January Syllabus

01-11 January……………………………………………..Hamlet
12-21 January……………………………………………..12th Night
22-31 January……………………………………………..The Winter’s Tale

A Year of Shakespeare breaks down into roughly one play every ten days, more or less, depending upon if you wish to include Two Noble Kinsmen which he co-wrote with John Fletcher.

As the year goes on, I’m assuming I’ll speed up and slow down from that pace according to the complexity/fascination/boredom of a particular work. I’d like to accrue time from the breezy comedies that can later be applied to the Henry sagas etc. I’d also like to mix in the sonnets and poems at some point too, kind of like bon bons or between-meal snacks to liven things up.

Though there are various approved methods for divying up the canon, I’ve decided to cluster the works into monthly questions instead of the usual strict chronology or divisions into tragedy/history/comedy.

As of Tuesday, 29 December 2009, Hamlet appears to be leading in our poll, so that will begin the year’s reading. Based on how that goes (and if I survive), I’ll continue on to the 12th Night — on the 12th night, ha — and finish with The Winter’s Tale because it’s, you know, winter. Hey, I told you this wouldn’t be a snooty approach. I’m just hoping you won’t think it’s bombastic or sacrilegious.

I know there are at least a few people who will be reading along, so I’ll be creating tabs for each work allowing latecomers to jump in and/or backtrack in the future.

I don’t want to overwhelm anybody — including myself — by posting the whole year’s list in advance. For now, I think it’s best to let January get underway with the three listed plays and see how that works out.

If nothing else, maybe we can discuss why two thirds of the image hits for Hamlet on Google include a rendition of the one pictured above… (I could offer my opinion now, but that would spoil the surprise fun.)

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