I just finished The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare as part of The Literary Life Podcast 20 for 2020 Reading Challenge. I finally feel like I understood, appreciated, and got a lot out of a Shakespeare play! It took a lot of work.
I’m kind of embarrassed to say I have a degree in English. I took two semesters of Shakespeare in college, but I am only just now appreciating him. Probably because when I was in school I was taking 18 credits a semester, working part time, and trying to have a social life. Now I’m in no rush to just “get through” the plays.
This was my attack plan and resources I used:
- Read a summary of the play in Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit & Arthur Rackham before reading the play. In this book the stories are told in narrative form. Reading the story before reading the play really helped me understand what was going on so I could enjoy the language more.
- I used No Fear Shakespeare The Winter’s Tale to read the play, so if I got lost or needed clarification I could use the modern English version which is paired with the original text.
- After reading each act I listened to The Literary Life Podcast which corresponded. This was amazing because so much background information, the structural elements, history, and language used were discussed.
- When I finished the play I read the corresponding chapter in Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare by Isaac Asimov. This guide highlights the historical, mythological, and geographical elements in Shakespeare’s plays and explains each.
I will absolutely be reading more Shakespeare, and rereading more Shakespeare, going forward as I know I will get more out of each play with each reading. I’m so glad this category was on this challenge!
What’s your favorite Shakespeare play?
Check out the “What I’m Reading” page for more about what I’ve been reading.
For more podcasts about Shakespeare’s plays check out The Plays the Thing. I will be using them for more Shakespeare plays going forward, they just haven’t done The Winter’s Tale yet.
*Links are Amazon Affiliate links*