Archive for November, 2012


Shakespeare and Emotions: Day 1

The conference began with an interesting collaboratory on teaching Shakespeare. I opted to stick around for Eileen A Joy‘s talk, which I will probably devote an entire post later on to.

We were then treated to vignettes from several productions of early modern drama on the New Fortune stage.









Professor Jane Davidson introducing the performers, with Prof Steve Chinna in the background.

We started off with excerpts from Middleton’s The Changeling, which was directed by Steve and performed in the Dolphin Theatre last year.








She that in life and love refuses me,
In death and shame my partner she shall be.

– Deflores

I was reminded of Jackson Hart’s performance as Deflores. He would make a great Iago!
We then got a glimpse of bits from Shakespeare WA’s performance of the Tempest. Didn’t get to catch it earlier in the year but it was an interesting take on the postcolonial aspect of the text. For this particular performance, two Aboriginal performers were cast as Caliban and Ariel respectively, and bits of the play involved traditional Aboriginal music. And Stephano, the drunk, was cast as a woman instead of a man.

But it was Trevor Ryan’s recitation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 44 in Noongar that really captivated me:

If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Injurious distance should not stop my way;
For then despite of space I would be brought, 
From limits far remote, where thou dost stay. 
No matter then although my foot did stand 
Upon the farthest earth removed from thee; 
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land 
As soon as think the place where he would be. 
But ah! thought kills me that I am not thought, 
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone, 
But that, so much of earth and water wrought,
I must attend time’s leisure with my moan, 
Receiving nought by elements so slow
But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.

Trevor Ryan initially delivered this reading in the UK, and he talked about how the sonnet’s reference to earth and land has special significance to him as a person with an Aboriginal background. Brilliant stuff.

Later in the evening, I was having dinner with a friend whilst discussing academic matters and Shakespeare, when a thought struck me. For all intents and purposes, one could describe Shakespeare as an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFENDER. Shakespeare takes the piss out of monarchs and fools, men and women, princes and paupers alike. Oh and let’s not forget that he’s not above bringing himself into the picture, the little bastard:

Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,
And Will to boot, and Will in over-plus;                    (Sonnet 135:1-2)

So thou, being rich in Will, add to thy Will
One will of mine, to make thy large will more.
Let no unkind, no fair beseechers kill;
Think all but one, and me in that one Will.               (Sonnet 135:11-14)

Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy Will,
And will, thy soul knows, is admitted there;
Thus far for love, my love-suit, sweet, fulfil.
Will, will fulfil the treasure of thy love,
Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one.                   (Sonnet 136:2-6)

Make but my name thy love, and love that still,
And then thou lovest me for my name is ‘Will.’       (Sonnet 136:13-14)


He refers to himself as “Will”. And this has caused a point of contention between me and my supervisor. She insists on calling him Will. I prefer Bill. Yes, it is probably coming across as a very Americanized shortening of a first name, but I think with Bill, or Billy, it sounds more…..masculine?

“Gangsta Bill”

But back to the point about postcolonialism and The Tempest. Yes, Prospero might be an analogue for colonial power, but who really owns the island? Prospero? Caliban? Sycorax? If we are to go that far back, then Sycorax, too can be considered to be an outsider – she was not from the island! Could it be Ariel? Food for thought…


2 Countries, 2 Conferences

So begins conference season!

The Shakespeare and Emotions conference looks like it is going to be huge.

Thou art too eager, methinks!

I snuck into the registration room earlier today and was amazed at the pile of nametags set out on the registration table. I’m also a tad bit nervous – this will be the first time that I will be getting feedback on stuff I am actually working on in my PHD, so hopefully, it will go well.

And after my paper itself, I’ll be scooting off to Seoul for the Mechademia conference.

Delivering a paper on one of the longest running serialised manga/anime titles ever made. 

Gangnam style aside, this looks to be an interesting extra-curricular conference. There are lots of extras tagged on to this conference, such as a tour of the Korean Film Archives and keynotes who are involved in the creative aspect of things.


Death and Memory

Throughout cultural history, death and memory has always shared a kind of common ground. The thought of death’s inexorability drives one to reflect on the life that one has led. Or on the other hand, death also leads one to consider what he or she has left behind. This was true for the early moderns, and as Theodore Spencer writes:

The Elizabethans, in fact, seem to have dreaded nothing so much as the possibility that future generations might not know they had lived. Death had other horrible aspects, and their vivid imaginations trained on the skeleton and the rest of the inherited teaching, did not fail to appreciate them, as we have seen. But the blankness of being forgotten was of all thoughts the most tormenting. (Death and Elizabethan Tragedy, 1936)

Poetic immortality becomes a big thing in the Renaissance. We have Shakespeare:

The worth of that is that which it contains,
And that is this, and this with thee remains  (Sonnet 74)

And John Donne:

And if unfit for tomb or hearse
Our legend be, it will be fit for verse   (The Canonization)

Samuel Daniel:

These are the Arkes the Tropheis I erect,
That fortifie thy name against old age,
And these thy sacred vertues must protect,
Against the Darke and times consuming rage    (Delia, Sonnet 46)

This fascination with preservation through poetry goes way back to the Greeks and Romans, but what about today? In writing up one of my conference papers I was reminded of this classic sequence from One Piece. Check out Hiruluk’s speech from 0.17-0.51:

Is there nothing worse than being forgotten after one has passed away? Hiruluk has the answer. At 1.38, he exclaims, “This has truly been a wonderful life!”. Perhaps the most important thing is to live life without regrets, making sure that one is always thankful for the experiences life has thrown at us, for good or for ill.

For what started off as an academic post, that sure degenerated quickly!




MGMT – Kids

If you’re about to have a meal I recommend stepping away from the screen. Graphic image alert!

This song has been around for ages, but i’ve never checked its video out. It is pretty disturbing….

But at the same time, its use of monstrous effects reminds me somewhat of classic body-horror films like The Thing:

And Cronenberg’s classic The Fly:


Dumb Ways To Die

Working with Gothic stuff means that stuff with “death” in it always gets my attention. This ad is cool, albeit a little morbid…..


Shakespeare and Memes

Read an interesting article in Shakespeare Studies about Memes and Shakespeare (I kid you not) recently. I mean to discuss this in greater detail, but how about we enjoy some memes for now….

The Badass Winter’s Tale Bear

Sexually Oblivious Miranda

There’s also Your Worst Bro Iago and Lil’Less Than Gangsta Macbeth, but they aren’t as good, imo.

For more. visit Shakespeare Memes


History of Suicide is worthwhile, whatever the Coalition says (Rebecca McNamara)

A response by Rebecca McNamara in The Conversation to the article cited in my previous post:


'horror': Middle English: via Old French from Latin horror, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder’.

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