June 1st, 2009

belgium

Casting my Flemish vote

Those in other jurisdictions may like to note how sensible our arrangements for voting are: from 8 am to 3 pm on a Sunday, so you really have to get it over with before lunch; the results are out by early evening; and voting is compulsory (that is, turnout is compulsory; you can always cast a blank ballot). I decided long ago that I would probably vote for Annemie Neyts for the European Parliament, as I know her personally. But now that we are Belgian citizens, we get the bonus of voting in the elections for the Flemish regional parliament also held on Sunday, and I'm not at all sure which way to go.

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shakespeare

June Books 1) Edward III, possibly by William Shakespeare and others

I think this will be the last Shakespeare play I review, a historical work from the earlier part of his career which is increasingly accepted as part of the canon (available here). It was odd to read it without the benefit of Arkangel or other performers, and it seemed to go very quickly (it's also I think very short).

It's actually a play of two very distinct halves. The first two acts concern Edward III's attempts to seduce the Countess of Salisbury, which she successfully repulses; Acts III-V cover the Black Prince's campaigns in France, including the Battle of Crécy and the Burghers of Calais. Chunks of Shakespeare's sonnets are soldered into the text, which is part of the reason people think he was involved at a more substantial stage of the creative process. Certainly both halves of the play have obvious parallels among his other works, and I found the prose style enjoyable. The theory goes that the play was censored from the historical record because it is rude about the Scots, which seems entirely possible. An interesting curiosity.

Henry VI, Part I | Henry VI, Part II | Henry VI, Part III | Richard III | Comedy of Errors | Titus Andronicus | Taming of the Shrew | Two Gentlemen of Verona | Love's Labour's Lost | Romeo and Juliet | Richard II | A Midsummer Night's Dream | King John | The Merchant of Venice | Henry IV, Part I | Henry IV, Part II | Henry V | Julius Caesar | Much Ado About Nothing | As You Like It | Merry Wives of Windsor | Hamlet | Twelfth Night | Troilus and Cressida | All's Well That Ends Well | Measure for Measure | Othello | King Lear | Macbeth | Antony and Cleopatra | Coriolanus | Timon of Athens | Pericles | Cymbeline | The Winter's Tale | The Tempest | Henry VIII | The Two Noble Kinsmen | Edward III | Sir Thomas More (fragment)
shakespeare

The only categorisation of Shakespeare plays that matters

Category A:
  • Henry VI, Part I
  • Henry VI, Part II
  • Taming of the Shrew (arguably)
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Edward III
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Henry IV, Part I
  • Henry V
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Pericles
  • Cymbeline
  • Henry VIII

Category A½:
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen

Category B:
  • Henry VI, Part III
  • Richard III
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Richard II
  • King John
  • Henry IV, Part II
  • Julius Caesar
  • Othello
  • King Lear
  • Macbeth
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Timon of Athens

Category C:
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • As You Like It
  • Twelfth Night
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Winter's Tale
  • The Tempest

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Edited to add: Yeah, Hamlet should have been listed under Category B!