Sunday, August 3, 2008

"I'll live by Nym, and Nym shall live by me." —Henry V

Orr, Wendy.   Nim's Island.  Illus. Kerry Millard.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.

Wendy Orr, author of Nim's Island (on which the movie Nim's Island was based) and other works has responded to a question I asked her about Shakespearean influences on her writing.

The reason for the query was some conceivable Tempest analogues in the film (for that entry, q.v.).  

Her response is extremely interesting, and it offers (1) valuable advice for readers of all kinds of literature and (2) further evidence for a "Shakespeare is Everywhere" Weltanschauung (which I have and which I hope you're beginning to share).

The valuable advice applies to Shakespeare, of course, but it also applies to large helpings of other literature:  Read It Aloud.

She mentions studying The Merchant of Venice several times (because she changed schools frequently).  I think that's also enormously valuable.  Occasionally, my students will tell me that they've read Hamlet in high school.  Occaionally, the implication is that they don't need to (or don't intend to) read it again.  But they couldn't be more wrong.  

Shakespeare, like all great literature, can bear multiple readings.  Indeed, readers will get different things out of it at different times in their lives.  As their lives change, their response to Shakespeare also changes.

Thanks, Wendy Orr, for responding to the query!  I look forward to reading more of your work.  Perhaps Shakespeare will make another unintentional (or, even better, intentional) appearance in your future novels!

Links: Wendy Orr's Journal Blog.

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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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The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest