In Which I Surprise You All By Talking About Shakespeare. Sort Of.

How much do I want that shirt?! It's from my favorite online comic, Married to the Sea. You can see the full Shakespeare comic here, which is even more awesome (but naughty and therefore unpostable).

So. Yes. Shakespeare.

I'm surprising myself too. Truthfully, he's the kind of writer that makes me squirmy inside. Because he is SMART. Which makes me feel dumb. So in a generalized kind of way, I avoid him.

(I like Shakespeare. I respect Shakespeare. I just rarely read Shakespeare.)

Because the other thing about him? Depressing. I'm sorry, but no one will ever convince me that a thirteen-year-old girl in a suicide pact is a love story. Interesting, yes. Romantic? NO!

Don't do it! He's not worth it!

[SIDE NOTE: Did you know Romeo and Juliet was a preexisting story? Matteo Bandello (c. 1480 – 1562) was probably the original author, and then it was translated from Italian into a narrative poem called "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet" in 1562 by Arthur Brooke. Shakespeare most likely wrote his version between 1591-1595.]

Anyway. I much prefer his comedies -- The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, and, my favorite, A Midsummer Night's Dream. And I've begun to appreciate his sonnets with age. And after seeing today's post at Jane Austen Today, I have an EVEN BETTER appreciation.

Because check it out, you guys.

Mr. Darcy reading Sonnet 29!



My favorite voice ever, Rufus Wainwright, singing it.

(The video happens to be set to Pride and Prejudice footage, which is a lovely bonus. Though I know you won't believe me when I say this, but I'd actually prefer just listening to Rufus, whom I passionately worship and adore. Still. If I have to look at SOMETHING...)

His voice is so beautiful! I had the honor of seeing Rufus two years ago, and it was one of the best shows I've ever attended. He's the only musician who has moved me to tears, during a gorgeous -- and microphone-less -- rendition of an Irish folk song called "Macushla" (translation = heartthrob).

Sadly, this is only part of the song, but you can get the idea:

Rufus's latest project is a French opera called Prima Donna, which will debut later this year. I'm so thrilled! I'm not an opera buff, but I'm interested by it. And I love this quote from him: "Opera seems to have been hijacked by intellectual elements. For a long time I wanted to make it a little less intellectual and have more emotional engagement. You have to remember it was a populous form, like the bandstand of its time."

Opera for the people! Cool!

But going back to Matthew MacFadyen for a minute -- because why not? -- he also recorded two additional poems for this DVD, including my very favorite poem (I seem to have many favorites in this post, but they're all true), "This Is Just To Say" by William Carlos Williams:

AND . . . Mr. Darcy will be in Little Dorrit on Masterpiece Classic starting this Sunday the 29th through April 26th. Yippee!

The costumes alone are enough to get me to watch.

Will you tune in?


  1. Thank you, I am no longer grumpy or sullen. Oh, Mr. Darcy. Swoon.

  2. I would if I had TV.

    Gilbert and Sullivan were all about "Opera for the people!" Their plays are so much fun to watch. I totally agree with you on "Romeo and Juliet." I'm not crazy about Shakespeare's other tragedies either, but I love some of the rest of them so much that I can't narrow them down to one favorite. "The Twelfth Night," "Measure for Measure," and "A Winter's Tale" are up at the top, but have you ever SEEN Henry V with Kenneth Branagh? It makes me cry every time. And they never teach the good sonnets in school. Maybe it's because they have words like "breasts" in them. Sonnet 130 is my favorite, hands down. Of course, my favorite love poem of all time is "The Flea," by John Donne, so yeah.

    Cool blog entry.

  3. Oh, I hate the unabashed (and uninformed) Shakespeare worship rampant in the world of writing and English.

    Yes, he had some very, very good stuff.

    He also had a lot of crap.

    And thank you, THANK YOU for recognizing that Romeo and Juliet is a TRAGEDY--not a romance!

  4. One of my Shakespeare professors in college called Romeo "a homicidal maniac" -- tee hee. I always like to note that when the play opens, Romeo is madly in love with a lady called Rosaline, and goes to the Capulet ball hoping to see HER. He's just a horny teenager, people. Still, I have to admit to loving the play. Love it. Love the Zefferelli version above. How adorable are they? We used to watch it all the time when we were kids. I guess that's weird, but we lived overseas and didn't get English language TV so we watched a lot of stuff repeatedly.

    Thanks for the reminder about Little Dorritt. I've been spacing out the Masterpiece lately!

  5. We're watching the Zeffirelli version in class right now.
    But I can't take it seriously because Romeo looks EXACTLY LIKE ZAC EFFRON!
    And Romeo and Juliet is totally not romantic! It's ridiculous! Juliet talks with Romeo for five minutes and then swears that if she can't marry him, she'll die!


  6. The only way Romeo and Juliet could be romantic is if maybe Romeo would sparkle. Or be an unattainable vampire. Or they could all be zombies.

    Eh, I just like zombies.

  7. I agree, we need more zombies in our classic literature.
    Thanks for Darcying up my day!

  8. I'm all for anything where Leonardo DiCaprio bites the big one...

    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies... LOL. Can't wait 'til my copy arrives.

    And I'd hate to ask.. What's all this about sparkling vampires? Where do Vampires sparkle? Have I gotten too old and missed some trendy cultural something or other?

  9. PS, there is only ONE Darcy, and that's Firth. Sorry.

  10. Myrna -- I haven't seen Henry V. Thank for the recommendation! (And I'm totally laughing about your "breasts" comment. The indecency! The horrors!)

    Lexi -- DUDE. He DOES look like Zac Efron. Hahahaha!!

    Hungarican -- Sparkling vampires = Edward Cullen in Twilight :)

    (And I am quite happy to give you Firth, so I can have Matthew for myself!)

  11. Almost all Shakespeare's plots are not original, not just Romeo and Juliet. Read the book, The Ignorance of Shakespeare for a fuller treatment of this subject.