The Soul of Wit

A fun look at how stylometry helps prove that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-aAUwAFZlQ]

I’m always a little baffled when people try to make a big conspiracy theory around Shakespeare. (See also Truman Capote writing To Kill a Mockingbird instead of Harper Lee.) Let the dude have his work!

Also, this is good proof that a writer’s voice is a real thing. Even though Shakespeare wrote sonnets, historical dramas, fantastical comedies, and more, all his works have his particular tone and style.

Maybe you’re not Shakespeare, but you have your own writerly voice. Someone else can be writing about spooky ghosts or family dramas or adventures in space, but your voice is all your own, and that’s part of what makes everything you write unique.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s a beautiful Friday here, and I am so happy to be headed into the weekend. Onto the micro-book-reviews!

1. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
The ending made me think “This was about Cameron and her parents,” which I loved.

2. The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4) by Lemony Snicket
I honestly don’t remember much about this one. Before the VFD plot really got going.

3. Henry V by William Shakespeare
The Henrys bleed together for me. I think I need to see them performed.

4. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry
We read this one all the time when I was little. Classic Scarry goodness!

5. Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Glad to be back with Grace and Sam; looking forward to the third book.

Much Ado About Gifs

Things I like: Shakespeare. Joss Whedon. Last night I got to see both combined in the latest Much Ado About Nothing movie. It was so much fun! I went with my friend, Hannah, with whom I also saw Joss Whedon in person. (Needless to say, we were both way excited.) Obviously the only way to share our excitement is through a Joss Whedon-based gif movie review.

Spoiler alerts–but seriously, guys, the play is a few hundred years old.

My feelings about the cast:

The set, aka Joss Whedon’s house:

All the banter:

Everyone after the big party:

Don John setting up Hero:

Beatrice asking Benedick to fight Claudio:

What I want to tell Hero:

And of course Nathan Fillion being hilarious:

How I felt after the movie:

In all seriousness, it was really cool being in a movie theater full of people laughing out loud at one of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s a great example of how stories can transcend time and location. Human drama and romance and comedy touch all of us. And if those stories can costar Nathan Fillion, bonus.

The Wise Man Knows Himself to Be a Fool

Happy April Fool’s Day! I don’t like pranks so much, but I love Shakespeare’s fools. More than just a jester, these fools are witty and see beyond the status quo of the play’s world. For example, in this scene from Twelfth Night, Feste (my favorite fool!) asks Olivia why she mourns for her brother:

I love how Feste can address Olivia’s feelings of grief here while reminding her that it’s unhealthy to wallow in mourning.

Another cool part about the fool? They provide musical entertainment! This song is from the end of Twelfth Night. Spoiler alert, guys–happy endings (almost) all around:

So if you’re feeling especially foolish, check out Twelfth Night or another of Shakespeare’s plays featuring a fool.

And if pranks are your thing, there’s a great list of YA prankster books over at the Hub.

Friday Fifteen

It’s a gross Friday in these parts, but it’s also a certain playwright Walt McGough’s birthday, which makes the day infinitely better. To celebrate, today’s Friday Fifteen is all about plays. Here we go!

1. Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring
First play I read. We acted it out in sixth grade. I was Agatha.

2. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
I spent the entire play hating Willie Loman and waiting for him to die.

3. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Inspired a YA short story adaptation. Also “Those are pearls that were his eyes”—awesomeness.

4. How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel
What I imagine Lolita would feel like from Lolita’s point of view.

5. Wit by Margaret Edson
Stunning depiction of a prickly Donne scholar with cancer. Edson’s first play–the mind boggles.

Links Galore

Some links to help start the week off right:

To Thine Own Self Be True

ophelia200x200A personality quiz based on Shakespeare characters? Just what Friday ordered!

I got Ophelia and although they don’t give any reasoning for this result, I’m going to assume this means that I’m really trying to hold it together surrounded by a lot of evil and crazy. And I like flowers.

In case you want even more Shakespeare, tonight PBS airs Shakespeare Uncovered, which explores some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, including Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest. And heads up, Whovians–there’s an episode in which David Tennant talks about Hamlet.

#tobeornottobe

800px-R_Staines_Malvolio_Shakespeare_Twelfth_NightShakespeare meets social media with these tweet versions of the Bard’s famous works by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. Best use of hashtag goes to:

Othello:
Scoundrel talks Moor into believing his wife’s a slut. Dude, it was only a handkerchief. Did you have to KILL her? #facepalm.

My favorite Shakespeare play is Twelfth Night. My tweet version would have to be:

Shipwrecks lead to cross-dressing and missed love connections. At least we can all make fun of Malvolio.#cakesandale

Share your Shakespearean tweets!

(image: Wikipedia)