How Old Is Hamlet?

I don’ t have much time to get into this at the moment but I didn’t want to forget about the link.  Forget Romeo – how old is Hamlet?  The gravedigger’s scene seems to tell us pretty clearly that he’s about 30.  Does that feel right?  Wasn’t he off at school?  Isn’t he still working out some issues with his relationship to mom?  Doesn’t everything else about the play make him feel younger? The link above comes from the book, Hamlet : The Undiscovered Country, by Steve Roth.  I can’t seem to find any links to the book itself so I’m not sure if it’s already published (perhaps a long time ago), or coming soon.

"I have never read a single book from Shakespeare, completely."

So I had an interesting conversation with a coworker yesterday when he discovered this blog.  The above quote is his.  I wasn’t quite sure how to follow that.  He is in fact from a different country (India), but still, I think I was under the impression that just about every modern school system in the world had some exposure to Shakespeare. So, what would you say?  I don’t think it’s appropriate to just jump in and say “Oh, well then, it’s Romeo and Juliet for you!  Right now, get started!  Come back when you can discuss Queen Mab.”  Especially not without the benefit of a teacher who is going to stop you after every scene, answer your questions, and make sure you’re getting the general idea.  I suggested he make it a point to go see some Shakespeare, and showed him Bard in Boston as a great place to start.  And I lent him my copy of Bryson’s Shakespeare biography.  If he likes that, I’ve got plenty of others to show him….

Who needs 14yr old British girls, anyway?,,2268229,00.html New report called Read Up, Fed Up : Exploring Teenage Reading Habits in the UK Today about the reading habits of 11-14yr old girls says many things to make you sad: * Top winners include celebrity gossip magazines, “reading song lyrics online”, and “reading your own blog.” * Harry Potter is both in the most liked and most loathed categories. * The most loathed is homework, followed by Shakespeare, followed by…ready for this?  “Books of over 100 pages.” I place the blame firmly with Alan K. Farrar, my distinguished visitor from that area of the world.  Looks like he’s not doing enough to pimp the Bard’s good works among the young folk!

Most Popular Queries

It’s always fun to look at the search logs.  Since I’ve been tracking it, here are the most popular queries that will land you on ShakespeareGeek: 1)  Romeo’s last words  – Somebody explained this one to me. It’s a popular crossword puzzle clue.  The answer is “I die.” 2) Elizabethan recipes – I’ve never understood the popularity of this one.  I think it’s because I’m one of the few links for it in Google, so there’s little competition.  My stats also show that nobody really goes on to buy anything from the shop mentioned in that post, so maybe it’s just a curiosity?  Who knows. 3) Megan Fox tattoo – It makes me happy that a very hot girl has a tattoo that happens to be a quote from King Lear. 4) How old is Romeo – I’m glad we had a pretty in depth discussion on this one, because it’s one of those indirect questions where you’ve always assumed you had the right answer (Juliet is 13, therefore Romeo must be 13, right?) until you give it some thought and say “You know, it never actually says he’s 13…” 5) Simpsons Hamlet – Who is typing this, ya think?  Simpsons fans who recognize their Shakespeare, or Shakespeare fans who watch The Simpsons?   I’m also intriged by #6, which is in fact “Shakespeare geek“.  Not sure if that was the sort of thing people type anyway, or if they are actually looking for little old me, but I’m happy to see so many links pop up :).

Stand Up For Your Inner Geek Quarterly magazine Fray is doing their next issue on “geeks” and looking for contributions.  What’s a geek? We are everywhere:  superfans, wonks, philes, heads, enthusiasts of the sublimely obscue.  We are the people who care too much about something others do not really understand.  We make the world go ’round.  If you’ve ever been into something so much your friends wondered about your sanity, you’re a geek, too. Needless to say I already signed up, proudly declaring myself a Shakespeare geek.  Who’s with me?

Quartos Going Digital,22049,23438755-5001028,00.html Two libraries in Britain and the US plan to reproduce online all 75 editions of William Shakespeare’s plays printed in the quarto format before the year 1641. This is one of those projects that makes me wish I was a grad student someplace, just spending all day combing through every last page looking at the handwritten notes in the margins.  It’s not just that they’re scanning the quartos – the British Library did that with theirs back in 2004 – it’s that each quarto is different, and they are scanning them all. It’s funny that the article says Shakespeare wrote “at least 37 plays.”  I thought the generally held number now was 38 – or aren’t they counting Two Noble Kinsmen, you think?