB: But all that sexual predilection! More for most of us than the pursuit of power or even the mystic mythic going by the name of money. Shakes his head. That twentieth century saying: ‘It’ll pull you more than dynamite will blow you’.
WS: Not too elegantly put but … yes indeed. (Ruminates for a moment then) For me there was this dark lady …
RB: The one wrapped up with such care within some of your sonnets, William, yes? Not at all like me with my lassies. No sooner I bedded them than there they were for all to see in my poesy, whether to be read or sung to music.
WS: Clarinda? Or Nancy Macelhose as others knew her?
RB: Ah, sweet Clarissa! She was the exception. Much as my love for that badly married lady was declared in writing I kept the faith; never revealed the yes or the no of its physical satisfaction
WS: No such secret here of course. Looks to his friend, smiles. One amongst your finest works, Robert. I'll never blame my partial fancy, / Nothing could resist my Nancy: / But to see her was to love her; / Love but her, and love for ever. / Had we never loved so kindly, / Had we never loved so blindly, / Never met - or never parted, / We had never been broken - hearted.
RB: Thank you kindly. We were all at it right to the end. (Laughs, changes the subject). Just now and then I look in on one of their Hogmanays -
WS (interrupting): New Years Eves, you mean. No colloquialisms, remember?
Mister Maukin is shambling off, now and then leaping high, dashing in joyful circles before reverting to the walk. Calls back; ‘Goodbye gentlemen both.’
WS: Goodbye, long-ears!
RB: Fare thee well, maukin! William, I’m sorry - I mean yes, New Years Eves. There were millions of them at it with their crossing of arms and holding hands and running out of my words after verse one. Of course we don’t do vainglory here, William, but if we did I’d have to say there was more at the auld acquaintance not being forgot, when all the rest of it has been than, well, than anything else in song.
WS: Definitely! He holds out his hand, palm uppermost. Bees zoom in on it from all quarters, alight to deliver their succulent loads. A small pyramid of honey at once begins to grow. I often wonder why I myself didn’t do more poetry in the form of song. Big, big impact. Oh yes: Greensleeves; Bring On The Clowns; My Heart Is Like A Red, Red Rose; Ain’t Gonna Work No More On Maggie’s Farm, The Hallelulia Chorus. He nods ‘enough’. The bees disperse. He raises hand to mouth, licks up their sweet libation. Continues … Yes, strong stuff, that songbook of yours. By the way, I meant to ask you, when did all the seas gang dry?
RB: Honey, honey. Think I’ll join you with some of that. Robert holds out his own hand. Bees come back, get to work. ‘Go dry, not gang dry’, I think, Mister Shakespeare! Tut tut. When? The seas dried up six hundred and three thousand, three hundred and twelve earth years after the final disappearance of all life. That was two point eight eight nine million years before the final evaporation and no more lovely planet.
WS: Sad, but not sad now. Strange how it has never seemed overcrowded here, Robbie. You would think - with human population escalating surely there would have been ever more coming to join us …
RB: Who can know? None of our times are open to us here and Mary tells me there were fewer and fewer deserving of entry, the more people born. But oh, look here, my friend!
A beautiful young lady, floating apparently on a raft of wild flowers, long blonde tresses out-splayed is drifting slowly by with the flow of river Milk.
WS: Ophelia! (Breaks into song) ‘Isn’t she lovely, made for love.’
RB: Stevie Wonder. He’s here all right. Springs to his feet, flings his arms wide, (forgetting the accumulation of honey running down his forearm), declaims … Ophelia, thy charms my bosom fire, / And waste my soul with care; / But ah! how bootless to admire, / When fated to despair! /// Yet in thy presence, lovely Fair, / To hope may be forgiven; / For sure 'twere impious to despair / So much in sight of heaven.
WS: Heaven! That’s a nice one. He’s looking down at his hand in the grass. A fieldmouse has hopped on to it and is busy nibbling away the last trace of honey. Hey, just look at this little chap. Is he not enjoying himself! Oh, gone. Gone in a flash.
RB: That would be my wee timorous beastie, you ken? Sorry, I mean to say ‘small frightened creature, you know’. Oh, Timmy, little Timmy. I'm truly sorry man's dominion / Has broken nature's social union, / And justifies that poor opinion / Which makes you startle / At me, your poor earth-born companion, / And fellow mortal.
WS: Your little friend is not mortal, Robert, any more than are you or I. William rises to join his standing friend. Ophelia is seen swimming ashore, climbing out of the river, smoothing back her golden tresses. We are all immortal; all of life on Earth such as has been here admitted.
RB: She isn’t - wasn’t - I mean your Ophelia - I often wondered … she was perhaps someone you knew, William?
WS: Of course. Every character was a person or more likely a compendium of persons I knew or of whom I knew in the flesh. Often well in the flesh. Ophelia was actually Beatrice Forsythe, a farm girl in my village.
(At this point, gentlefolk, I should explain that human emotions are all here in this place provided they are the positive ones - joy, satisfaction, love (non-carnal of course) sense of beauty etc, etcetera. No negative waves. No fear or hatred or jealousy or anything downbeat. Anyway, in the meantime the young lady Ophelia has climbed out of the milk, taken off her filmy dress and now stands there naked, wringing it out. Our two in conversation take little notice.
RB: Laughs. You know we were so much alike, William. You had a fancy for this Beatrice / Ophelia? Of course you did. We both impregnated young girls when still in our minority. What was it you had your Othello say? ‘One that loved not wisely but too well’? And we both worked on farms before gravitating to cities, both earned a measure of fame in our own lifetimes, both learned so much whilst having experienced not overmuch in the way of academia.
WS: Oh yes! If I may quote some more from your verse, Robert … A set of dull, conceited fools / Confuse their brains on college stools / They go in stallions, come out asses / Plain truth to speak; / And so they think to climb Parnassus / By dint of Greek! /// Give me a spark of nature’s fire / That’s all the learning I desire / Then though I drudge through soil and mire / At plough or cart / My muse, though homely in attire / May touch the heart.
RB: Yes, my Epistle to J Lapraik. Never knew the man on earth. Just read his stuff.
WS: You and I used events of the past as canvasses on which to weave what they called our tapestries of words. You used your native Scottish songs whereas I used the Roman, Ovid as well as others both ancient and modern.
RB: And you ended up moneyed and comfortable whilst I died most uncomfortable. It’s very hard, even here, to think charitably about the doctor who prescribed for me a swim in the freezing Irish sea to cure myself of whatever ailed me, thereby hastening the end of my life!
WS: Undestandable.
RB: You were the better businessman, William. I seldom had much money. Oftentimes I had none. Laughs. But even though it many times worried me I never felt like a poor man. Hungry yes, harassed yes. But poor? Never. A man’s a man for all that.
WS: Is there for honest Poverty / That hangs his head, and all that; / The coward slave - we pass him by, / We dare be poor for all that! / For all that, and all that. / Our toils obscure and all that, / The rank is but society’s stamp, / The Man's the gold for all that.
RB: That’s it. Pity about my last verse, though. Then let us pray that come it may, / As come it will for all that, / That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth, / Shall take the prize, and all that. / For all that, and all that, / It's coming yet for all that, / That Man to Man, the world o'er, / Shall brothers be for all that. Shakes his head, sighs. Never, never did that come to be.
WS: Perhaps whilst on Earth I knew more about humankind, and yet it was you who hoped more for humankind than did I. Me, I spent my life in pursuit of money and position but I also came to an undignified end, dying of exposure after a night out in an alehouse. I blame my old compatriot of the theatre Ben Johnson for that last and fatal excess. Found dead in a ditch! How inglorious. Not exactly any flights of angels taking me to my rest. And yet now I find myself here with you, knowing not anything of the how or the why.
RB: William Shakespeare, man of mystery! But it was that same Johnson who wrote your epitaph: Not for our time but for all time. I suppose all’s well that ends well.
WS: One of these days we’ll have to write something together. Play, poem and song all in one. By Robert Shakespeare and William Burns. The two of us with anyone else here who may enjoy the making of it. Come, let’s go find some of the others. (Calls out) Why don’t you come with us, Ophelia. No need to bother with the dress.
The three of them wander off across the meadow and into the trees, singing together, Should old acquaintance be forgot, And never …but there are no crossed arms. The sun has not moved in the sky, nor will it move unless or until they want it to move above this far away land where the trees never shed their leaves and the birds never cease to sing and where there aren’t any noxious people

message 7: by Jenetta (new)

Jenetta Haim Love #ShakespeareWeek. Been reading Shakespeare since age 10. Still teach it in my spare time. What great works. Often used the quote in my life: 'To be or not to be, that is the question'. Now how does that fit with my page? well I guess I been asking that question all my life. When making decisions, when moving forward in life and I ask my clients to do the same. Don't procrastinate. Decide. Just do it!

message 8: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Richmond Just for fun I can't resist suggesting a very different reading of "To be or not top be " - don't rush at things! See the discussion at:

message 9: by Jenetta (new)

Jenetta Haim Thanks Hugh. Indeed....interesting :)

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