Sunday, 18 December 2011

Complete Works Challenge: Shakespeare (44/44)

Last night I (finally) finished Shakespeare's Complete Works, and so have read:

  • The Tempest
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Love's Labour Lost
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • As You Like It
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • Twelfth Night
  • The Winter's Tale
  • The Life and Death of King John
  • The Tragedy of King Richard II
  • The First Part of King Henry IV
  • The Second Part of King Henry IV
  • The Life of King Henry V
  • The First Part of King Henry VI
  • The Second Part of King Henry VI
  • The Third Part of King Henry VI
  • The Tragedy of King Richard III
  • The Famous History of the Life of King Henry VIII
  • Troilus and Cressida
  • Coriolanus
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Timon of Athens
  • Julius Caesar
  • Macbeth
  • Hamlet
  • King Lear
  • Othello
  • Anthony and Cleopatra
  • Cymbeline
  • Pericles
  • Venus and Adonis
  • The Rape of Lucrece
  • Sonnets
  • A Lover's Complaint
  • The Passionate Pilgrim
  • Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music
  • The Phoenix and the Turtle
This... this wasn't a fun challenge. I'm glad to have read them, though I now agree with my friend who told me it's better to see them than read them. That said, I struggle with Shakespeare, so at least this way it was at my own pace.

Allie has a Shakespeare month in January, so I'm saving all my Shakespeare posts until then. This month has been almost entirely Virginia Woolf and Shakespeare, and whilst I enjoyed Woolf, Shakespeare (which took up so much more time) was tough. I did love some plays: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Measure for Measure, Titus Andronicus, Cymbeline, Othello, Timon of Athens, Love's Labour Lost, Anthony and Cleopatra, and As You Like It spring to mind immediately, and I'm looking forward to revisiting them in January. Others, most notably Comedy of Errors made me wonder why the hell people still think Shakespeare is so awesome. There were times when I found myself thinking the most bizarre things when I was supposed to be concentrating, for example during Pericles I found myself trying to name all the states in America. But, yes, there were good times as well.

So, for Allie's Shakespeare month, I want to go a general post on Shakespeare, then write more indepth on my favourite plays. Until then, I'm just looking forward to reading something that isn't Shakespeare! Christmas is closer, and tomorrow is the first of the dreaded Christmas shopping trips to the city (I need two trips into town, and one to the big supermarket just outside of town), so this week is mainly preparing. I'll enjoy writing my lists today, I'm sure, plus a little tidying, then this evening I'm going to curl up and enjoy Moby Dick. I was loving it, and I'm so looking forward to picking it up again this evening!


  1. Wow, I am really, really impressed: reading all of Shakespeare's works is quite a thing! I want to do that too, someday...
    However, I'm sorry you didn't like everything (which is inevitable to a certain extent) but at least you can enjoy the glory of having completed a huge victory read! :)

  2. Congrats on making it through all of them! I love me some Shakespeare but there are some I just can't make it through. That said, I'm glad Titus is on your list of ones you love. I don't feel like it gets a lot of love, but it's so ridiculous how could you not love it?

  3. Thanks, both! And Red - I did indeed like Titus, but man, it was nasty!

  4. Wow, such an impressive achievement! Well done! I haven't read much of Shakespeare (I know, I know. Trust me, I'm embarrassed), but I loved most of what I did read. The remarkable exception being Romeo and Juliet, a book I can't for the life of me think of as anything else but old school soaps.

  5. Amazing -- wow! Congrats -- that's an amazing victory. I don't know if I could read that many plays -- seeing drama performed is better for me (I can't get in to Ibsen, for example, via the page) -- I can't wait to see your Jan posts about him. Enjoy your non-Shakespeare reads! :)

  6. Thank you, I think this was my toughest challenge (well, I KNOW it was my toughest challenge!).

    Caro - I feel the same about R&J. Never got into it at all!

    Audra - now, having read them, I'm with you: it is better to see them, I think. Was talking to a friend about this last night, I was saying how it was better for me to read them first because I find Shakespeare so difficult, if I watched it without knowing what it was about I'd just be lost entirely. Now having read them and having a bit of a grasp on them, I think I'd have far more success watching them. I own Hamlet, but nothing else, so maybe over the coming year I'll get a few on DVD and test this theory out :)

  7. I like the way you plan to reflect on everything you've read -- an overall post on all of the plays, then specific posts on your favorites.

    Also -- congrats on finishing! You're such an inspiration. :-)

  8. Aw, thank you :) I think this is the best way for me - I cannot write about things I don't care about, and there were a few of those plays where all I can manage is "eh, s'ok" :)



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