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  #51  
Old 05-14-2019, 05:08 PM
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You mean he's STILL here?
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Based largely on my ignorance, it seems like Mr. Middleton was every bit as talented and prolific as Willy S., though perhaps not as consistently first-rate.
(emphasis added) That statement alone is a strong argument for Shakespeare as the GOAT.
  #52  
Old 05-14-2019, 05:14 PM
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Shakespeare fans are much like a cult.
Must be, numbers-wise, the largest cult there is.
  #53  
Old 05-14-2019, 09:00 PM
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Shakespeare fans are much like a cult.
Shakespeare has only fans embroiled in cults?

Last edited by Monty; 05-14-2019 at 09:01 PM.
  #54  
Old 05-14-2019, 09:33 PM
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I would love to bring the man to the modern day, just to see the look on his face when he realized his works were still popular. It would blow him away.
I have mention the Isaac Asimov story The Immortal Bard, in which a scientist transports Shakespeare to modern times. He is amazed at the interpretations placed on his work, saying "God ha' mercy! What cannot be racked from words in five centuries? One could wring, methinks, a flood from a damp clout!" As a final indignity, when he enrolls in a night school class on Shakespeare's plays

SPOILER:
the professor flunks him!


  #55  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:09 PM
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I have mention the Isaac Asimov story The Immortal Bard, in which a scientist transports Shakespeare to modern times. He is amazed at the interpretations placed on his work, saying "God ha' mercy! What cannot be racked from words in five centuries? One could wring, methinks, a flood from a damp clout!" As a final indignity, when he enrolls in a night school class on Shakespeare's plays

SPOILER:
the professor flunks him!


I like to imagine Bill explaining his plays to modern scholars.

"No, that was just a dick joke. Yeah, that one too. Yeah. Dick joke. Another dick joke. That one's actually about boobs..."
  #56  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:21 PM
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Find some youtube videos on Original Pronunciation for Shakespeare, and you'll learn that many of his characters were making quite ribald speeches. For example, in As You Like It, there's a nice speech that these days we think is about time, and it's really a joke about prostitutes.
  #57  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:39 PM
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I hated Shakespeare when in high school. I too wondered what was the big deal. We were poorly taught, only reading the plays, not even out loud. Never saw a performance. One teacher wanted to take us to see the 1968. Whiting/Hussey version, and some parents nixed it because of a brief flash of Romeos butt, and a one-half second flash of Juliets breast.

Then I was house sitting for my grandmother, and for whatever reason sat to watch the BBC production of Measure for Measure. I had never known the plays could be funny, that one could laugh so hard. This is the play that should be used to hook high schoolers. It has illicit sex, trash talk, hidden identities, bad government officials, and, at the end true love and a happy ending! Then I read/viewed other comedies, and re-read the tragedies from high school, gaining a new appreciation for the universal themes they have. Now I love Shakespeare.
An excellent post, Baker, but I would introduce the kids to A Midsummer Night's Dream as their first exposure to the Bard. They'll love Puck and the mechanicals, and anyone from sixth-grade on up will sympathize with the young lovers.
  #58  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:42 PM
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I just remember that there was some author he was a competitor with at the time that sounded similar to me at least.

I don't have time to look it up now. Also I will have to wait till I'm on PC, which may not be for a couple of days.
I daresay you're thinking of Christopher Marlowe.
  #59  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:46 PM
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Jilly Cooper?

The aristos tend to go for non-fiction (see Antonia Fraser and her daughter Flora, for example) in part because they often have unfettered access to private archives for source material and in part because history and biography are much more respectable than fiction.
I've read a couple of Antonia Fraser's mysteries. I'm sure her non-fiction is much better, and I've never read any.
  #60  
Old 05-15-2019, 08:04 AM
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With the result that nowadays, anyone can drop dick jokes (and pussy jokes; don't forget about those) into conversation in any context, and make it sound cultured.

That sounds pretty great to me.
  #61  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:22 AM
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I hated Shakespeare when in high school. I too wondered what was the big deal. We were poorly taught, only reading the plays, not even out loud. Never saw a performance. One teacher wanted to take us to see the 1968. Whiting/Hussey version, and some parents nixed it because of a brief flash of Romeos butt, and a one-half second flash of Juliets breast.
Probably the best R&J ever. The worst? Gwynneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in love. He might have been, but she certainly wasn't.

Of course, Juliet, along with Shaw's Saint Joan, is the favorite role for drama queens.

I saw several Shakespeare plays performed by a high school. The director was an ex-actor. The plays really do come to life if you see them, whether on stage or as a film. By and large, they are too long to make a good film, except Macbeth, which is one of the shortest.
  #62  
Old 05-18-2019, 01:53 AM
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Who are the best British upper-class writers of fiction today?
Running with the hijack, while I haven't read any of his stuff, there's the obvious candidate of Edward St Aubyn - most recently of Patrick Melrose fame. He's undoubtedly both posh and the recipient of much acclaim for his novels.
  #63  
Old 05-18-2019, 04:58 PM
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bonzer! Good heavens, it's been a long time since I've seen you post. Welcome back, I hope.
  #64  
Old 05-18-2019, 05:17 PM
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Umm, while I haven't been posting as much as in the past - and I was never that prolific in the first place - I've never really been on any sort of hiatus.

But the shoutout is appreciated.
  #65  
Old 05-18-2019, 05:40 PM
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Umm, while I haven't been posting as much as in the past - and I was never that prolific in the first place - I've never really been on any sort of hiatus.

But the shoutout is appreciated.
I just don't recall having seen you be active of late, is all.

I still remember the pub crawl you and many of the Londopers took me on when I came to visit the UK, lo these many years ago. One of the best months of my entire life.
  #66  
Old 05-18-2019, 06:13 PM
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Jilly Cooper?
My first thought was PD James (not long dead, so counts I think) but turns out she was the daughter of a tax inspector, and solidly middle class.

Sebastian Faulks is proper posh, but more the upper end of upper middle class, I think. Same with David Cornwell aka John le Carre.

Nicholas Mosely was an actual aristo - albeit not very much like his dad Oswald or brother Max. His stuff is impenetrable to me though, and he was hardly a major novelist anyway.

So yeah, if there's been an upper-class British novelist in recent decades I can't think who.
  #67  
Old 05-18-2019, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Baron Greenback View Post
My first thought was PD James (not long dead, so counts I think) but turns out she was the daughter of a tax inspector, and solidly middle class.
Sebastian Faulks is proper posh, but more the upper end of upper middle class, I think. Same with David Cornwell aka John le Carre.
Nicholas Mosely was an actual aristo - albeit not very much like his dad Oswald or brother Max. His stuff is impenetrable to me though, and he was hardly a major novelist anyway.
So yeah, if there's been an upper-class British novelist in recent decades I can't think who.
Nancy Mitford, perhaps, if 47 years back counts as 'recent decades.'

(If the comparison is with Shakespeare, then that is pretty recent.)

Last edited by Sherrerd; 05-18-2019 at 06:24 PM.
  #68  
Old 05-18-2019, 06:37 PM
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As Dr. Porter put it:

Brush up your Shakespeare
Start quoting him now
Brush up your Shakespeare
And the women you will wow
Speaking as someone who loves Shakespeare, wrote tens of thousands of words on his plays at college, and has even performed in a couple of stage productions, I can confirm this is absolutely not true.
  #69  
Old 05-18-2019, 08:42 PM
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Nancy Mitford, perhaps, if 47 years back counts as 'recent decades.'

(If the comparison is with Shakespeare, then that is pretty recent.)
Fancy Nancy was published well back into the 1930s.
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  #70  
Old 05-19-2019, 04:18 PM
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Fancy Nancy was published well back into the 1930s.
That's right, but she herself was still with us 47 years ago (and her last novel was published 59 years ago).

So if we're talking about aristos writing successful novels in modern times, as compared with the narrative works being produced in Shakespeare's time (with reference to the idea that S's work was actually written by some Earl or other as opposed to having been written by a commoner), she might qualify.

Last edited by Sherrerd; 05-19-2019 at 04:20 PM.
  #71  
Old 05-19-2019, 05:57 PM
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I dunno; "nobody can be truly human without Shakespeare" sure strikes me as racist. And absurd on many other grounds, too. How does he account for the fact that in other languages, other authors are the Greatest of All Time? Are Spanish-speaking humans a different species, because they're shaped by Cervantes instead of Shakespeare?
The thing about Cervantes is that he basically wrote one super big book and really nothing else of merit. Reading Don Quijote is no easy task. There are no sonnets or shorter plays to read in an extended sitting. We know a lot of quotes from him ut the task of reading DQ is such that very, very few have done it.
  #72  
Old 05-19-2019, 06:57 PM
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OK, I thought Don Quixote was too dense when I attempted it, but I thought that was just the translation. It's reassuring to hear that a Spanish-speaker thinks the same.
  #73  
Old 05-19-2019, 07:10 PM
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OK, I thought Don Quixote was too dense when I attempted it, but I thought that was just the translation. It's reassuring to hear that a Spanish-speaker thinks the same.
I have the Tobias Smollett translation from the 18th century, and I’ve never been able to penetrate more than a hundred or so pages. Maybe I should try a peppier, more recent version.
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  #74  
Old 05-20-2019, 04:34 AM
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Not sure how I could have forgotten: Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford DL a.k.a. Julian Fellowes, he of Downton Abbey and Gosford Park screenplay fame (and several bestselling novels). Exceedingly posh and inarguably talented in fiction writing. But probably not responsible for writing Shakespeare's works.

Last edited by Gyrate; 05-20-2019 at 04:38 AM.
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