Tag: Shakespeare

7 April-Born Authors to Read This Month

April is the month of warmer weather, budding flowers, and April showers. More importantly, it’s also the birth month of numerous influential authors. As readers, we tend to stick to the genres we feel most comfortable reading. But now that many of us are social-distancing at home, we have an abundance of time on our hands, which is all the more reason to check out some of these works–even if you wouldn’t normally pick them off a shelf. Ranging from rich fantasy to 18th century settings, these books will transport you to a different time–and maybe even a different world. 

1. Hans Christen Andersen – April 2, 1805

via fine art america

A Danish writer, Hans Christen Andersen is best known for his 19th century fairy tales, many of which have been adapted to Disney movies modern day. Despite the popularity of his children’s stories today–some of which include “The Little Mermaid,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “The Ugly Duckling”–many literary critics disapproved of his fairy tales when they were first published in the 19th century, and discouraged him from pursuing the genre. Andersen also published several novels.

Major works to check out: Hans Christensen Andersen’s Complete Fairy Tales

Not into children’s books? Watch these movies based on his works: Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, Fantasia 2000 (inspired by “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”)

 

2. Washington Irving – April 3, 1783

via interesting literature

Washington Irving is most well-known for his short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” but he also published numerous historical works and biographies about figures like George Washington and Christopher Columbus. Irving is accredited with defining the American short story, as well as encouraging other authors, especially as he became one of the first American authors to gain literary success in Europe. 

Major works to check out: “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “Rip Van Winkle”

Not interested in the short story? (We’re silently judging you. Just kidding–Maybe.) Check out Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow.

3. Maya Angelou – April 4, 1928

via the new york times

A woman of many talents, Maya Angelou is known for her work as a writer, singer, and civil rights activist. Her most influential work is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, an autobiography about Angelou’s childhood and early teenage years, in which she discusses racism, rape, and what it’s like growing up as a female in a male-centric world. The book has won numerous awards since its release, though was banned from some schools due to its discussions of rape. Since then, it has become a literary classic studied on a multitude of college campuses.

Angelou passed away in 2014, but leaves behind a legacy of influential works and activism.

Major works to check out: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, “On the Pulse of Morning”

 

4. Leigh Bardugo – April 6, 1975

via leigh bardugo

Since her debut in 2012, Leigh Bardugo has become a household name in the YA industry. Her success is mostly attributed to the Grishaverse, which consists of three series and a book of short stories, all set in the same universe. Anyone looking to dip their feet in the genre will appreciate Bardugo’s strong characters, complex world-building, and creative use of YA tropes. Netflix has recently picked up the series in Shadow and Bone, so now is the perfect time to get reading before the release of the show!

But Bardugo’s work isn’t limited to just Young Adult; her most recent publication is Ninth House, an adult novel following a student at Yale University. If you loved any of her previous works, you’ll love this dark fantasy.

Major works to check out: Shadow and Bone, Six of Crows, King of Scars, Ninth House

5. William Wordsworth – April 7, 1770

via the new yorker

William Wordsworth, in collaboration with his colleague Samuel Coleridge, is best known for defining the Romantic Age with Lyrical Ballads. This literary age moved away from neoclassicism, which emphasized reason, and focused instead on human emotion and connection with nature. Wordsworth has published numerous poems, including autobiographical The Prelude, a retrospective poem that delves into his personal life and explores human nature. 

Major works to check out: The Prelude, Lyrical Ballads, “Lines Composed a Few Miles from Tintern Abbey,” “We are Seven”

6. Henry James – April 15, 1843

via the new yorker

A major transatlantic figure, Henry James held both American and British citizenship after leaving the US to settle in London. James is most known for his literary modernism and is often hailed as one of the best novelists of the English language. Many of his novels feature American protagonists transitioning into, or exploring, British life, delving into the ways identity is often tied to nationality. Despite his major success, James was often criticized by Theodore Roosevelt for moving to Europe and, in Roosevelt’s eyes at least, his lack of masculinity. 

Major works to check out: The Portrait of a Lady, What Maisie Knew, Daisy Miller

 

7. William Shakespeare – April 1564 (baptized April 26)

via biography.com

While we don’t know Shakespeare’s exact birthday, we do know that he was baptized April 26, 1564, meaning he was born sometime around then. One of the most well-known playwrights (if you haven’t heard of him, I think I can safely say you must live under a rock), Shakespeare is attributed with writing numerous poems and plays. If his name gives you flashbacks of acting out Macbeth in front of your sophomore class–don’t fret! Shakespeare’s plays may seem daunting to read at first, but the drama, humor, and deft use of iambic pentameter will entice more than just English majors.

Major works to check out: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III

If reading Shakespeare is really not your thing, check out these movies: Shakespeare in Love (based on his life), West Side Story (based on Romeo and Juliet), 10 Things I Hate About You (based on The Taming of the Shrew)

featured image via the la times

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Patrick Stewart Reads Shakespeare A Day

To help us all get through our quarantine, actor Patrick Stewart is making it a little more entertaining by reading a different Shakespeare sonnet every day. It only makes sense since Stewart is well known for performing Shakespeare’s plays himself.

Stewart has been posting videos of himself on Twitter for the past couple of days reading Shakespeare as he self isolates from everyone else.

Here are some videos of Patrick Stewart reading Shakespeare!

Video via gma

VIDEO VIA TWITTER

If that doesn’t get you through quarantine – we don’t know what will. A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away, or so they say.

VIDEO VIA TWITTER

 

featured image via ani news 

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Five Chaotic “Midsummer Night’s Dream” Memes

Is anyone else going a little stircrazy? Sure, it might be tempting to flee to the woods with your forbidden fiance, but we probably shouldn’t. Live through these memes instead.

 

She’s Not Wrong

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I slept on Hermia for a long time, and I couldn’t regret that more. Listen. She and Lysander are in love, and she thinks he’s a perfectly appropriate suitor. So what does she do? Tells her father if he wants her to marry Demetrius that much he might just have to have her executed. Says the same to the king. Oh, I’ve gotta do what my dad says or die? I guess I’ll die. This woman is not daunted by anything. How many of us have wanted to flee into the woods and leave society behind? Hermia lives her truth.

 

Loyalty is a Virtue?

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I mean yeah, obviously I want Helena to have a lot more self worth. She tells Demetrius about his last chance to marry someone else. Even if you want to get on someone’s good side, that is an apocalyptically self sabotaging decision. And like, yeah, he treats her really badly. He should definitely break his ankle in the forest and never be found. Words can’t convey my disdain. But I kinda respect Helena, in a weird way. She may not be as lucky as Hermia, but she’s just as determinedly loyal.

 

Sometimes the Forest is Just Like That

Image via Tumbral

So you’re Hermia. You’ve been told, on pain of death, to marry this obsessed jerk. You and bae are running off to elope. You kind of can’t get dudes to leave you alone. Suddenly you wake up in the middle of nowhere, and everyone, including your fiance, is in love with your best friend. Kinda sounds like highschool? They’re in the forest, though, and Helena’s not exactly happy either. Everyone’s lost their minds, and somehow this is your fault? Not the best long weekend ever, that’s all I’m saying.

 

Great Plan

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I can’t help feeling that Oberon kind of should have seen this coming. Think about it, even if you think there’s only one couple in the forest. This poor girl’s love doesn’t care about her. Let’s fix it. Do something nice. Who am I going to get to do this for me? The most chaotic creature in existence? Of course! What could go wrong! This is honestly equivalent to you wanting your friends to get together and deputizing your cat.

 

Sounds Fake But Okay

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So you’re Helena. Your best friend is bailing to be with her true love. But the man you love loves her. So you betray her like, a little bit (okay, a lot). The man you love, who’s treated you like human garbage up until now, suddenly professes his undying love. You’re understandably suspicious. Then, boom! Here’s your friend’s fiance. You can count on him for some sense. Nope, he claims to love you too. She knows you betrayed her. Why wouldn’t she want vengeance?

 

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7 YA Retellings Of Classic Stories

If it weren’t for retellings of stories from long ago that desperately need fresher takes, we wouldn’t have Disney…

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Five Times SparkNotes Twitter Proved They Get It

Who hasn’t needed SparkNotes at some point? Who else can tell you that one character’s name you forgot? If you don’t know by now, I’m obsessed with SparkNotes‘ twitter. Every tweet is a work of absolute genius. From god-tier memes to incredibly hot takes, SparkNotes’ twitter never disappoints. As we look down the barrel of a new decade, let’s take a look at the most mindblowingly relevant of their recent tweets.

 

And it’s Gender Neutral!

 

Sure, the original context wasn’t explicitly romantic, but it’s really something you can make your own. Who doesn’t want to be cool, feared, and respected? Think about it. And the implication that your very own calamity is a dragon? I’d be incredibly flattered. How could you not be? That way you’re not just saying your lover is great, they know you think they’re great. You’re telling them they’re powerful and feared in the local land. Goals.

 

 

Who’s Who?

 

The only thing that matters – which person in your relationship tries to kill the king and then panics, and which actually just finishes the job? Because listen. It’s important that one of you be able to get things started and set the ball rolling, or you’ll never get things done. At the same time, some people just aren’t great at finishing projects. Conclusions are tough. Momentum isn’t going to get you there. Someone needs to be more detail oriented. Detail obsessed. Wash their hands over and over.

 

 

I Can Relate

 

Okay, so only two of those things are true about me, but all of them are said. Do you love the sea? Are you probably a ghost? Avoid making appearances, especially during the day. Congratulations! You might be the Flying Dutchman, or another legendary ghost ship! Actually, you could be a vampire. Or just English and Victorian. All three? That’s a dream. Maybe THE dream. I’m not a ghost hunter or anything, but I might BE a ghost.

 

 

Red Flags

 

As we approach the decade that has, in advance, been termed the ‘screaming’ 20s, let’s avoid the pitfalls of the roaring 20s. And especially any choice ever made by Daisy Buchanan. Consider her an object lesson, actually. Don’t take up with lying military men. Don’t bail on them to marry guys who suck. Don’t then STAY with those guys when no one even expects you to. Don’t lead said military man on again years later. Definitely don’t commit vehicular manslaughter.

 

 

Awareness is Key

 

Hey. We know better than to call him foul creature. We’re beyond that. We have to be. But the rest of these are real. The Kids use them all the time. I mean, I’ll double check with my baby sister, but I feel pretty confident. it’s the sort of thing The Kids would definitely text about. Especially the last one. See? SparkNotes is always relevant. This is the cutting edge.

 

 

All images via SparkNotes on Twitter

 

 


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