Uneasy Lies the Head — Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power

John Stubbs reviews Stephen Grenblatt’s Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power The psychology and spectacle of villainy and the intoxicating nature of power clearly preoccupied Shakespeare. The grandeur, amoral freedom of action and sheer theatrical potential of tyrants must have moved and excited him. The case of a confirmed murderous dictator, after all, especially one with the charisma, merciless intelligence and twisted charm Shakespeare bestows on Richard III, gave unequalled scope for…

Spring office cleaning thoughts: 1) I used to print a lot. 2) I have enough tote bags.

I used to print a lot. I have enough tote bags. I found more stuff for my box of once-loved tools. It felt so good throwing away all the papers having to do with that one thing. If spiders had to crawl into one box and die, I can forgive them for choosing that other box. I used to spend a lot of time teaching students who were comfortable with…

3

Books vs. Kindles: The Choice No One Made Ever

“I bought a Kindle. I didn’t immediately go home and burn all my other books. I didn’t stop buying paper books. I read both and no one came knocking at my door. It’s a boring story, I know. I’m thinking of adding in a talking pig and a plot to destroy Lady Elaine from Mr. Roger’s world of make believe. But it’s the truth. There is absolutely no reason you can’t…

Chapbooks — the latest assignment in my “History and Future of the Book” class.

Students have already done a 400-word speech, a 400-word manuscript, and a 400-word typescript. I asked them to make multiple copies of their books. They wrote, cut, pasted, photocopied, folded, and bound. Our classroom today smelled cheerfully of glue.  Up next: A “Futuretext” (whatever that means).

How Zuckerberg’s Facebook is like Gutenberg’s printing press

Historian Niall Ferguson notes that Silicon Valley is not that interested in history, which is one reason why technological gurus keep making the same mistakes. Technology that decentralizes power brings its own problems. According to Ferguson: “The idea that witches live amongst us and should be burned went as viral as anything that Martin Luther said … Indeed, it turned out that witch burning was more likely to happen in…

The Girl Has Started Rehearsals for PICT Classic Theatre’s Jane Eyre

I’ve chauffeured the girl into Pittsburgh for the first rehearsal for PICT’s Jane Eyre. She’ll be playing Leah (Mr. Rochester’s servant at Thornfield Hall), Barbara (a different servant at Lowood school), Georgiana (one of Jane’s girlhood tormentors in the Reed household), and “Girl 1″ (maybe one of the adult Jane’s pupils, or perhaps a classmate of the young Jane? She’ll tell me after the read-through). I’m on Spring Break, so…