Amended Reading List

As some of you may have noticed, my recent reviews haven’t matched the reading list that I shared with you a while ago!  There have been a few of reasons for this, the first being that my German pen pal was reading Dracula, so I decided to bump it up to the top of my list so that we could read it at the same time and discuss it. The second reason is that I have received my confirmed Shakespeare reading list, so I don’t have quite so many to read! Thirdly, it has suddenly occurred to me how little time I actually have left to get my reading finished before the start of term, so the books of my choice will have to be set aside for the moment!

So here is my amended reading list:

1.Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker  GOTHIC 

3. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

4. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

5. King Richard III by William Shakespeare

6. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle GOTHIC

7. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

8. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole GOTHIC

9. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen GOTHIC

10. The Beetle by Richard Marsh GOTHIC

11. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson GOTHIC

Then once all of that has been read, I will be ready for the start of term!

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‘Titus Andronicus’ by William Shakespeare: A Review

Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Drama/Play
Written: Between 1588 and 1593
Pages: 26 (in complete works with two columns per page)

 

(Summary from SparkNotes as they did a better job than I did!)

‘Titus Andronicus, Roman general, returns from ten years of war with only four out of twenty-five sons left. He has captured Tamora, Queen of the Goths, her three sons, and Aaron the Moor. In obedience to Roman rituals, he sacrifices her eldest son to his own dead sons, which earns him Tamora’s unending hatred and her promise of revenge.

Tamora is made empress by the new emperor Saturninus. To get back at Titus, she schemes with her lover Aaron to have Titus’s two sons framed for the murder of Bassianus, the emperor’s brother. Titus’s sons are beheaded. Unappeased, she urges her sons Chiron and Demetrius to rape Titus’s daughter Lavinia, after which they cut off her hands and tongue so she cannot give their crime away. Finally, even Titus’s last surviving son Lucius is banished from Rome; he subsequently seeks alliance with the enemy Goths in order to attack Rome. Each new misfortune hits the aged, tired Titus with heavier impact. Eventually, he begins to act oddly and everyone assumes that he is crazy.

Tamora tries to capitalize on his seeming madness by pretending to be the figure of Revenge, come to offer him justice if Titus will only convince Lucius to cease attacking Rome. Titus, having feigned his madness all along, tricks her, captures her sons, kills them, and makes pie out of them. He feeds this pie to their mother in the final scene, after which he kills both Tamora and Lavinia, his own daughter. A rash of killings ensue; the only people left alive are Marcus, Lucius, Young Lucius, and Aaron. Lucius has the unrepentant Aaron buried alive, and Tamora’s corpse thrown to the beasts. He becomes the new emperor of Rome.’ Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/titus/summary.html

Before I started reading this play, I had read that it is Shakespeare’s bloodiest and most violent play. To an extent you come to expect it in a Shakespearean tragedy, but nothing had quite prepared me for the volume of unnecessary violence in the play. The number of limbs getting hacked off was positively disturbing! However, the plot itself was interesting and engaging, although (as is often the case with a Shakespeare play) it did take me a while to work out the relationships between the characters and to remember who was who!

I was disappointed with the end of the play however, as the climax that was building up throughout the play never really came to much. However, Shakespeare’s eloquent description and witty remarks make up for the sometimes disappointing plot. It isn’t a Shakespeare play I had ever considered reading, and reminded me of Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Tamburlaine’ due to the amount of extreme violence; however, I strangely enjoyed it for reasons that I cannot fathom. I think that the main reason that I felt drawn to it was because of the carefully calculated plot, which is exciting and fast-paced.

In conclusion, this play is guaranteed to make your stomach churn, and yet you cannot help feeling drawn in by the action. As Shakespeare plays go, it was pretty easy to grasp the plot so it may be a good one for people who don’t often read a lot of Shakespeare!

Favourite Quotes: TAMORA: ‘And when they show’d me this abhorred pit / They told me, here, at dead time of night / A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes / Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins / Would make such fearful and confused cries / as any mortal body hearing it / Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly …’ (Act II, Scene III)

And for pure comedy value:

CHIRON: ‘Thou hast undone our mother’
AARON: ‘Villain, I have done thy mother.’ (Act IV, Scene II)

Rating: 6/10

Reading List #2

As I have just finished the last book on my first reading list, I have decided to share my next one with you! As my summer holiday is slipping away quickly, I have decided that it is time to tackle my university reading list. In my first semester, I will be doing a Shakespeare module and a Gothic module, but I still want to read some of my own books while I have time! So I have decided that I will read a Shakespeare play, Gothic novel, Shakespeare play, book of choice, Shakespeare play, Gothic novel…etc. So, here are my first ten plays/books to read!

1.Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare

2. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe  GOTHIC 

3. King Richard the Second by William Shakespeare

4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

5.The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

6. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle GOTHIC

7. King Henry the Fifth by William Shakespeare

8. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

9. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

10. Dracula by Bram Stoker GOTHIC

So this should keep me busy for a while! Plus, I still have the reviews from the last two books I read, (Dr Jekyll and Mr Holmes and Elsewhere) so keep an eye out for these! And of course I will be reviewing all of these as soon as I have finished them!

Also, if you haven’t had chance yet but you are interested in doing so, I would appreciate it if you would have a look at the article that I wrote about the Horror Night as part of our local literary festival. Thank you!