What’s in a Name?

Fresh from the International British Graduate Shakespeare Conference (known by veterans – who I really want to term old-BritGraddians – by the handy abbreviation BritGrad) I thought I’d check out the new fangled world of modern academia. In other words, the blog. Now, a week later, I’ve finally got my act together. It was the technicalities that took me so long to register, not the football match ensuing in the background as England battle in the background against the kings of gelato. Pft, sport please! No competition. It was name choosing that proved most time consuming. I toyed with hand shakes-spear and even another’s suggestion of the hand that shakes the spear. Yes, I’m sure there’s groans all around, but I think both titles are pretty accurate representations of my terrible humour.

In the end I settled for the ultimate winner of Renaissance Eurovision: Shakin’ Spearians (we’re not quite “past our dancing days”). They managed to beat off Sid and his songs on knee jerk reactions (he’s usually in the middle of them), Donne with here comes the sun, and even the Renaissance rocker Kit Marlowe himself.

Here’s another Will (Kempe) doing the jive.

So expect all singing all dancing Shakespearian delights. In other words the latest greatest shakespearian tinted thoughts or at least the odd musing or two as I shake the Globe and get stuck into a bit of the Bard.

The thing is, Shakespeare really is everywhere. There’s no escape.

And now for a brief diversion.. I’ve spent a big chunk of my weekend hanging out with Dickens, first off Our Mutual Friend followed swiftly by The Mystery of Edwin Drood nope my research interests don’t really lie in the Victorian era at all but – glutton for punishment that I am – I signed up for a grand total of three read-alongs this year. #Clarissa (no connection at all to the TV show) a Twitter read-along which follows letter by letter the chunky volume of Richardson’s that I think my postman wished I’d never ordered. He ought to be grateful Clarissa must have spent a fortune on stamps boy – did she write a lot of letters. It’s a kind of year-in-the-life-of-little-miss-Harlowe deal. Though Marlowe for sure is more my era. Next up was Drood which kicked off in April hoping to finally track down the elusive ending. Finally I stumbled thanks to the beauty of the World Wide Web or more accurately the world of Twitter, upon Our Mutual Friend. No not the bloke we always bump into at Tesco unless of course he happens to look like a dinner table. Poor old Twemlow. It’s a good’un and worth a follow even if you only check the plot out via the characters Twitter accounts. No, I’m not joking. So since I was being bombarded by all angles with modern scholarship on Twitter and blogs galore I thought it was high time I got on board. Being so in touch with the modern world is part and parcel of being a student, or so I’m told. But it’s all connected. Yes Dickens isn’t Shakespeare but Household Words (cough Henry V cough) and Mrs Page saw him coming, “What the Dickens”. Ok fine maybe not Charles but I think Will was onto something with his Merry Wives.

But shaky though these connections might be, it all links, honest! So spear at the ready lets head into the world of the Renaissance. A warm hand shake awaits.


About Sarah Waters

I'm a PhD student at Oxford Brookes University researching female melancholia in Early Modern medicine, drama, and its resonances with our understanding of female depression today. I also have research interests in Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, Children's Literature, CS Lewis, and The Inklings.
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