A couple of weeks ago Jen Tomkins wrote a post about ‘dumbing down Shakespeare’. It turned out to be one of our most popular posts of the last month and since then I’ve noticed a rash of stories about Shakespeare–Jen was certainly down with the zeitgeist, if not the kidz.
Firstly Kirsten Reach writes on Shakespeare’s Blackberry in the Kenyon Review blog. The article references and summarizes a long piece by Stephen Power and picks up on his discussion of a hand-held and re-usable ‘writing table’ that was used in the sixteenth century (and later), for jotting down ideas and thoughts:
This is referenced in Act One of Hamlet, when Hamlet meets his father’s ghost. Though it’s debatable whether Hamlet is meant to be carrying his “table” in his hand and writing or speaking metaphorically, it’s clear that the “table of memory” he wipes clean is meant to be this convenient little writing gizmo.
Elsewhere, Shakespeare the thinker is the subject of a fascinating review article by Martha C. Nussbaum in The New Republic. Nussbaum asks “Why must the philosopher care about these plays? Do they supply to thought something that a straightforward piece of philosophical prose cannot supply, and if so, what?”