A Shakespearean Glance at the People and Issues of the Day.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Purpose of Bardseyeview

Bardseyeview is a blog which looks at the events and people of today through the prism of Shakespeare's poetry and thought.

The idea for Bardseye occurred to me during a trip to Scotland, when the train my wife and I were traveling on stopped at a station and I looked up and saw a sign saying, "Burnam." Of course this was the Burnam Shakespeare uses in Macbeth, whose woods the Witches promise will move to Dunsinane before Macbeth will become vulnerable to his enemies.

I had begun a more personal blog a month before, and had enjoyed emptying my soul onto the internet until, after about a month of writing, I realized that my soul had been thoroughly emptied. The sign for Burnam sent me in a welcome direction. With Shakespeare, there are no worries about running out, and more to the point, I have a chance to present to readers the beauty, power and relevance of western civilization's central writer.

Because Bardseye is a blog, my personal opinions are included. I think the last thing we should do with our greatest minds is to put them up on a shelf marked "For Aesthetic Use Only – Do not Use to Engage or Persuade." Plus it's a blog, one voice out of millions. If you feel I'm hijacking Shakespeare, I invite you to hijack him right back. He is our common property, after all. As in a sense we are his.

Bardseye is intended for all who are interested, but I feel a specific desire to make it accessible to students and to those adult readers - including non-native English speakers - who may have missed their first opportunity to connect themselves to Shakespeare. If you are such a reader, you may now find a daily dose of plot explanation, excerpted poetry, historical background and thoughtful meditation on Shakespeare's meaning a pleasant and gentle way to cozy up to the Bard.

Again, for new readers of Shakespeare, I suspect that after one or two years of visiting Bardseyeview, you will be familiar with the story lines, characters and ideas of Shakespeare's plays. More importantly, you will begin to break through the grammatical barriers (which are real but not overwhelming; these difficulties fall away naturally with time and exposure), and will encounter the transforming experience that reading Shakespeare uniquely provides.


And P.S. If you enjoy bardseyeview and find yourself a regular reader, please do consider letting others know. My own gratification comes only from knowing that readers are out there, throughout the Theater of the Globe, absorbing Shakespeare.

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