My mum

You simply must read this post by one of my former students, Madeleine Perham. Beautifully said. *dabs at eyes with tissue*

Stay back, I have a Book!

It’s the kind of love that sends you soaring – and the kind where you slam doors with an almighty force and heaven help who comes into your room. The kind of love where you can’t hug them any tighter; the kind where you (hypothetically) stand on a cliff top, hair streaming in the breeze, loving with the surety and pureness of a power ballad.

Though the time we stood on a clifftop I was ten, and clung to her jeans refusing to look at the sunrise. My family, understandably, were slightly miffed – after all, you only see the Grand Canyon once. But Mum knows I’m afraid of heights.

I don’t often take the chance to tell my mum how much I love her. I say ‘I love you’ – we have a joke about the depth of this love that we borrowed from ‘Guess How Much I Love…

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Moving on up the Bands: LITB1 AO2

"If only I could stare at those woods a bit longer," thought Robert. "They are so lovely."
“If only I could stare at those woods a bit longer,” thought Robert. “They are so lovely.”

Here be the notes from today’s lesson on Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods’. Just a note: the responses are cumulative. (You’d need to all 3 things to get a Band 6…)

The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

Band 4: In these lines, Frost appeals to us to listen closely; what can we hear? Only two things: the sound of the wind and the sound of the snow falling. The first is a more common sound – it would be impossible for us to hear the sound of snowflakes falling – precisely because they are ‘downy’, they make no sound. (You are explaining the quotation.)

Band 5: The sibilant sounds contribute to the sense of silence Frost describes here. Like the sounds of the wind and snow, they are soft. Similarly, the alliteration of the voiceless ‘only other’ lends a hollow, spacious quality to the sound. The metre creates movement across the lines; the enjambement: ‘sweep / of’ allows the iambic tetrameter to remain unbroken, building the pace towards the end of the stanza. It is almost as if the poem is brought to a sudden halt at the end: ‘flake’ suddenly stops the rhythm, abruptly. The harsh ‘k’ consonant emphasises this, and the A rhyme with ‘shake’ and ‘mistake’ lends the line a sense of closure, as if it has finally reached its destiny. (Here, you are analysing the quotation.)

Band 6: In this way, Frost creates a ‘sense of sound’ (his own phrase), whereby the sounds of the lines capture something of their content. The halting feeling at the end of this verse is precisely the feeling of ‘stopping’ in the title. The hollowness of ‘only other’ emphasises the importance of space – we must make space in our lives for contemplation. (Finally, you are evaluating the quotation.)

Classical and Renaissance Theories of Comedy

English and Things

The following (with the exception of my ‘hilarious’ additions) is taken from David Galbraith’s Theories of Comedy, which forms the first chapter of Alexander Leggatt’s The Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Comedy (Cambridge University Press, 2002). They should be helpful when considering different views of comedy in your coursework essay on Much Ado About Nothing, and should be referenced using footnotes, as well as in a bibliography.

General Ideas

Would Shakespeare have known / cared about classical and Renaissance theories of comedy?

Shakespeare’s comedies in particular resist theoretic and generic pigeonholing. In fact, Shakespeare seems to take up the language of Renaissance genre theory only to parody it. Polonius catalogues the range of dramatic players […] Bottom is equally confident of his ability to make generic distinctions: “What is Pyramus?” He asks Peter Quince, “a lover or a tyant?” echoing the distinction between comic and tragic protagonists which…

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