London, The Tempest, and The Importance of Being Earnest

One can take quite a long holiday from blog-posting, but this one has a hard time taking a break from all things British. So to catch up with myself, here are the latest confessions:

I have been reading:

London: The Autobiography by Jon E. Lewis

It amazes me how far back the history of London stretches. Yes, I know England has its own ancient history, but I didn’t realize that London had its origins 2000 years ago under the name Londinium from the occupying Romans. No wonder this city has such a strong personality. It has survived life-change from the Romans to the Anglo-Saxons to the Vikings to the Normans and so on, for centuries upon centuries.

I have been watching:

The Tempest

William Shakespeare’s play is reborn rather startingly in this modern film. Some of the elements come across as bizarre (the scenes with Ben Wishaw as a male/female spirit have a strange combination of mythology and hallucination). At first I was hesitant about Prospero being rewritten as a female, but Helen Mirren pulled off the role with that strong dignity that she can portray so well. The comic element of Alfred Molina and Russell Brand (of all people) keeps you laughing, while the romantic element left a little wanting, in my opinion. But as a whole, I rather think father William would have enjoyed it.

And while we’re on The Tempest:

Miranda and the Tempest by John William Waterhouse is a gorgeous painting, a masterpiece of the Pre-Raphaelites. It hangs from my wall, reverse-mirroring the sunny skies outside with its stormy prospects. I love it.

I have been studying:

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

And my conclusion is: Earnest never gets old, and I learn something new each time I read it. If you would care to read my thoughts on contradictory truths and Victorian society satirized, here is my article on HubPages.

And I must not forget:

Downton Abbey.

I am rewatching the first season, and haven’t seen all of the second yet, so no spoilers please! Did you know there is a current sweepstakes to win a trip to Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey? You can enter here. Alas for me, the contest is only open for residents of the 48 contiguous states. That means no Hawaii.

And so that is the thought-life in summary of this Anglophile. Cheers until next time, and drink more tea!



Filed under Books, History, Movies

4 responses to “London, The Tempest, and The Importance of Being Earnest

  1. So fun! Thanks for sharing! I just started following your blog- hopefully you will check mine out. I do write quite a bit about England. Hopefully you are able to visit someday! Happy Pancake Day :)

  2. Teresa

    That book, London The Autobiography, sounds really interesting. I really like history, the older the better, so I might have to read that at some point.

    I never realised that there’s a new(ish) film of The Tempest. Not one of Shakespeare’s plays that I’m very familliar with, but I have a bit of a thing for Russell Brand, so that alone is a good enough reason for me to watch it :) Also, I’ve never read The Importance of Being Earnest, but I’ve seen the film with Colin Firth and Rupert Everett in, thought it was pretty good.

    • Definitely check out the London book if you are into history – it’s so fascinating! I haven’t read very far yet, but I’ve already learned so much. The Earnest movie you mentioned is great, isn’t it? I like it a lot, but I do recommend reading the play. The film cuts out a lot of Wilde’s more subtle satire.

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