Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Note: Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman

Shulman, Polly. Enthusiasm. New York: G. P. Putnam, 2006.

Although this Young Adult Novel is, strictly speaking, far more of a Jane Austen derivative than a Shakespeare-related book, it was enjoyable enough—and there was Shakespeare enough in it—to justify a quick post on it here.

The events of the novel center on Ash, a girl who is continually caught up in a never-ending series of enthusiasms. In this book, she has fallen in love with the world of Jane Austen, and she has determined to emulate Miss Austen's characters—especially in pursuing a boy of genuine merit to be the love of her life.

Naturally, my favorite parts involve Shakespeares. The students in the novel are putting on a musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream entitled Midwinter Insomnia. Some of the lyrics are too good to miss:
As Daniel [the Demetrius analogue], Chris sang:

Half an hour of hanging out with Hermia
Would give a seal or walrus hypothermia.
She's the Queen of the Ice.
She doesn't know the meaning of nice.
Turn the thermostat up and crank it!
I need another sweater and a blanket.

Ash / Hermia responded,

Insinuating snake!
He's a man on the make,
Out to get what he can take,
And take what he can get—
Which is nothing . . . yet.

The yet came as Hermia drank the tainted water and found herself falling under his spell. (119)
The whole novel is fun and fancy-free. I enjoyed it immensely. It's just the antidote necessary to a Young Adult Novel scene far too laden with Vampires and Zombies.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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