The summer solstice is here and that means the Once Upon a Time Mythology-Folklore-Fairy Tale-Fantasy Reading Challenge has concluded. How did you all do?
Here’s my report:
- Mythology: Classical Mythology: I’m afraid I got nowhere with this book, other than to look up the stories of Daphne & Apollo and Pyramus & Thisbe. I also read translations of both stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in my delicious Norton Book of Classical Literature, so I think that counts for something.
- Folklore: Stories from Mexico: A light bilingual read. Good for beginners in Spanish.
- Fairy Tale: The Princess Bride: This was a disappointment. The tone was more cynical than the film, and the attempts at backstory (troubled marriage, father-son issues) were uneven. This is a case where the book doesn’t to justice to the film.
- Fantasy: The Lord of the Rings: I’m still enjoying my second journey through this masterpiece (what a contrast to the snarky Princess Bride!). My favourite line so far: “I’m not very, hm, bendable.” Special Bookworm Points to the first commenter who correctly identifies the speaker. (Those to whom I’ve already mentioned this are exempted (that means you, A!).)
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream: I read most of this today and it really flew by. I have tried to watch productions of it before but got confused by the fairies and dreams and whatnot. It was a breeze to read, though, and it begs to be read aloud, which I did. I enjoyed the self-deprecating humour directed at plays and players, and this caution against the perils of imagination:
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold:
That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.
The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination
That if it would but apprehend some joy
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
The play left me with one burning question: What did Helena say?!? Act 3, scene 2, line 137, Helena is supposed to have said something which wakes Demetrius but it seems to have been left out of the published editions. Would anyone care to take a stab at it?
LysanderWhy should you think that I should woo in scorn?
Scorn and derision never come in tears.
Look when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
In their nativity all truth appears.
How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
Bearing the badge of faith to prove them true?
Helena You do advance your cunning more and more,
When truth kills truth–O devilish holy fray!
These vows are Hermia’s. Will you give her o’er?
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh.
Your vows to her and me put in two scales
Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.
Lysander I had no judgement when to her I swore.
Helena Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o’er.
Lysander Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
Demetrius O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!
I’m guessing that some comment about the mutability of love is apropos but I can’t come up with anything ‘Shakespearean.’ Bonus Bookworm Points for the best line.
Clearly there are fairies about this evening because my modem is acting up. I’ll post this while I still can and wish you all a Happy Midsummer’s Night and Day!