Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shakespeare's Histories

Shakespeare's Histories are an odd category; they don't encompass all of the Shakespearean plays that are from historical events. I prefer to think of them as "Shakespeare's modern history", since they are events whose effects still mattered in Shakespeare's time.

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If you want to hear more of Tom's Shakespeare recordings, here's one to start off with!


  1. Thanks, guys! Always look forward to listening to your podcast! Whoo! To be honest, I know Shakespeare well enough that there's not much *new* that I learn from listening, but your podcasts are so genial and relaxed and funny that it's like sitting down with friends and chatting about something we all enjoy; and often your 'take' on things gives me something new to think about. Never heard of the troll patent thing before - what a weird world we live in. Enjoyed the History Plays overview, a quick stroll for those not familiar with this somewhat sidelined area of Shakespeare oeuvre - recently purchased DVDs sets of the two BBC Henriad series: "The Age Of Shakespeare" and the "Hollow Crown" series, but admit they don't hold the same appeal for as the tragedies/comedies/romances. Too much "court politics" and not enough red meat. LOVE that you're tackling "Taming of the Shrew" next! (and with an all-male cast (!!!)) The ending speech that you refer to can be played many different ways, depending on the director's take, so I'll be interested to hear your report on the production you see. Again, thanks for taking the time and effort to share your love of 'da Bard' with us.

  2. Hey guys,
    I absolutely love listing to your podcast! I listen in via iTunes since the internet here is kind of sketchy. I am an American, teaching English in China for a year and I love Shakespeare. The bad thing, the people on my team do not appreciate the Bard. Thank goodness I found your podcast on iTunes. Your podcast is so relaxed and conversational, it is like I am sitting in on my friends having a discussion. Basically, it gets me my Shakespeare fix along with Libravox( I have mixed feelings about it, but hey, it is free and the best I have here).
    I am so excited you are doing "Taming of the Shrew". Next to "Much Ado About Nothing", it is my favorite play.
    Keep up the good work guys and thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi, we're just about to record our episode, and I'm very curious as to why Taming is you favorite. We'd be glad to talk about it on the cast!

    2. Hey guys!
      There are many reasons that I love Taming, but the main reason has to be the absurd craziness that goes on in the play. Also, the ending is pretty debatable. Does Kate really submit and love her husband or is she just playing along? And don't even get me started on the many different ways you can read the characters.
      Going back to the craziness. Petruchio goes through all these shenanigans to "break" Kate and Bianca's suitors go through all sorts of nonsense to woo her. I don't know which characters to feel sorry for. Then there is the matter of it being a play within a play! It is just an over all fun story.
      I have watched many versions of this play and have even seen it performed live at the Shakespeare Theater in Chicago on Navy Pier. Seeing different versions is nice because you get another persons' (director's) take on this timeless classic. I look forward to listening in to your podcast.

    3. It's one of my favourites too! I think the interesting parts of it are too often overlooked - have you guys considered the differences between the "first folio" and "bad quarto" editions?

    4. Our thought is that the "bad" one, "The Taming of A Shrew", is probably written by someone else. It seems to different to be just a bad quarto. Unfortunately, since the Folio version is incomplete, if we wanted to do a complete version of Sly's story, we'd have to use the secondhand version from the quarto.

  3. I'm usually not very interested in history, and therefore I "consumed" all the other plays first. When I was watching the first two parts of Henry VI, I had trouble concentrating and just wanted to do something else. But as came to the end of this trilogy, the overarching plot became very clear and I really started enjoying it. Well, your podcast helped a little too. So don't say that nobody is interested in Shakespeare's histories. Even if you are not, you might finally come to enjoy it if you have the necessary background information.

  4. It took me a while to get used to your informal style and now I appreciate it. I decided at 60 years to make an attempt to understand Shakespeare and now having read several of his works and seen a few performed I am uplifted. I enjoyed your summary and comments on Measure for Measure. Keep up the great work.
    Peter (Australia)