Thursday, April 30, 2009

1600 to 1699: The Lady of Pleasure -- Wonder Working Magician

James Shirley. British. 1635. Play. The Lady of Pleasure. Taming an extravagant wife by imitating her behavior.

Calderon. Spanish. 1636. Play. Life Is a Dream. One of the outstanding Spanish dramas of all time. Explores the mysteries of human destiny, the illusory nature of mundane existence. Conflict between predestination and will. Sigismundo learns that all life is a dream and that virtue and nobility give meaning to the dream.

Corneille. French. 1637. Play. Le Cid. Marks the beginning of the modern French drama. Compressed the original material into a swiftly moving play. Argued with and reconciled with Alfonso VI. Exiled. Fought both for and against Moorish rulers. Defeat of the Count of Barcelona. Capture of Valencia. Reconciled with the king. Revenge on his sons-in-law who mistreated his daughters after they were married.

John Milton. Britain. 1637. Poetry. Elegy. Lycidas. Commemorates the death of Edward King, a Cambridge schoolmate. Deals with a world in which the good die young and false priests and poets prevail. Ultimately, God’s justice will prevail on earth. Virtue is rewarded in heaven. True genius is interconnected and immortal. A poem of self-renewal and dedication to a great work ahead.

Calderon. Spanish. 1637. Play. The Wonder-Working Magician (El Magico Prodigioso). Reminiscent of the Faust legend. Pagan makes pact with the devil to gain the love of a Christian. The devil tempts her in vain. The pagan admires her virtue and becomes a Christian. Both are martyred at the hands of the Roman governor.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

1600 to 1699: "Go and Catch a Falling Star" to Medee (Medea)

John Donne. British. 1633. Poetry. “Go and Catch a Falling Star.” Series of impossible feats is less difficult than the task of finding a woman “true and faire.”

John Donne. British. 1633. Poetry. “Twicknam Garden.” The paradoxes of fidelity and falseness in love. Intensity of feeling.

John Fletcher. British. 1634. Play. The Two Noble Kinsmen. Palamon and Arcite—the same as Chaucer’s “Knight’s Tale.” Two friends vie for the same girl. Duel. Winner gets the girl; loser to be executed. Arcite wins, falls from horse; before dying, gives girl to Palamon.

John Milton. British. 1634. Masque. Comus. Theme: struggle between chaste temperance and sensual pleasure with both causes eloquently represented.

Pierre Corneille. French. 1635. Play. Medee (Medea). First tragedy by Corneille; Medea’s bloody vengeance on the faithless Jason.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1600 to 1699: La Dorotea to The Temple

Lope de Vega. Spanish. 1632. Romance. La Dorotea. In dialogue. Partly autobiographical, based on actress Elena Osorio with whom Lope had had an affair.

John Milton. British. 1632. Poetry. “Il Penseroso.” The pleasures of melancholy, contemplation, solitude and study.

John Donne. British. 1633. Poetry. “The Canonization.” The love between him and his mistress is deep and unworldly. They are saints of love. Vehemently colloquial and full of conceits.

George Herbert. British. 1633. Poetry. “The Collar.” Rebels against the profitless service of God. Abruptly, totally reconciled. The collar = the clerical collar.

George Herbert. British. 1633. Poetry. The Temple. Collection of 160 religious poems.

Monday, April 27, 2009

1600 to 1699: 'Tis Pity She's a Whore to Libertine of Seville.

John Ford. British. 1627. Play. Tis Pity She’s a Whore. Fatal attraction for his sister whom he impregnates. She tries to cover up by marrying someone else. The would-be husband plans to tell all. The brother kills his sister to save her honor and kills the would-be husband whose followers then kill him.

Francisco de Quevedo. Spanish. 1627. Satires. Los Suenas. Description of the author’s visit to Hell. Caricature of men and institutions.

Francis Bacon. British. 1627. Fable. The New Atlantis. Voyage to the island of “Bensalem.” “Solomon House” becomes the model for the Royal Society.

Pedro Calderon. Spanish. 1629. Play. El Medico de su honra (The Physician of His Own Honor). Wife tries to dissuade the attentions of a prince whom she loves. The husband feels his honor is besmirched. He has her bled to death by a surgeon, which is accepted by the king as within the code of honor.

Tirso de Molina. Spanish. 1630. Play. Libertine of Seville and the Stone Guest (Don Juan). Don Juan ignores honor and seeks only pleasure. The morality of the Middle Ages vs. Renaissance libertinism. Introduced Don Juan. He kills his lover’s father. The statue of the father strangles him.

Friday, April 24, 2009

1600 to 1699: Mourt's Relation to Bacon's Essays.

Mourt. (Author of the Preface). American. 1622. Narrative. Mourt’s Relation. Earliest narrative of the Plymouth pilgrims. Letters from the colonists. William Bradford’s journal.

Thomas Middleton and William Rowley. British. 1623. Play. The Changeling. Young noblewoman arranges the murder of her betrothed because she is in love with another. The killer, her ugly servant, claims her as his mistress lest he tell all. She marries the man she loves, but substitutes her virgin servant girl in the marriage bed because she is afraid she will be found not to be a virgin. Confronted with the truth, her husband kills both her and the killer who had claimed her as his mistress.

John Donne. British. 1624. Meditation. Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. Series of meditations on the variable, therefore, miserable, condition of man. Metaphorical and complex. Contains “No Man Is An Island.”

Philip Massinger. British. 1625. Play. A New Way to Pay Old Debts. Avaricious Sir Giles Overreach manipulates lives and eventually loses his mind.

Francis Bacon. British. 1625. Essays. The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral. On personal and public conduct. Philosophical, religious witty, pithy and metaphorical. Highly original style. Contains the famous essay, "On Studies." Some books are to be tasted, some to be swallowed and some few to be read thoroughly and carefully.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Topic: Purpose of This Blog

I want to explain the purpose of this blog.

Make no mistake. Becoming an English major is a business. As much information as you can gather will put you ahead of the pack—of other English majors. You have no time to “sit down and read a good book.” Becoming an English teacher at the high school or college levels is a competitive business. The more you know about teaching writing, grammar, vocabulary, speaking and literature will give you an advantage in your interview.

With regard to literature: I remember one of my English professors telling me and my fellow English majors that in the “old days,” people who majored in English had read all of the works that we were reading now for the first time—before they majored in English.

In a sense, this blog, “10-Second Lit,” is one step in preparing to achieve the same background as former, better-read English majors. In one place I have assembled brief reviews of major literary works in chronological order. I don’t know if such a compilation exists, but it certainly didn’t when I started out as an English major. That is why I compiled it. Thus, you will have a capsule version of just about every major literary work. Sure, the snippets I give you don’t tell you very much, but they are intended to give you the essence of the works in a sentence or two.

Your next step would be to read the much lengthier summaries in Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, the Oxford Companions, etc. and, finally, to read the works themselves as part of your English program. Your final step will be to read the literary critics.

There’s so much literary criticism, how do you read all of those articles and books? You don’t read everything, that’s for sure. In articles, read the first and last paragraph. If you have questions, read the first sentence of each intermediate paragraph. Rarely will you need to read the entire article.

Books? Read the foreword or preface to gain the main idea of the critic’s point of view. Read the first and last paragraphs of each chapter to gain important details of that main idea. Raise questions and read the first sentence of each intermediate paragraph in chapters that have struck you as of greatest importance.

Sometimes, reading the preface or foreword will be all you need to read. Sometimes the first and last paragraphs of each chapter will be all you need to read. Sometimes you will need to read the first sentence of every paragraph in a chapter, while continuing to read if you are caught by the idea. Sometimes—but rarely—you will need to read the entire book.

Want to be a successful English major? I’ve just told you how, beginning with this “overview” of literature in this blog that gives you the background of the development of literary works from the ancients to the 21st century. I’ve told you what no one ever told me about succeeding as an English major.

And then, there is teaching writing, grammar, vocabulary and speaking. Becoming an English major is a business.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

1600 to 1699: Fuenteovejuna to The Wild Goose Chase.

Lope de Vega. Spanish. 1619. Play. Fuenteovejuna. Lascivious officer violates a peasant girl. The town rises up to kill him. It is asserted that the town, not individuals, killed him.

Francis Bacon. British. 1620. Nonfiction. Novum Organum. In Latin. Statement of the inductive methods. Results of experience studied. General conclusion reached. Different from the syllogistic method.

Lope de Vega. Spanish. 1620.Play. El major alcalde el rey (The King, the Greatest Alcalde). Feudal lord steals the loved one of a peasant. The king supports the peasant and the lord is executed.

Robert Burton. British. 1621. Nonfiction. The Anatomy of Melancholy. Organized as a medical treatise. Morbid mental states. Notable utterances on the human condition. From Milton onward, pillaged by authors.

John Fletcher. British. 1621. Play. The Wild Goose Chase. Beautiful woman resorts to several ruses in order to gain the love of the rakish Mirabel.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

1600 to 1699: Donne, The Anniversaries to Novelas Ejemplares

John Donne. British. 1612. Poetry. The Anniversaries: Of the Progresse of the Soule. Concerned with the themes of intellectual disorder and temporal decay.

John Webster. British. 1612. Play. The White Devil, or Victoria Corombona. Husband killed so that she might marry duke of Bracciano. Revenge for his death.

John Webster. British. 1613. Play. The Duchess of Malfi. Disastrous marriage of noblewoman and commoner. Her lovers and her children all die.

Shakespeare. British. 1613. Play. The Famous History of the Life of King Henry VIII. Henry’s desire to wed Anne Boleyn. Wolsey tries to prevent the marriage and dies. Cranmer annuls the marriage to Katharine.

Cervantes. Spanish. 1613. Stories. Novelas Ejemplares (Exemplary Novels). Stories dealing with the author’s personal experience and practical philosophy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

1600 to 1699: Jonson, Alchemist to Shakespeare, Winter's Tale

Ben Jonson. British. 1610. Play. The Alchemist. Subtle, clever quack and his whorish colleague Doll Common set up in the house of Lovewit with the servant, Jeremy Face. They trick a series of gullible scoundrel. Lovewit returns and routs the quacks. He takes their gains.

Shakespeare. British. 1611. Play. The Tempest. Prospero, a magician and philosopher, reigns over an enchanted island with his daughter. A magic-induced storm capsizes a boat and brings his former enemies to the island. The son of Alonso, an enemy, thought to be drowned, is on the other side of the island where he meets and falls in love with Prospero’s daughter. Led by Ariel’s music, Alonso searches for his son, finds him and blesses the union with Prospero’s daughter. Prospero frees Ariel from his spell and renounces magic. He is restored to his dukedom.

John Donne. British. 1611. Poetry. The Anniversaries: An Anatomy of the World. Concerned with the themes of intellectual disorder and temporal decay.

Beaumont and Fletcher. British. 1611. Play. The Maid’s Tragedy. A soap opera plot begun by the order of the king that Amintor is to marry Evadne who is mistress of the king.

Shakespeare. British. 1611. Play. The Winter’s Tale. The king, jealous of a friend who apparently is attractive to his queen, orders him killed. He escapes. The king throws his wife into prison. She reportedly dies. His daughter is put on a deserted shore where she is saved by a shepherd. When she grows up she falls in love with the son of the guest who the king thought was attractive to his wife. The king now mourns the loss of his queen. Shown a perfect statue of the queen, it turns out to be the queen, not dead but hiding.

1600 to 1699: Jonosn, The

Friday, April 17, 2009

1600 to 1609: Shakespeare, Pericles, Prince of Tyre to Shakespeare, Cymbeline

Shakespeare. British. 1608. Play. Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Marital misadventures. Loses wife and child then reunited with his wife and child. Bourgeois romance. Hilarious.

Ben Jonson. British. 1609. Play. Epicene, or The Silent Woman. Morose tries to disinherit his nephew, Sir Dauphine. He marries the “silent” Epicene who turns into a raging shrew. He begs Sir Dauphine to take her off his hands. The nephew reveals that the “wife” is a boy he has trained.

Beaumont and Fletcher. British. 1609. Play. Philaster, or Love Lies A-Bleeding. Arethusa in love with Philaster is saved from marriage to a lecher.

Shakespeare. British. 1609. Poetry. The Sonnets of Shakespeare. Composed between 1593 and 1601. Three quatrains and a couplet. Numbers 1 – 126 addressed to a beloved male friend. Numbers 127-152 to the malign, but fascinating “Dark Lady.” Numbers 153-154 probably early poetic exercises. Themes: decay by time and the immortalization of beauty and love in poetry.

Shakespeare. British. 1610. Play. Cymbeline. Iachamo bets husband that he can seduce Imogen. Produces “proof” through subterfuge. Ends happily.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

1600 to 1699: Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra to Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

Shakespeare. British. 1607. Play. Antony and Cleopatra. Antony succumbs to a life of sensual pleasure with Cleopatra. Defeated, thinking that Cleopatra is dead, Antony falls on his sword. To avoid Octavius’s leading her through Rome, Cleopatra applies an asp to her bosom. They share a last kiss and then both die.

Cyril Tourneur. British. 1607. Play. The Revenger’s Tragedy. Incredible degeneracy of the duke and his court. Senecan tragedy.

Francis Beaumont. British. 1607. Play. The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Play is interrupted by a grocer who inserts scenes and comments on the action.

Jean de Schelander. French. 1608. Play. Tyre and Sidon. Setting is Phoenicia. Lovers from either side of the war. Tragic ending is later rewritten. In a preface to the revised play, a cleric defends the mixture of comic and tragic elements.

Shakespeare. British. 1608. Play. The Tragedy of Coriolanus. Angered by the fickleness of the masses, Coriolanus joins the Volscians to besiege Rome. After pleas from his mother and wife, he raises the siege. When he tries to explain his actions to the Volscians, he is murdered.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

1600 to 1699. Cervantes, Don Quixote to Shakespeare, Timon of Athens

Miguel d Cervantes. Spanish. 1605/15. Novel. Don Quixote. His mind crazed by reading romances of chivalry, Don Quixote believes himself called upon to redress the wrongs of the world. Alonso Quijano takes the name of Don Quixote whose bony nag is Rocinante. Aldonza Lorenzo, a peasant girl, he names Dulcinea. He is joined by Sancho Panza and his ass Dapple.

Is it an ironic story of an idealist frustrated and mocked in a materialistic world? Is it a veiled attack on the Catholic church? Whatever it is, it’s a panoramic view of 17th-century Spanish society. Does the contrast between Don Quixote, visionary idealist, and Sancho Panza, practical realist, illustrate the duality of Spanish character?

Ben Jonson. British. 1606. Play. Volpone, or The Fox. Childless, avaricious Venetian nobleman pretends to be dying to pique the expectations of those who aspire to inherit his fortune. Characters have names meaning birds and animals. When the word comes that he is dying, they rush to him with rich gifts to assure their inheritance. About to be outwitted by his servant, Volpone reveals the whole plot in court.

Shakespeare. British. 1606. Play. Macbeth. Shakespeare’s shortest play. A study in fear. Prophecy kindles Macbeth’s ambition to be king. He kills King Duncan. He tries to avoid the second part of the prophecy by murdering Banquo, Lady Macduff and her children.

Lady Macbeth commits suicide. Macduff kills Macbeth. Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene in Act 5 is one of the most famous in Shakespeare. The real Macbeth (d.1058) killed Duncan, seized the throne, and was overthrown by Malcolm, Duncan’s son 17 years later.

Thomas Middleton. British. 1606. Play. A Trick to Catch the Old One. A penniless rake borrows money to further his suit of a wealthy widow who is really only a courtesan in disguise.

Shakespeare. British. 1607. Play. Timon of Athens. Timon, deserted by friends in time of trouble, turns against Athens. He finds gold in a cave. He plots against the Athenians with Alcibiades, who negotiates with the Athenians on his behalf. But Timon dies without hearing about this, still inveighing against mankind. Shakespeare wrote probably only part of this play.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

1600 to 1699: Chapman, Bussy D'Ambois to Bacon, The Advancement of Learning

George Chapman. British. 1604. Play. Bussy D’Ambois. Poor countryman rivals a noble for a lady’s affections. He succeeds, but is lured to his death.

Shakespeare. British. 1604. Play. Measure for Measure. Tyrant who rules by the letter of the law is caught breaking the law himself.

Thomas Dekker. British. 1604/5. Play. The Honest Whore, Parts I and II. When his lover is sent to a convent, Hippolito is taken to Bellafont, a courtesan whose advances he resists. She reforms, but he is reunited with his lover. Subplot: Candido, a linen draper perturbed by nothing, is put into an institution by his wife. In Part II, the characters change personalities. The husband of Bellafonte tries to force her into prostitution and Hippolito tries to force his attentions on the now honest whore Bellafonte.

Shakespeare. British. 1605. Play. King Lear. Lear divides his kingdom between his daughters Goneril and Regan who profess their love for him. Cordelia who is honest in saying she loves him simply because he is her father he disowns. Goneril and Regan reduce Lear to madness. Cordelia, who truly loves him, is reunited with him, but she is executed. Lear dies soon after. He was blind to the false love of Goneril and Regan and to the true love of Cordelia.

Francis Bacon. British. 1605. Nonfiction. The Advancement of Learning. Extols the pursuit of learning. Critically surveys the existing state of knowledge.

Monday, April 13, 2009

1600 to 1699: Jonson, Poetaster to Marston, Dutch Courtezan.

Ben Jonson. British. 1601. Play. The Poetaster. Satire attacks Thomas Dekker and John Marston.

Shakespeare. British. 1602. Play. All’s Well That Ends Well. Bertram will not marry Helena. She substitutes for his lover. She gains his ring and conceives his child.

Thomas Heywood. British. 1603. Play. A Woman Killed with Kindness. Husband invites his charming friend into his house. The latter promptly seduces the wife. Banished, the wife pines away and is reconciled to her husband on her deathbed.

Shakespeare. British. 1604. Play. Othello, the Moor of Venice. Made jealous by Iago, Othello strangles his wife Desdemona. Iago’s wife reveals his treachery. Othello commits suicide: “I loved not wisely but too well.”

John Marston. British. 1604. Play. The Dutch Courtezan. Freevil leaves a courtesan for Beatrice. The courtesan arranges his death. The hired killer and Freevil stage his death. The courtesan betrays the hired killer to authorities. Freevil reappears to forestall his execution.

Friday, April 10, 2009

1600 to 1699: Shakespeare, Twelfth Night to Shakespeare, Hamlet.

Shakespeare. British. 1600. Play. Twelfth Night; or What You Will. Plot hinges on the physical likeness between brother and sister who become separated. Low comedy involves Maria, Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Malvolio.

Anonymous. British. 1600. Poetry Anthology. England’s Helicon. Collection of poetry published in Elizabethan period. Limited to pastoral poetry.

Shakespeare. 1601. Poetry. The Phoenix and the Turtle. Provokes speculation about its merit and meaning.

Shakespeare. British. 1601. Play. Troilus and Cressida. Troilus pursues Cressida; they consummate their love. She is unfaithful with Diomedes who has taken her back to her father who went over to the Greeks. When Patroclus is killed, Achilles kills Hector, Troilus’s older brother. Troilus leads the Trojans back to the city.

Shakespeare. British. 1601. Play. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. His father’s ghost demands revenge, but Hamlet is unable to act, beset by doubts. Hamlet is thoughtful, not active. Preoccupation with consequences of his actions: “The first modern man.” He is finally swept to revenge by events.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

1500 to 1599: King Henry V to Crabbed Age and Youth

Shakespeare. British. 1598/99. Play. The Life of King Henry V. Henry wins the battle Agincourt in 1415. He wins Catherine of Valois and is recognized as the heir of the French throne.

Shakespeare. British. 1599. Play. Julius Caesar. Conspiracy against Julius Caesar in which he is assassinated. Defeat of the conspirators by Antony and Octavius Caesar. The key is Antony’s speech in which he pretends to be a friend of the conspirators but turns the crowd against them.

Thomas Dekker. British. 1599. Play. Old Fortunatus. The goddess Fortune offers a beggar inexhaustible riches. They bring nothing but trouble.

Anonymous. British. 1599. Poetry. Crabbed Age and Youth. Series of antitheses between youth and age.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

1500 to 1599: Henry IV: Part II to The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Shakespeare. British. 1597/98. Play. Henry IV: Part II. Rebels, promised redressed grievances if they will disband, are killed by John of Lancaster, the king’s second son. Hal is named king. He repudiates Falstaff and his misspent youth.

Shakespeare. British. 1598. Play. Titus Andronicus. Based on Senecan models. Human sacrifice, rape, mayhem, tongue cut out, hands cut off. Everyone kills everyone else. The survivor is proclaimed emperor.

Shakespeare. British. 1598. Play. Much Ado about Nothing. Conspiracy against Claudio. Attempt to discredit his betrothed. The warring Beatrice and Benedick become betrothed through the schemes of their friends.

Henry IV of France. French. 1598. Decree. Edict of Nantes. Decree establishing limited religious toleration in France. Revoked in 1685.

Shakespeare. British. 1598. Play. The Merry Wives of Windsor. Falstaff tries to seduce two wealthy wives and they have great fun at his expense.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

1500 to 1599: Sir Thomas More to Henry IV: Part I.

Anthony Monday. British. 1595. Play. Sir Thomas More. Significant episodes in the life of Thomas More. Partly rewritten by Shakespeare?

Edmund Spenser. British. 1595. Poetry. Colin Clouts Come Home Againe. Allegorical. Pastoral. Journey with Shepherd of Ocean, Raleigh, to the land of the shepherdess, Cynthia, Queen Elizabeth.

Shakespeare. British. 1596. Play. Romeo and Juliet. Lovers victims of deadly feud between their families, the Montagues and the Capulets.

Richard Johnson. British. 1596. Romance. The Famous History of the Seven Champions of Christendom. National patron saints of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Spain and Italy.

Shakespeare. British. 1597/98. Play. Henry IV: Part I. Hotspur, Prince Hal and Falstaff. Hal defeats the rebels and kills Hotspur, saving his father’s life.

Monday, April 6, 2009

1500 to 1599: Love's Labour's Lost to Richard II

Shakespeare. British. 1594. Play. Love’s Labour’s Lost. Males eschew women to study. Four ladies tempt them. They capitulate, but the ladies must leave and exact penances.

Shakespeare. British. 1595. Play. The Life and Death of King John. Efforts of weak, despicable King John to fend off the royal claims of Arthur, duke of Brittany. He alienates the nobility. He runs afoul of the Pope. He is poisoned, and his son, Henry III, becomes king.

Edmund Spenser. British. 1595. Poetry. Epithalamion. (Celebrate marriage). Written to celebrate his marriage. His highest poetic achievement.

Shakespeare. British. 1595. Play. The Merchant of Venice. Shylock can have his pound of flesh, but he cannot take any blood with it. Portia, Bassanio and Antonio.

Shakespeare. British. 1595. Play. The Tragedy of Richard II. Richard II is murdered by Bolingbroke, who becomes Henry IV.

Friday, April 3, 2009

1500 to 1599: Phoenix Nest to Comedy of Errors

R.S. British. 1593. Poetry. The Phoenix Nest. One of the finest Elizabethan collections of poetry.

Robert Southwell. British. 1593. Poetry. The Burning Babe. Poet has vision of suffering infant Christ on Christmas Day.

Shakespeare. British. 1594. Play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Fairy Puck’s juice makes people love the first object they see on awakening. Many merry mixups with pairs of lovers.

Shakespeare. British. 1594. Play. The Tragedy of King Richard III. Richard exterminates all who in any way obstructs his succession to the throne.

Shakespeare. British. 1594. Play. The Comedy of Errors. Identical twins both named Antipholus with identical twin servants, both named Dromio. Separated. Mixup.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

1500 to 1599: Faerie Queen to Taming of the Shrew

Edmund Spenser. British. 1590/96. Poetry. The Faerie Queen. Spiritual allegory of man’s quest for salvation. Quest motif. Each leading knight represents a particular virtue: Holiness, Temperance, Chastity, Friendship, Justice and Courtesy.

Shakespeare. British. 1590-1600? Play. As You Like It. Duke Frederick vs. wicked brother Oliver. Duke banished to the forest. Rosalind disguised as Ganymede is wooed by Phebe. Rosalind eventually marries Orlando.

Shakespeare. British. 1592. Play. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Two former friends vie for the same girl. Proteus uses some dirty tricks to gain this end. Valentine wins her in the end and Proteus marries his former girl friend.

Robert Greene. British. 1592. Pamphlet. A Groatsworth of Wit Bought with a Million of Repentance. Reference to Shakespeare: “Upstart crow….”; “Shake-scene.” Written while dying. A repentance tract. warning to fellow playwrights to eschew evil and avoid his bitter end.

Shakespeare. British. 1593. Play. The Taming of the Shrew. Younger daughter cannot be wed until older, violent, shrewish sister is married. Petruchio tames her by his own high-handed behavior after marrying her.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

1500 to 1599: The Jew of Malta to King Henry VI, Part III

Christopher Marlowe. British. 1589. Play. The Jew of Malta. Barabas degenerates from longing for power and the ability to express desire in stirring poetry to a caricature of the grasping, greedy Jew dominated by desire for gold. Commits atrocities and dies atrociously.

Giambattista Guarini. Italian. 1590. Play. The Faithful Shepherd. Tragic plot with happy ending. Goddess Diana sets terms for placating her anger.

Shakespeare. British. 1590/92. Play. Henry VI: Part I. Early years of Henry’s reign to his marriage to Margaret of Anjou. Beginning of the Wars of the Roses.

Shakespeare. British. 1590/92. Play. Henry VI: Part II. Early years of the Wars of the Roses. Henry dominated by Margaret of Anjou.

Shakespeare. British. 1590/92. Play. Henry VI: Part III. Downfall of Henry VI; victory of the House of York and Edward IV. Edward vs. Margaret of Anjou, Henry’s queen.