The Art of Reading?

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Postby poohbcarrot » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:06 am

Trish wrote:Over here, if you say "John Donne," people think it's some guy.
Over there, at least half the population knows Donne is a Metaphysical, was a contemporary of Shakespeare's, read law, married Ann and wrote the most erotic poems ever.
Hey, they had 14+ children, the man knew what he was talking about.


Not being funny or anything, but I don't know who John Donne was, have never read him and know absolutely zero about the guy. :?

And I'm absolutely 100% sure that half the population of the UK don't even know what the word "metaphysical" means.

Us Brits are just as stupid as you Americans, but on a smaller scale because our country's smaller.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:34 am

:lol: He's not wrong this time - I have heard of John Donne but don't really know of him and although I write poetry I don't like reading it much (thank you once again English teacher - you know I've forgotten her name altogether :twisted: ) so that's a new one on me that he wrote poems as well.

Shakespeare - thank you again Ms Zero! At school boring as feck, although luckily we did A Midsummer's Night Dream, Merchant of Venice & Macbeth which even she didn't manage to spoil completely. Luckily Shakespeare's magic - like JA, so he's grown on me and like Trish says was that despised creature, the commercial/jobbing artist - so common my dear. Anyone seen the Kevin Kline/Michelle Pfeiffer version of Midsummer's Night - sheer genius and they made Calista Flockhart look like she'd had a proper meal with meat and 2 veg sometime in the last year... :P

To paraphrase from Sir Thomas in Mansfield Park (Austen) - Shakespeare is an inherent, almost necessary part of being English as he's everywhere, a part of the scenery almost. In our language too - for life is indeed a stage where every person plays their part... and all that glisters is not gold... and sometimes, just sometimes, if you're really lucky you too might meet by moonlight and compare someone to a summer's day... He surrounds us in cliche and metaphor because he wrote about people for people. Sounds like another author we all like a fair bit... :lol:
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:28 pm

:lol: Sharlene, an American knows a great deal more about the likes of Donne and Shakespeare that I do. She knows more about British history than me too. :oops:
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Postby Batty » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:32 pm

I read Henry IV (Part One), Julius Ceasar, MacBeth and Hamlet at school.
I really enjoyed them, although some of the class couldn't get into them.
We read the plays and I was surprised to find that there are Shakespeare books that are published in story form.
I wasn't aware that he wrote 'stories' so I can only assume that the plays have been re-formatted in to stories for people to read.

Shakespeare wrote plays depending on who was paying him. That is why Richard III is depicted as a 'baddie' with a hump.
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:45 pm

Oh yes - get the DVD of the play and someone like Kenneth Branagh playing Henry V and the play comes to life. These were meant to be performed and reading them to yourself from a book is not the best way to appreciate them. :)
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Postby chuckie » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:32 pm

I've heard of John Donne and i believe he wrote the line "No man is an island".
Shakespeare? Am aware of some of his plays and his quotes, but i've never really studied or been interested in them.
Dickens. only know his stories through films and TV adaptations but i have never read the books.
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Postby Dotsie » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:15 pm

Donne wrote quite a lot of stuff that you would probably recognise, but just not know it was his. Same with Shakespeare (who I love for the most part, although some of the comedies were a bit trippy).

Never liked Dickens. He wrote soap operas for the 19th century.
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:28 pm

chuckie wrote:I've heard of John Donne and i believe he wrote the line "No man is an island".
What about the Isle of Man? :lol:
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Postby Trish » Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:05 pm

Tonyblack wrote:
chuckie wrote:I've heard of John Donne and i believe he wrote the line "No man is an island".
What about the Isle of Man? :lol:


Tony, a thought...
Next trip, stop at Pittsburgh Int'l so I can drive over and smack you for that one.


Wow. No one's really heard of or studied Donne?
And I thought the US edu system was a mess. One of the most prolific and genre-crossing writers in the world and the UK schools don't teach (or teach him improperly) John Donne.
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:30 pm

:lol: Sorry about that - I couldn't resist.

You'd be amazed the stuff they don't teach us in schools over here. :roll:
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Postby Dotsie » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:18 am

Like British history for one. We got the industrial revolution & that was it.
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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:24 am

I love history but we had a teacher who was crap and just used to give us pages of dictation. I think we were doing the War of the Roses, but sadly this idiot killed any interest I may have had to taking the subject as ann option.

I've learned a whole lot more about history since I left school.

Teachers like that are worse than useless. :evil:
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:11 am

I love history too(I study it :wink: ) but when I was in highschool we didn't even studied the Dutch Revolt (or Eighty Years' War as it is mostly called in the Netherlands) which is quite important in Dutch history. (it led to the formation of an independent Dutch state)

And more than half of my class back then didn't even knew who admiral Michiel de Ruyter was :shock:
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Postby swreader » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:47 am

John Donne wrote magnificent erotic love poetry, but he also wrote incredibly powerful religious poetry. One of my favorites from the last period of his life is this one:

DEATH BE NOT PROUD

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Hint - Read this aloud- following the punctuation. It's an incredibly powerful amd typically metaphical poem. For more about
John Donne this is a good starting place.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:41 am

swreader wrote:And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,


He's advocating drug abuse! :lol:

Just read the wiki entry but got a bit lost with this techno-babble;

"......although sometimes in the mode of Shakespeare's radical paradoxes and imploded contraries."
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