My Year Of Shakespeare Shakepeare

My personal journey into the world of William Shakespeare

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I have always been aware that there was this dude named Shakespeare and that he influenced, well, everything. It seemed like a good time to read up on him and read what he wrote.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

New Chronology Of Shakespeare Plays Discovered!!!

Now wouldn't that be nice? Seriously, I am trying to find the best order to read the complete works. I have my suspicions that it won't be easy since the First Folio wasn't published until 1623, many years after Shakespeare's death. And, get this, the idiots (or actors if you will) John Heminges and Henry Condell who actually put the folio together, actually acted in the plays and so should have known better, grouped them into the currently accepted comedies, tragedies, and histories. Not, I might add, the correct chronological order that they were written and performed in. Here's the rub, I'm asking you for some suggestions on the order to read the plays in. I am leaning towards the accepted (by me) chronological order that I found here. But, if I choose one that gets suggested here, in the comments, I will award the nice commenter/suggester with a copy of A Year In The Life Of William Shakespeare 1599, the very same edition that started me on my venture. Now I am off to finish the book so I can start on more prereading.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well you could try splitting them up into countries and then maybe reading them in the order that the events they contain happened (if that's possible, it would be for the histories and things like Hamlet and Macbeth because they have some historical context in them not sure about how that would work out with the plays set in Italy).

5:10 PM  
Blogger Quillhill said...

That is how Asimov breaks them down: Greek, Roman, Italian, and English, and then within each group in historical order by subject.

7:21 AM  
Blogger James said...

As you can see, I am thinking along those lines. Thanks for the suggestions.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From my own reading, I can tell you that, at least for the histories, you need to read them in the order of HISTORICAL CHRONOLOGY, and not in the order, necessarily, that Shakespeare wrote them.

Very simply, there is an epic sweep to the histories if you read them in their historial order (again, not their written order).

When you read them this way, certain comments make much more sense, and you certainly see how, for instance, the House of Lancaster makes its mark, etc.

As for the unconnected plays that stand alone (e.g., the comedies and tragedies, for the most part), perhaps it is indeed wisest to read in the order of their production, for you begin to see the development of Shakespeare from rather simply plots into much more advanced literature (of course, all of it is good!).

Hope this helps!

5:06 PM  
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