fr_defenestrato: (yorick)
I just want to lament, at maximum decibels, that, earlier this week, the Washington Post Excress crossword contained a clue, for a 5-letter word beginning with C, that read, 'Is able to, to Shakespeare'. Working the puzzle further confirmed that they meant 'canst'.



'Canst' is a second-person form: 'My poet, thou canst touch on all the notes...' (E. B. Browning). The clue should have 'Are able to, to Shakespeare'; or, to shorten and simplify, 'Art able to'.

Villains. Dullards. Skalawags.
fr_defenestrato: (polonius)
One must play Polonius not as a dolt or a bumbler, but as the victim of his own undisabusable view of himself as smarter than everybody else around him.

That is all.
fr_defenestrato: (corona)
I had a 9th grade English teacher who bad us forgive Shakespeare the self-aggrandizing ending of Sonnet 18 (which I drove off a cliff yesterday to the delight or dismay of absolutely no one); and indeed all the commentary I've ever heard about this poem and my own general feeling about it all recommend it as an archetypal "poem praising the beauty of the beloved"—as opposed to a "poem praising itself and its creator." But for Pete's sake, LOOK AT IT. Shakespeare spends precisely one line out of fourteen on actual praise or description of the beloved: "Thou are more lovely and more temperate", then goes on for six more lines describing the various meteorological phenomena s/he's more lovely and temperate THAN. Later he grudgingly slips in reference to "the fair thou owest", but that's it: after that she's just a prop for the poet, who unconvincingly argues that the sonnet itself will immortalize the beauty he's spent an underwhelming 11 words describing. Yeah, right, I'm buying that. I'da dumped the bastard.

Oh, what the hell, let's take that again, da capo:

A high school teacher once bad us excuse
The self-congrats with which the Bard concluded
His eighteenth sonnet; and, indeed, enthus-
Iastic fans—my own bad sef included—
All treat it as the template verse for praise
Of one's beloved's beauty, rather than
For self-encomia. But so few ways
Does Will describe this beauty! Yet he can
(And does) spend six discursive lines on weather;
Then grudging reference to "the fair thou owest,"
But that's the lot. Eleven altogether
Pedestrian words on which to build a boast
Of lasting fame. Presented this "romance,"
My eye would shine too hot, and well askance.


fr_defenestrato: (Default)

February 2015

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