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Group Readings > To the King's Men [and Women]

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message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom Lane | 84 comments Hail, fellow literati. I would like to introduce myself, as I prep up for my first outing as a discussion leader, for our next selection, "The Tempest."
My first real encounter with Shakespeare was playing Tybalt (and dying) in a junior high production of - well, you know. I began to most appreciate the canon many years later, when Shakespeare came up in my British and American literature courses in China. I relish the summer seasons of Shakespeare in the Chicago area parks. Besides the Navy Pier outfit's lavish productions, I like the intimacy of the offerings of the smaller troupes such as the Shakespeare Project, Midsommer Flight, and Muse of Fire. As I hear of these performances, I will alert the group. It would be a delight if some of us in Chicago, Evanston, and nearby environs can meet to view them and discuss afterward.
I came aboard the Goodreads group when you were well into "Cymbeline." Since I hadn't read it, I hurriedly did so, but too late to participate with proper reflection in the online discussions. Don't bother with the 2015 film version, in which Cymbeline is portrayed as a biker-gang drug kingpin, and the Romans are the police to whom the expected "tribute" is protection money. It was unworthy of the talents of Ethan Hawke and Ed Harris. The "Fear no more the heat o' the sun" oration is quoted at a burial by the protagonist in the 2004 direct-to-DVD Western-horror-comedy flick, "Tremors 4: The Legend Begins." The Wikipedia page for the play misses this in its list of pop culture allusions to "Cymbeline." (Isn't being a geek totally fun?)
A good read is Paul Collins, "The Book of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered the World" (New York: Bloomsbury, 2009). In lively style, Collins tells the story of how Shakespeare's plays, composed for performance rather than reading, may have perished with the last of his company of actors, had not two of them arranged for the plays' collection and printing.
The photo accompanying my Goodreads profile, by the way, was taken at the Swedenborg Library, situated on the 17th floor of the First United Methodist Church building in downtown Chicago, across from Daley Plaza. This small library specializes in the works of late 17th century Swedish Enlightenment scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, and associated subject matter, in books, videos, and audio: Classical civilizations and ancient texts, metaphysics, Enlightenment thought, and all things Chicago - since Daniel Burnham was a Swedenborgian. (As was Helen Keller and Johnny Appleseed. There are also copious Swedenborg references in Emerson, Thoreau, and William James.) I help plan and produce - meaning move chairs and lay out the snacks for - lectures and author events there. In the pic, you see me in Chinese formal suit.


message 2: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Hi Tom!

What an outstanding introduction you have provided us. I'm quite humbled as I always wish and think "gee why don't we have have an 'introduce yourself' thread?" going here....but I don't make one and we sort of find ways to get to know each other here ....however this post of yours comes as a real nice kick in the butt and woke me up this morning!

Good to see you here and I feel like you are going to fit in and enjoy the other readers here. This group has given my life a deeper meaning and I am grateful for the motivations to keep visiting...and re-visiting these plays.

I love the idea of a "real life" get together. I hope some midwest readers might pipe in and come out from lurking...although of course lurkers are welcome. Sometimes life is too busy and stressful to find time to talk. I get it!

I have yet to make it to the Swedenborg Library but you have inspired me to make more effort. I'll try near the end of the month.

I've got an insane week of work coming up...I work at an Italian American restaurant and we have a street festival coming up on Father's Day Weekend.

See you in the discussion threads! And don't forget to check out our weekly random sonnet posts!

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