Friday, August 18, 2006

Studying Shakespeare

I want to get to know this author. The story is told that when the early American pioneers headed West, they took only their most valuable belongings. That included books. Sometimes they would only have room for three: The Bible, The Pilgrim's Progress, and the Works of Shakespeare.

The Bible I have grown up studying. It is a never-ending source of joy and direction. Because it is the living word of God, it never grows old.

The Pilgrim's Progress was one of my favorite childhood adventure stories.

But Shakespeare? He's so hard to read! And when I do, I get bogged down in the dialogue and unfamiliar words. I have seen glimpses of beauty...but they are rare.

That is why I bought Peter Leithart's study guide, Brightest Heaven of Invention. With this in hand, I hope my appreciation of this playwright will increase by leaps and bounds. I get excited just flipping through the book, reading the Christian commentary and anticipating the different writing projects I'll try.

I think I'll start with the Taming of the Shrew. That's a compelling story that I think has some valuable lessons about true femininity imbedded in it.

Have any of my readers "gone before" me on this journey? Do you have any tips or resources to share? Please do!


Lydia H. said...

I have a copy of The Mechant of Venice written with many side notes and hints for what Shakespeare was trying to convey. I read it in highschool and greatly enjoyed it. Let me know if you would like to borrow it sometime. :)

natalie said...

I love Shakespeare! We have "Brightest Heaven of Invention" and it's a great resource. I really enjoy watching Shakespeare performed on stage and usually like to read the play and commentary ahead of time to familiarize myself with the story.

"Taming of the Shrew" is probably my favorite so far. I've mostly read and seen the comedies, but I'd really like to see some of the tragedies performed someday. Usually at least one of the local colleges does a Shakespeare performance each year, so that's a great (and relatively inexpensive) way to take in a performance, if you're interested in doing so.

I'll look forward to reading your thoughts as you read Taming of the Shrew.