Sunday, January 29, 2012

HENRY V - Introduction

The What:  The Play Henry V, as originally titled The Cronicle Hiftory of Henry the fift, was written by William Shakespeare in about 1599. There are no typos in the title above—there is no h in chronicle, there is an f in History, and there is no h in fift—see the picture of the title page below.

The Who:  Henry V, King of England, who ruled from 1386 until 1422.

The Where:  The majority of Henry V takes place near Azincourt, France.

The When:  Before, during and after the Battle of Agincourt which took place on St. Crispan's Day, Friday, October 25, 1415.

I was introduced to Shakespeare during my stays at summer sleepaway camp in upstate NY. We took day trips to the Stratford Theatre Fesitval, in Connecticutt, so by the time I was 12 years of age, I was lucky enough to have seen several Shakespeare plays performed by the professional players at this delightful venue. Unfortunately, the theatre has since closed, though some effort seems to be in progress to reopen it.

Henry V was not one of the plays I saw at Stratford. It wasn't until 2009 that I became intrigued with Henry V, and its famous lines often referred to as the St. Crispan's Day or Band of Brothers speech, at the installation of Heather DuBrow as John D. Boyd, S.J., Chair in Poetic Imagination in the English department at Fordham University where I work.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Letter To My Readers: Regarding
Film and Literature--(two of my loves,
besides my sons and dog, of course!)

I love film and I love literature. Movies and books contribute to the richness of my life in a way that is unique and unending. They bring me joy. On the days that I have something to good to read or when I  see a great film, I am stronger, I feel better.

The ability to use my imagination when I read a book is very fulfilling to me. I like discovering what will happen and how the characters will live in the story. I like reading prose that makes me feel like I'm reading poetry, but I am not. The words float in sentences and then dissipate into an angel of feeling. There is no interruption, chunkiness, falseness--the flow is superb, the emotion and intellect are undisturbed by the words when an author has her Mojo on. I like when characters are developed so that I can visualize not just a face, but a personality that goes with it. I often create a cast in my mind of who shall play the parts in the novel if it is adapted into a film.

A good film can be close to an orgasm in the mental sense. It can be a release from the worries of day to day life, sometimes even more so than a book. Being a very tactile sensitive individual, the visual and audio qualities of film are particularly enjoyable to me. Films can provide a window of time into other worlds. I can be a different person, sex, age, live in a different century, be wealthy, be poor, be hungry, be loved or not, but it doesn't hurt because it's not real. I can still learn from it though and while the experience of watching, hearing or thinking about a film is not having the true life experience, it allows me to venture outside -- to "take a trip on the wild side" or to live with the imprisoned quality of a Victorian era female in another country or as a young academy boy who has been accused of stealing and expelled. The study of film has such breadth, it doesn't limit me. Psst...get the hit that I covet my individual freedom and space. There is the film making aspect, there is music (which I also adore), there is acting, scenery, props, locations, directing, producing. When I was a young girl and I needed to be freed of the boredom, fear, or other uncomfortable feelings, I could turn to a film to be lifted outside of myself. I can still do that today, now more than ever.

I am a senior at Fordham University and have chosen film and literature to be my individualized major. Completing my bachelor's degree at my age while working what I feel is a full-time in a stressful, high-demand job, it is not easy at the end of the day to then go to class, write a paper or read a text. Choosing film and literature was a way to encompass the maximum enjoyment out of the process. I consider myself a life long learner. I guess that is one of the reasons why working in higher education appeals to me. I can do just that--take a class on a multitude of subjects and do so when I'm at retirement age if I choose. However, since I am working towards the degree there is a certain amount of pressure that naturally comes along with the pursuit, studying film and literature opens the valve and let's out the hot air.

I hope that you will enjoy reading my blog and that you will be inspired--to come back, to comment, and to  to create (in your world).

The first work of literature and its adaptions that this blog will explore in depth will be Henry V by William Shakespeare. In between these more in depth studies, I will intersperse various reads and views, vibes and jive. Again, I hope you like what you find here and that you will send me feedback when you like.