Sunday, April 23, 2006

Shakespeare Confession Time

I've had the same conversation numerous times with other English-major types, and it hinges on the question, "What major work of literature have you never read?"

Now, there are so many major works out there that no podunky English-major type can be expected to have read all of them, but there are also those that are so canonized, so assigned in schools, so often taught and quoted and read, that we English-major types should have read them at some point.

For a long time, my never-read texts were The Great Gatsby and The Faerie Queene--two works that, I would expect, any self-respecting English major would have at least tasted before college graduation. Others have confessed to never having read a word of Paradise Lost, or Pride and Prejudice, or Beowulf, or 1984.

Well, folks, I have a confession to make today. I didn't realize this was the case until last week when I was packing up for our backpacking trip.

I've never read A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I've ready probably 15 Shakespeare plays, and I've never once read A Midsummer Night's Dream.

It's not like I don't know the story. I've seen it numerous times (though never on the big screen). The first time I ever saw it was when I was 16 and my high school put on the play. My favorite performance, though, was the LSU/Swine Palace production years ago, featuring Jamie Wax as Puck and John McConnell as Bottom. Wow, I just found a write-up about that performance in the LSU archives.

So, to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday, I've been reading A Midsummer Night's Dream over the last few days.

Then I'll have to think of another Great Work of Literature I must confess to never having read. I'm sure I won't have to think very hard. :)

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