Books One and Two of the Red Queen Trilogy, in the Popular Collection Now!

redqueen_trilogyThe Red Queen trilogy follows the life of Mare Barrow, a lowly red blood in a world run by the supernatural silver-blooded elite. In book one, Red Queen, Mare gambles everything to win the freedom of her friend who has been conscripted into the army, ending up in the Royal Palace in front of the King himself. Here, she is shocked to discover a supernatural ability of her own.

After leaving the royal court, Mare sets out to find other impossibilities-people of her kind-in order to join rebel forces against the silvers in Glass Sword. Her journey is a dangerous one as she is pursued by a vindictive King who seeks to control her.

Find both of these electrifying titles today in the Popular Reading Collection.

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Celebrating Shakespeare: A Man in Love with Words by Ellen Knowles

BIGCALLOUT_ShakespeareIn honor of William Shakespeare we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23, 2016. What better way to do this, than by highlighting the writing done by first-year students in Associate Professor of English John Wesley’s first-year seminar, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare? This first-year seminar in scholarly inquiry studies four remarkable plays Shakespeare wrote or saw into production in 1599, the same year he opened the Globe Theatre. In the first half of the course, students were introduced to the myriad ways in which Shakespeare’s 1599 plays are shaped by and give shape to the political and cultural intrigues of that year. In the second half of the course, students turned to a play (and year) of their own choosing, the historicist analysis of which is the basis of an independent research project. As part of this project, students were asked to prepare a blog post that reflected on aspects of Shakespeare’s life, a specific work, or a resource or organization associated with Shakespeare, or to provide a personal interpretation of a play. During the month of April, we’ll feature the posts from students that celebrate all things Shakespeare!

Congratulations to our wonderful first-year writers. For additional online resources about Shakespeare, check out these sites:

A Man in Love with Words
by Ellen Knowles

The Telegraph, 2014.

The Telegraph, 2014.

When people picture William Shakespeare, they imagine a man filled with passion. To envision Shakespeare as a passionate man is not wrong either, but where he placed his passions is where most people are lead astray from the truth. Most would assume that Shakespeare must have had such a burning passion for love, that he must release it out onto paper. How else could Shakespeare write about a love as great as Romeo and Juliet if he himself had not experienced passion like that before? However, the reality is that Shakespeare’s true love was probably not any person, but writing.

People like to imagine Shakespeare writing his works motivated by deep love. The movie “Shakespeare in Love” is a perfect example of this idea of an intensely romanticized Shakespeare. The beginning of the movie starts with him frustrated as he has no ideas for what to write his next play about. The movie shows him finding inspiration through a woman named Violet, who he falls deeply in love with, and born from that love, Shakespeare writes one of his most famous plays to this day, Romeo and Juliet. The love we see between Shakespeare and Violet mimics that of Romeo and Juliet’s. Shakespeare and Violet are two lovers who do not belong together just as Romeo and Juliet were. The movie even shows Violet on the balcony reciting the famous lines, “Romeo, O Romeo,” (Shakespeare in Love). This movie assumes that in order for Shakespeare to have written Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare must have had a love similar to that of the famous star crossed lovers. This assumption is most likely hollow, though.

In truth, most evidence points to Shakespeare’s truest love being language. While the movie shows a handsome Shakespeare out dancing at a party attempting to woo a lady, what we know about Shakespeare, from those that knew him, is that he denied many invitations to parties. Most of Shakespeare’s days were filled with the work that came along with being both a playwright and an actor. If Shakespeare had any free time in his busy schedule he prioritized writing over women (Shapiro xviii).

Shakespeare fell in love with language at a young age. He would have met his true love at around the age of five, in his hometown of Stratford when he saw his first play. He fell further in love at the grammar school he attended as a child in his neighborhood where he learned Latin. At the grammar school was where he would have first been introduced to performing in plays, as school teachers thought the best way to learn the ancient language was to perform Ancient Roman comedies in Latin (Greenblatt 23-29). This love for literature continued throughout his life.

Although amusing to play with the idea of Shakespeare drawing from a deep love in his personal life to write his magnificent plays, it is more realistic to recognize that Shakespeare’s true love was writing. He wrote not because he was in love, but merely for the fact that he loved to write. In the marking of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death we must honor his life with what he loved most: words.

Works Cited

Greenblatt, Stephen. Will in the World. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004. Print.

Shakespeare in Love. Dir. John Madden. Perf. Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, and Geoffrey Rush. Universal Pictures, 1999. Film.

Shapiro, James. A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. Print

2014. The Telegraph. JPEG file.

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Behind the Archives Door Events

Each month, the Archives & Special Collections will hold a series of informal presentations on current research, unique resources, and rare books. Join us for informal discussion, refreshments, and the opportunity to handle documents and artifacts hundreds of years old! Events are 4:00-5:00 p.m., Archives & Special Collections on the 2nd floor of the Collins Memorial Library.

We are planning the Fall 2016 series.  Check back in July!

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Celebrating Shakespeare: Broken Windows By Bobbi Ford

BIGCALLOUT_ShakespeareIn honor of William Shakespeare we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23, 2016. What better way to do this, than by highlighting the writing done by first-year students in Associate Professor of English John Wesley’s first-year seminar, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare? This first-year seminar in scholarly inquiry studies four remarkable plays Shakespeare wrote or saw into production in 1599, the same year he opened the Globe Theatre. In the first half of the course, students were introduced to the myriad ways in which Shakespeare’s 1599 plays are shaped by and give shape to the political and cultural intrigues of that year. In the second half of the course, students turned to a play (and year) of their own choosing, the historicist analysis of which is the basis of an independent research project. As part of this project, students were asked to prepare a blog post that reflected on aspects of Shakespeare’s life, a specific work, or a resource or organization associated with Shakespeare, or to provide a personal interpretation of a play. During the month of April, we’ll feature the posts from students that celebrate all things Shakespeare!

Congratulations to our wonderful first-year writers. For additional online resources about Shakespeare, check out these sites:

Broken Windows
By Bobbi Ford

Portrait of Shakespeare, 1884

Portrait of Shakespeare, 1884

I don’t know about you, but growing up I read one of Shakespeare’s plays every year, and every year it was intimidating. When I was younger the language was hard to comprehend, now that I’m older the concepts are what stumbles me. It seems that there has always been a certain ambiguity that comes along with Shakespeare. We try extensively to understand and theorize who William Shakespeare was personally – not just one of, if not the greatest playwright of all time. Analyzing his sonnets and plays to not only learn the bigger picture he was trying to create but rather what that vision can tell us about him politically, socially, or even romantically. If we take into account his works, the books he may have had access to, the political movements of that time, and who he got to work with, we can create a more realistic picture of how each piece of his life effected his plays. More specifically, if we look into the religious background of England we gain a bigger understanding of Shakespeare and his plays as a whole.

A once Catholic church that was whitewashed during Shakespeare’s time

A once Catholic church that was whitewashed during Shakespeare’s time

It is hard to say for certain anything about Shakespeare’s personal life, especially something as private as what religion he practiced. However, we do know that Protestantism became the official religion of England the year before Shakespeare was born in 1563 (Goaby). With that, we can infer that he was aware of its ceremonies and other attributes including its reformation of catholic churches through whitewashing. This was done essentially to remove “distractions”, such as intricate stained-glass windows and paintings of saints covering the walls in the church to let the word of god be the focal point. One in particular, the “right goodly chapel” in Stratford-upon-Avon – where Shakespeare was from – had a glazier come to town to shatter the beautiful stained-glass windows and replacing them with clear glass. Since this was a public event chances are he was there as a child watching it unfold. (Shapiro) Seeing this could have effected how Shakespeare perceived religion and furthermore influenced his writings.

In Shakespeare’s time many things were changing and a change in religion added another confusing factor. Many official Catholic holidays that had been celebrated for years were no longer celebrated and new protestant holidays were added to the mix. This disrupted their everyday life because there was a certain way to dress for holidays, usually a special hat. When you don’t know what is a holiday and what isn’t there can be a lot of confusion. This problem bleeds into some of his plays including Love’s Labor’s Lost and Julius Caesar (Shapiro). In the opening scene of Julius Caesar, a common man and a cobbler are dressed for the holiday, two men, Flavius and Murellius confront them for wearing holiday attire on a workday, however, it was actually a holiday (Julius Caesar 1.1). This confusion directly parallels with how the Elizabethans were always questioning “Is This a Holiday?” like in James Shapiro’s book, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, 1599 explains.

Another larger problem was time for the Elizabethans and was only worsened by the divide in religion. People were off of the calendar by about ten days. To fix this a pope suggested to skip day to get back on track. This seemed like reasonable and easy solution until the Protestant countries didn’t agree, consequently Easter was celebrated five weeks apart (Shapiro). In Julius Caesar, the very noble and smart Brutus asked what the date is which if you didn’t understand the problem with time back then you would be very confused why such an intellectual man would ask such a silly question (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 1.2). Things like this and many others seemed to have directed influenced his plays. Though we can’t know for sure much about Shakespeare we can use the historical events surrounding him to help better understand his plays and even further, why his historical plays are so important in understanding him.

Bibliography

Goadby, Edwin. “Protestantism in Elizabethan England.” Shakespeare’s Religion. Shakespeare Online, 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.

William, Page. Portrait of Shakespeare. 1884. Photograph. Folger, Shakespeare Library.  folger.edu. Web. 28 Feb 2016

Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Broadview Press: Internet Shakespeare Editions. 2012.  Print.

Shapiro, James. “Is This a Holiday?” A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, 1599. Harper Collins Publishers. 2005. Print.

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From the Archives & Special Collections: Campus Metamorphosed

As time progresses and things change it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine what a place once looked like prior to transformation, and this campus is most certainly no exception to this process. We see these changes taking place every day, such as our witnessing of the construction of the addition to Warner Gym and the new fitness center. Sometimes, however, it’s fun to take a trip through time and visually witness the transfiguration ourselves. The area currently undergoing construction next to Warner Gym has actually gone through a great deal of change, considering it was once a forested ridge prior to 1952. The following image, titled “Hillside removal flattens the campus, 1952,” can be found in A Sound Past and shows the progression of the ridge demolition, as President Thompson and contractor Shotwell converse.

The image description states that a similar image appears on page 134 of the 1952 Tamanawas. Provided below are the images found on page 134, which display the three stages of the “largest earth-moving project ever undertaken on the campus.”

The image description states that a similar image appears on page 134 of the 1952 Tamanawas. Provided below are the images found on page 134, which display the three stages of the “largest earth-moving project ever undertaken on the campus.”

Archive4-25_2

“…an aerial view that shows the two-block-long hill that once stretched parallel to the Fieldhouse along Union Ave.”

With the digitized collection of images found in A Sound Past, along with our physical collection of Tamanawas and various images in the Archives & Special Collections, we can simulate an experience on par with the historical progression of time, and visually witness the metamorphosis of the campus we call home in the present day. Take a look at some of the other images in the digital or physical collection of images to satiate your curiosity!

The Archives & Special Collections is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m. or by appointment.

By Monica Patterson

Archive4-25_3

“Dr. Thompson and contractor trustee J.D. Shotwell look over the excavation when it was half completed.”

Archive4-25_4

“…shows part of the level hill. Shotwell removed over 55,000 cubic feet of earth to make the Fieldhouse parking area twice as large as it had formerly been.”

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Celebrating Shakespeare: Hamlet’s Development By Leah Ikenberry

BIGCALLOUT_ShakespeareIn honor of William Shakespeare we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23, 2016. What better way to do this, than by highlighting the writing done by first-year students in Associate Professor of English John Wesley’s first-year seminar, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare? This first-year seminar in scholarly inquiry studies four remarkable plays Shakespeare wrote or saw into production in 1599, the same year he opened the Globe Theatre. In the first half of the course, students were introduced to the myriad ways in which Shakespeare’s 1599 plays are shaped by and give shape to the political and cultural intrigues of that year. In the second half of the course, students turned to a play (and year) of their own choosing, the historicist analysis of which is the basis of an independent research project. As part of this project, students were asked to prepare a blog post that reflected on aspects of Shakespeare’s life, a specific work, or a resource or organization associated with Shakespeare, or to provide a personal interpretation of a play. During the month of April, we’ll feature the posts from students that celebrate all things Shakespeare!

Congratulations to our wonderful first-year writers. For additional online resources about Shakespeare, check out these sites:

Hamlet’s Development
By Leah Ikenberry

Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies in the classical sense. The character of Hamlet is a very complex character and undergoes a huge amount of psychological development over the course of the play in a very short time. One question that is commonly asked is about Hamlet’s age and while he may have a set physical age the age he represents developmentally throughout the play changes. A brief overview of this theory shows Hamlet’s age anywhere from seven to thirty-five.

At the play’s beginning, Hamlet is dealing with his father’s funeral. He shows a wide variety of emotions. He is questioning everything through his emotions which represents the developmental age of fourteen. Emotions are overwhelming and experienced to the fullest and emotional limits are tested. “In this latter [Hamlet] case the initial effect is strengthened by contrast: against the foil of extreme hypocrisy of Claudius and of the flatters who pander to him, the profound sincerity of Hamlet is overwhelming… a man dedicated to truth and allergic to falsity in any form, a soul that reverberates with love of good and abhorrence of evil” (Lings 27). When Hamlet encounters his father’s ghost in Act I Scene V where he learns the truth of his father’s death. “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life/ Now wears his crown” (38-39). This information endows him with responsibilities and the development of the ego and sense of self confidence usually associated with the age of twenty-one.

At age twenty-eight a person tends to question what they are doing with their life or make a change in career. Hamlet reaches this point when he sets up his uncle during Act III Scene II in “The Mouse-trap” which is a play that acts out the murder of Hamlet’s father by Claudius’ hand (224). Hamlet confirms Claudius’ guilt with Horatio.

Hamlet: “O good Horatio, I’ll take the ghost’s word for a thousand pound. Didst
perceive?”
Horatio: “Very well, my lord.”
Hamlet: “Upon the talk of the pois’ning?”
Horatio: “I did very well note him” (271-5).

Now Hamlet has to decide what to do with this information and this forces Hamlet to make a conscious life shift which occurs around the developmental age of thirty-five and is Hamlet’s physical age according to the Gravedigger or First Clown in Act V Scene I “Why, here in Denmark. I have sexton here, man and boy, of thirty years” (151-2). It was already established Hamlet was five when the sexton came. Hamlet conscious does not kill Claudius while he is praying at the alter “Now I do it pat, now ’a is a-praying; / And now I’ll do’t – and so ‘a goes to heaven, / And so am I reveng’d. That woud be scann’d: / I, his sole son, do this same villain send/ To heaven” (3.3.73-8). From this point on Hamlet is consciously making his own decisions instead of swayed by other influences.

The figure of Hamlet holding the skull of Yorick from a production of Hamlet performed at the Denver Center Theater Company. Taken from the Denver Center. http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2014/0212/20140212__20140214_C1_AE14THREVIEW~p1.jpg

The figure of Hamlet holding the skull of Yorick from a production of Hamlet performed at the Denver Center Theater Company. http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2014/0212/20140212__20140214_C1_AE14THREVIEW~p1.jpg

During one of the most famous speeches in Hamlet, the titular character relives the developmental age of seven. This speech is found in Act V Scene I and Hamlet relives his childhood while addressing the skull of Yorick. “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorr’d in my imagination it is!” (172-5). Seven is the age of the imagination and seeing the possibilities in the universe, Hamlet remembers this as well as his possibilities now.

The end of Hamlet, Hamlet is at peace within himself and no longer has a fear of death. He welcomes death as a person usually associated with the age of forty-two. He dies in the arms of Horatio. “Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, / And flights of angles sing thee to thy rest!” (5.2.341-3).

This theory of how one man can experience the different stages of life within a short amount of time is very revealing. It also shows how physical age is only a number and does not directly relate to how that person is exploring the world developmentally. Each and every person may experience all of these stages according to the associated age while others may never reach any of these stages. It depends on the person and how they relate to the universe and themselves.

Bibliography

Lings, Martin. Shakespeare’s Window into the Soul: The Mystical Wisdom in Shakespeare’s Characters. United States: Inner Traditions, 2006. Print

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Boston, MA: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 1994. Print.

The figure of Hamlet holding the skull of Yorick from a production of Hamlet performed at the Denver Center Theater Company. Taken from the Denver Center.
http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2014/0212/20140212__20140214_C1_AE14THREVIEW~p1.jpg

 

 

 

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Library 24/7 Hours Are May 1-3 and 8-12!

CALLOUT_Open24-7-MAYCollins Library wants you prepared for Mid-terms and Finals Week!

The library hours during that period will be:

May 1 – 3 Sun – Tues 9 a.m. – Open 24 Hours
May 4 Wed Closing at 2 a.m.
May 5 – 6 Thur – Fri  7:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.
May 7 Sat  9 a.m. – 2 a.m.
May 8 – 12 Sun – Thur 9 a.m. – Open 24 Hours
May 13 Fri Closing at 6 p.m.

Check out for 6 hours and 1 renewal. So you can rest easy knowing your property is safe.

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Celebrating Shakespeare: No Legacy is so Rich as Honesty By Aidan Regan

BIGCALLOUT_ShakespeareIn honor of William Shakespeare we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23, 2016. What better way to do this, than by highlighting the writing done by first-year students in Associate Professor of English John Wesley’s first-year seminar, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare? This first-year seminar in scholarly inquiry studies four remarkable plays Shakespeare wrote or saw into production in 1599, the same year he opened the Globe Theatre. In the first half of the course, students were introduced to the myriad ways in which Shakespeare’s 1599 plays are shaped by and give shape to the political and cultural intrigues of that year. In the second half of the course, students turned to a play (and year) of their own choosing, the historicist analysis of which is the basis of an independent research project. As part of this project, students were asked to prepare a blog post that reflected on aspects of Shakespeare’s life, a specific work, or a resource or organization associated with Shakespeare, or to provide a personal interpretation of a play. During the month of April, we’ll feature the posts from students that celebrate all things Shakespeare!

Congratulations to our wonderful first-year writers. For additional online resources about Shakespeare, check out these sites:

No Legacy is so Rich as Honesty
By Aidan Regan

Will Kemp, Kemp’s Nine Days Wonder (1600)

Will Kemp, Kemp’s Nine Days Wonder (1600)

During the summer of 2014, I undertook an apprenticeship through the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, a ten-week long hurly-burly of perspiration and perseverance. It included, among other things, the memorization, working, re-working, re-re-working, and performance of a real Shakespearean monologue—and not just any monologue, but one opposite to what we’d normally be cast. I, typically very composed, was allotted a murderous tirade of Caliban’s from The Tempest, who’s both drunk for the first time and half-fish. I could envisage a crystal clear image of Caliban and how he should be played, but no matter what I tried, something was missing from my performance; some element of Caliban’s truth was lost on me—that is, until taking one of the apprenticeship’s master classes taught by a phenomenal actor named M.A.

M.A. had each of us apprentices perform our monologue for him (in the midst of its “re-re-working stage”) and midway through gave us a directorial twist: to do it AS A PIRATE. I shut one of my eyes, made a hook gesture with my hand, and elongated my R’s. Afterrrrrrwards he asked us all why we’d made those specific decisions, to which we had no answers. They were simply performative impulses made on the spur of the moment. But instead of critiquing our decisions, he dropped a mantra with a singularly profound impact on us all: “Pirates don’t apologize.” It taught me that while I couldn’t make my performance of Caliban perfect, I could make it mine. Likewise, any decision I make, whither in my acting or in my life, is the right one as long as I’m honest with myself and own it.

This lesson applies equally to the performance of any one of the characters in Shakespeare’s plays. By embracing their own individual take on the role, actors can make their performance more real, more honest, and entirely new to the stage; as Mariana says in All’s Well That Ends Well, “No legacy is so rich as honesty” (3.5.14). Shakespeare’s plays have had such legacy and appeal over the past 400 years simply because every one of his characters lends themselves to the versatility of an individual’s interpretation. This fact has been recognized by several Shakespeare scholars, including Simon Palfrey, who writes in Doing Shakespeare that “The recognition that they [characters] are prescripted or bounded by dramatic materials leads to a search for that which lies within or beyond such materials; similarly, the absence of explanation or evidence makes us try to supply both. The characters we locate are our constructions, without substance outside our experience of them…in that they are hardly less real than any other thing we call our own” (322). All actors need to do for their performance to work and their rendition to be real is to follow in the footsteps of Will Kemp, Shakespeare’s clown who’s pictured above, and dance to the beat of their own drum.

Bibliography

Kempes Nine Daies Wonder. 31 Dec. 1599. Illustration. Wikimedia Commons.

Palfrey, Simon. Doing Shakespeare. N.p.: Bloomsbury, 2014. Print.

Shakespeare, William. Complete Works. Vol. 7. New York: Hearst’s International, 1909. Print.

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Coming of age in the Popular Collection: Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Exit_PursuedByBearHermione Winters is a high school student who seems to have it all: captain of the cheerleading team, envied girlfriend, the undisputed queen bee. But in her final year, those labels are disappearing quickly. Everything in Hermione’s world changes forever when someone puts something in her drink. Now she’s known as the victim, the survivor, the girl who was raped.

Although the rest of her high school career is irrevocably altered, one thing remains true: her friendship with Polly Olivier. Exit, Pursued by a Bear is an emotionally charged and empowering novel about the power of friendship in the face trauma. Find it in the Popular Reading Collection today.

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Celebrating Shakespeare: Perspectives on Sonnet 55 By Chelsea Bruen

BIGCALLOUT_ShakespeareIn honor of William Shakespeare we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23, 2016. What better way to do this, than by highlighting the writing done by first-year students in Associate Professor of English John Wesley’s first-year seminar, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare? This first-year seminar in scholarly inquiry studies four remarkable plays Shakespeare wrote or saw into production in 1599, the same year he opened the Globe Theatre. In the first half of the course, students were introduced to the myriad ways in which Shakespeare’s 1599 plays are shaped by and give shape to the political and cultural intrigues of that year. In the second half of the course, students turned to a play (and year) of their own choosing, the historicist analysis of which is the basis of an independent research project. As part of this project, students were asked to prepare a blog post that reflected on aspects of Shakespeare’s life, a specific work, or a resource or organization associated with Shakespeare, or to provide a personal interpretation of a play. During the month of April, we’ll feature the posts from students that celebrate all things Shakespeare!

Congratulations to our wonderful first-year writers. For additional online resources about Shakespeare, check out these sites:

Perspectives on Sonnet 55
By Chelsea Bruen

Not marble nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this pow’rful rhyme,
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmeared with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

-William Shakespeare

“Sonnet 55,” by William Shakespeare, is hard to pin down. Some say it’s a love sonnet, because what sonnet wouldn’t be about love? Some look a little closer and think it’s about time. Some, such as myself, try to connect it to history.

Philip McGuire looked a little closer and found the theme of time. In McGuire’s article “Shakespeare’s Non-Shakespearean Sonnets” he speaks to the poem’s theme of time, referencing the unusual rhyme pattern as a way that this poem, “will endure, keeping his beloved alive, until, with final judgement, time itself ceases to be” (McGuire 312).  I don’t disagree that Shakespeare deviates from the typical sonnet rhyme pattern, but I think the theme of time runs a bit deeper than rhyme. Overall, I see a questioning of when time will run out and what will remain. Taking phrases such as “outlive”, “sluttish time”, and “living record” together provide an overall experience of moving through time till eventually it runs out (on judgement day), leaving behind only the record (this sonnet) of what occurred.

Helen Vendler also sees the deeper meaning of time. In The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Vendler describes the frequent use of the word “live” in sonnet 55, and uses it to draw out a central question from the poem, “Does the person [you] remain alive in the contents, or does only a record [of your memory] remain?” (Vendler 268). Vendler’s idea that Shakespeare is questioning which side is the truth is very intriguing; are we alive without a record or only remembered within it? I’m not sure the poem gives an answer to the question she raises, perhaps Shakespeare was struggling with it himself.

The theme of time is in the poem, and it doesn’t include romance. Time is about record and memory and history, not infatuation. Time is something these authors and I agree on, but we do not agree on who Shakespeare is writing about. Vendler and McGuire interpret this person to be a young man, I think it is quite the opposite.

I believe this sonnet is about Queen Elizabeth I. Throughout the poem there are subtle hints that the person he speaks of is someone of great importance, saying that “Not marble nor the gilded monuments / Of princes shall outlive this pow’rful rhyme” (1-2). It can be taken that he means great statues / monuments of royalty will not outlive this rhyme, and also not outlive the memory of who he speaks of, meaning that they are important enough to not be easily forgotten. Elizabeth was a very important person in Shakespeare’s time, you know being Queen and all, but that is not solid evidence that this is about her. These lines are better evidence, “Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn / The living record of your memory. / ‘Gainst death and all oblivious enmity” (7-9). Mary, Queen of Scots, was associated with Mars god of war (you can see her next to Mars in the painting below). Mary was rumored to be succeeding Elizabeth, and also may have been plotting against Elizabeth. That information fits very well into the lines. I read them to say: Mary can’t destroy your (Elizabeth’s) memory, nor can war, you will live on past this hostility. Bringing it back to the first two lines, Shakespeare may be saying here that Elizabeth’s memory will live on, or Elizabeth herself will.

Figure 1. Family of Henry VIII, an Allegory of the Tudor Succession (Wikimedia).

Figure 1. Family of Henry VIII, an Allegory of the Tudor Succession (Wikimedia).

Elizabeth did live on, well beyond the life expectancy of the times, bringing it back to the theme of time. I think this sonnet is questioning when Elizabeth’s time will run out, and how she will be remembered through history.

Unfortunately, we will never know exactly what this sonnet meant from Shakespeare’s perspective. Looking at the historical references I found in the sonnet anyone could make a case that it’s about Elizabeth, but there are other valid arguments, except love. I see many things in this sonnet, but romance is not one of them.

Bibliography

McGuire, Philip C. “Shakespeare’s Non-Shakespearean Sonnets.” Shakespeare Quarterly 38.3 (1987): 304-319. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.

Shapiro, James. A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. Print.

Vendler, Helen. The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997. Print.

Wagner, John A. and Susan Walter Schmid. “Mary, Queen of Scots.” Encyclopedia of Tudor England. 2011. Web.

“Family of Henry VIII, an Allegory of the Tudor Succession.” Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia, 15 Jan. 2016. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.

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