Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Note: Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

MacDonald, Ann-Marie. Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet). New York: Grove, 1990.

Careful readers may have noticed that I'm catching up on reading and posting about Shakespeare-related books. I have a few more to do, but then I'll put the film back in Bardfilm.

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) is clever, amusing, and thoughtful. Although I Hate Hamlet (for which, q.v.) is still my favorite modern Shakespeare-related play—well, I should remember that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is also my favorite—this one is right up there.

The plot involves a junior professor of Shakespeare at a university. While working on her project, she falls into her wastepaper basket and ends up in the plot of Othello, just as Iago is convincing Othello of Desdemona's perfidy. Without thinking, she tells Othello and Iago is a liar and pulls the handkerchief from Iago's back pocket to prove it. Othello is overjoyed, but Iago is demoted and starts to plot a new revenge—this time, on this scholar from the future who has spoiled his plot.

The professor then ends up in Romeo and Juliet, dressed as a boy. A whole host of Shakesperaean mistaken identity / falling-in-love-with-the-wrong-person activity takes place—and that's where to describe more of the plot would be to spoil it.

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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.

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