Friday, May 17, 2013

Roses and Radiohead

In very much the same way at 21 I discovered Radiohead and became abruptly very pleased with myself (and then increasingly so with Atoms for Peace), I love finding my own ignorances in the world's wide field of beauty and subsequently glutting hard on whatever new gorgeous principal presents itself.

So: this week I'm going to tell you to read a play that you haven't read and probably wouldn't read otherwise (unless, of course, for some strange, reason you're an academic interested in Early Modern literature, in which case this will be quite redundant). There exists a play called The Two Noble Kinsmen which was co-written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. Don't bother looking at the Wikipedia quotable quotations page: they don't do any kind of justice to the play. And before I hear a chorus of complaining cries, read this:

 ...they two have Cabind 
In many as dangerous, as poore a Corner, 
Perill and want contending; they have skift
Torrents whose roring tyranny and power
I'th least of these was dreadfull, and they have
Fought out together, where Deaths-selfe was lodgd,
Yet fate hath brought them off: Their knot of love,
Tide, weau'd, intangled, with so true, so long,
And with a finger of so deepe a cunning,
May be outworne, never undone. I thinke
Theseus cannot be umpire to himselfe,
Cleaving his conscience into twaine and doing
Each side like Justice, which he loves best.

Problematically, all the online versions are decidedly, obtrusively, sub-par. Gutenberg, in my opinion, is a noble effort in general but fails to be readable. Because, I suppose, it's co-written, my favorite online searchable Shakespeare is useless in not even including it. Thank goodness the delightful people who digitize photos of the original texts have the Quarto edition. But, if you're anything like me, on first reading I like a text which has been modernized for spelling (and long s's, v's for u's, etc.). I should note that the question of 'modernization' of archaic texts is a can of worms of its own which I would love to open, pour on the ground, and roll around in like a Newfoundland puppy, but will postpone for now with the proviso: I am provisionally in favor of modernized spellings, and categorically opposed to Early Modern texts 'translated' into modern English.

Since it seems I have quite a bit to say on the subject, I will go read lots about it (including counter and supplementary arguments like Anne Carson) and come back to gush. For now, go find The Two Noble Kinsmen (or, fondly 'TNK' in the biz) preferably in your handy dandy Norton Shakespeare (because the annotations are excellent) or the Oxford Edition if you can. If you can't, check out one of the unannotated online editions. And then come back and make some noise about it.

So for now, signing off.