Saturday, November 30, 2013

Shakespeare year

Last month I decided I should finally get around to reading all of Shakespeare's plays. I work best with a time limit, so I wondered if it would be possible to read them all in one year. It's surprisingly difficult to decide how many Shakespeare plays exist. There are the ones we know he wrote, the ones we think he wrote (or wrote part of), and of course the ones he wrote but we don't have.

After looking at several sources, I settled on 39 plays for my list. Of these, I've already read approximately 23 (one summer Shakespeare class in college is still a blur, so I'm not sure about a couple of plays). But I also want to be able to remember which is which. Some of the comedies, especially, blend together in my mind. So my goal is to read or re-read all 39 plays by the end of October 2014, write a one-sentence synopsis for each, and be able to match each synopsis with the correct play.

I started with Taming of the Shrew, which I was already reading for a book group. Then things got busy, as they usually do when I set a lofty goal. But I just finished Cymbeline, the second on my list and one I had never read before. (It's not going on my favorites list.) I chose a somewhat random order after discovering that experts don't agree on the order the plays were written or performed anyway, but I do plan to read the long string of English-king plays one after another, hoping they'll make more sense that way. Next is Timon of Athens, another new one to me. Stay tuned for updates.


Lisa said...

Save yourself the bother and skip Titus Andronicus. It might not be on your list anyway because it's generally considered apocryphal. But, oh heavens, it's so awful.

Tamary said...

I do remember that one from college. I'll have to think about whether I want to re-read, skim, or skip it.