Thirty-seven plays in twelve months?

Will a completion of the Complete Works of Shakespeare solve my career crisis?
(SPOILER: The answer is no, not exactly....)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

No treachery; but want of men and money

I headed through the stacks toward 822.33 and found the cutest little blue copies of the plays! The Yale Shakespeare edition, copyright 1918 (third printing 1961) measures 4.5 by 7 inches per play. I checked out Henry VI Parts I, II, and III. They even smell old!

I am going to look just like a medieval abbess reading these! That is, a medieval abbess sitting in a Honda in the parking lot at the manufacturing facility. It’s just too humid for a wimple.

I had to make a chart to keep track of the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster factions. Since this was the first Shakespeare history I had read in its entirety, I was pleased to see Joan of Arc as one of his characters. Why do they keep these secrets from high school students?

Some of my favorite lines include Mortimer’s description of old age and dying (II, 5, 5-15 and IV, 5, 4) and the comment about the French (I’m French, so it’s OK for me to like it!): “Done like a Frenchman: turn, and turn again!” (III, 3, 85).

By the time I finished Part I and picked up Part II, stuff had started to hit the fan at work, and my lunchtime reading time was put on hold. Now I’m behind schedule (at work and on my Shakesyeare project) and on a daily basis feel I could shout,

May never glorious sun reflex his beams
Upon the country where you make abode;
But darkness and the gloomy shade of death
Environ you, till mischief and despair
Drive you to break your necks or hang yourselves!
(V, 4, 87-91)

Yet, I’m pretty sure that would be a violation of our corporate harassment policy.


  1. OMG, if I ever accept another staff position (it's been 10 years, and there's a reason!), I'll tuck that verse in a pocket and use it when I'm ready to bolt, which -- if experience determines pattern -- happens just about the time that COBRA kicks in.

  2. What a great goal you have and what wonderful memories it brings! Junior year at BMC I went abroad to London (my dream!) and wouldn't you know that year the RSC was doing the History plays. I saw all of Henry VI and Richard III at the Young Vic at a steal of a price. Ahhh the time of student discounts and standing at the back of the theater for cheap tickets. At least I got to sit through these plays. :-) They were indescribably brilliant. I actually just pulled out the playbook I kept from all those years ago. That was one of the best times of my life.

    Later, seeing David Oyelowo again in the movie version of As You Like It, sent chills down my spine. One of my favorite quotes is from As You Like It (now I'll have to read the play too! :-) I keep it printed out on my wall at work for inspiration.