As I launch into my first big personal project for 2017, the Roughly Chronological Re-read, I’d like to acknowledge the amount of guesswork that’s going into this. There is no clear chronology for Shakespeare’s plays. I don’t claim to have discovered one. What I have done is read a lot of other people’s suggestions and drawn up a reading order. I don’t claim that my decisions are anything other than arbitrary. You’re welcome to argue the toss with me. I’ll probably argue it with myself as I go.
So here’s the order I’m planning to use:
Week 1: Two Gentlemen of Verona
Week 2: The Comedy of Errors
Week 3: Henry VI Part II
Week 4: Henry VI Part III
Week 5: Titus Andronicus
Week 6: Richard III
Week 7: The Taming of the Shrew
Week 8: Henry VI Part 1
Week 9: Love’s Labours Lost
Week 10: Romeo & Juliet
Week 11: Richard II
Week 12: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Week 13: King John
Week 14: The Merchant of Venice
Week 15: The Merry Wives of Windsor
Week 16: Henry IV Part 1
Week 17: Henry IV Part 2
Week 18: Much Ado About Nothing
Week 19: As You Like It
Week 20: Henry V
Week: 21: Julius Caesar
Week 22: Hamlet
Week 23: Twelfth Night
Week 24: Troilus & Cressida
Week 25: All’s Well That Ends Well
Week 26: Othello
Week 27: Measure for Measure
Week 28: King Lear
Week 29: Timon of Athens
Week 30: Macbeth
Week 31: Anthony & Cleopatra
Week 32: Pericles
Week 33: Coriolanus
Week 34: Cymbeline
Week 35: A Winter’s Tale
Week 36: The Tempest
Week 37: Henry VIII
Week 38: The Two Noble Kinsmen
Hello again, internet. 2016 wasn’t one of my more talkative years online, and much of my blogging was devoted to the mental health side of things. While I plan to continue that, I want to get back into writing a bit more about the arts.
Gotta catch ’em all!
One of my projects for 2017 will be a complete chronological re-read of all of Shakespeare’s plays. While I’ve read them all at some point or other, there are several that I haven’t revisited for over ten years and the order of reading was quite haphazard. I’m interested to see whether there are any insights to be gained from a chronological read. So here’s the plan:
- I’ll be using a rough chronology based on the RSC’s timeline. Want to talk about disputed chronology? Be my guest!
- Each week I’ll read one play and post whatever thoughts I have about it.
- By “each week” I mean “roughly every seven consecutive days but perhaps more like ten or sometimes fourteen because #freelancelife and also being quite distractible”.
- I’m not sticking to any particular edition. I assembled my collection of individual plays from charity shops, so I have whatever edition I happened to find.
- If you want to read along and share your thoughts, that would be delightful. I’ll post a link to the full text for each play for anyone who doesn’t have a Complete Works to hand.
- If you want to dispute authorship that’s fine, but only if you can both spell and formulate an argument. If you include a link to your book about how Shakespeare’s mum or his third cousin or some completely unrelated person who died a hundred years earlier wrote the plays, I probably won’t approve your comment.
I’ll be starting off with thoughts on Two Gentlemen of Verona in about a week’s time. Join me?