Welcome to this new season of The Literary Life podcast! During the month of January 2024, we will be re-airing our series of episodes on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
This week we bring you an introduction both to William Shakespeare and his play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Hosts Angelina, Cindy and Thomas seek to give new Shakespeare readers a place from which to jump into his work and more experienced readers eyes to see more layers in his stories. Cindy begins with some perspective on how to start cultivating a love for Shakespeare. Angelina shares her “hot take” on whether you should read the play or watch the play. They suggest some books for further digging into Shakespeare’s works, and Angelina gives an overview of the format of his comedies. Thomas goes into some detail about Roman comedy.
Next week we will be back with a discussion of Acts I and II of the play.
Even though the spring 2022 Literary Life Conference “The Battle Over Children’s Literature” featuring special guest speaker Vigen Guroian is over, you can still purchase the recordings at HouseofHumaneLetters.com.
To sign up for Thomas Banks and Anne Phillips’ webinar on Herodotus on January 30, 2024, head over to HouseofHumaneLetters.com/webinars.
Listen to The Literary Life:
If certain tendencies within our civilization were to proceed unchecked, they would rapidly take us towards a society which, like that of a prison, would be both completely introverted and completely without privacy. The last stand of privacy has always been, traditionally, the inner mind….It is quite possible, however, for communications media, especially the newer electronic ones, to break down the associative structures of the inner mind and replace them by the prefabricated structures of the media . A society entirely controlled by their slogans and exhortations would be introverted because nobody would be saying anything: there would only be echo, and Echo was the mistress of Narcissus….the triumph of communication is the death of communication: where communication forms a total environment, there is nothing to be communicated.Northrop Frye
No writer can persist for five hundred pages in being funny at the expense of someone who is dead.Harold Nicolson
Originality was a new and somewhat ugly idol of the nineteenth century.Janet Spens
by Siegfried Sassoon
To see with different eyes
From every day,
And find in dream disguise
Worlds far away—
To walk in childhood’s land
With trusting looks,
And oldly understand
Thus our unwisdom brings
Release which hears
The bird that sings
In groves beyond the years.
Amazon affiliate links
“The Practice of Biography” by Harold Nicolson
The Modern Century by Northrop Frye
An Essay on Shakespeare’s Relation to Tradition by Janet Spens
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
Tales from Shakespeare by Marcia Williams
Leon Garfield’s Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield
Stories from Shakespeare by Marchette Chute
Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare by Isaac Asimov
The Meaning of Shakespeare by Harold Goddard
The Elizabethan World Picture by E. M. Tillyard
Shakespeare’s Problem Plays by E. M. Tillyard
Shakespeare’s Early Comedies by E. M. Tillyard
Shakespeare’s History Plays by E. M. Tillyard
Great Stage of Fools by Peter Leithart
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