My actual book reading was fairly limited in August. I finished up Fielding's wonderful 'Tom Jones' and I'll write about that sometime soon. Since then, I've wandered a bit through short stories and other things. The biggest concentrated reading that I've done has been non-Shakespearean plays. I've got an old text book called 'Masters of Modern Drama' and I've been reading through it. In this past month, I've read several plays that are new to me:
- Ibsen's 'Peer Gynt' - Loved this. Peer Gynt is a larger than life story-teller/rogue from a small town in Norway. He gets in serious trouble, is nearly married to a troll princess and then flees to the larger world. Near the end of his life, he works hard to cheat death and goes through a journey of self-discovery. Great stuff.
- Ibesen's 'Ghosts' - A very realistic play about how societal rules require people to sin in the name of good and do good things in violation of law. This is much more like the Ibsen that I've read in the past. Disturbing and thought provoking.
- Strindberg's 'Miss Julie' - Another play about societal bonds and the havoc they can wreak. I thought it was only ok, but I can see how a good performance of this could be devastating.
- Strindberg's 'The Ghost Sonata' - A dreamlike play, again with the hint of death and a strong sense of people having far too much control over others.
- Maeterlinck's 'The Intruder' - This is a short, atmospheric play that could be terrifying. It all takes place in one room as a family gathers with a blind grandfather. They all sense...something...come into the house. They fear for death. Shivers!
- von Hofmannshtal's 'Death and the Fool' - Another short play about death, but this one all in verse. I'll have to take another run at this when I'm in the right place, but as it is, I think I rushed through and missed out.
- Synge's 'Playboy of the Western World' - An interesting Irish drama about how glamour and infamy can change people. Apparently it caused riots when it first appeared on stage.
- Yeat's 'At the Hawk Well' - A small, very arty play by William Butler Yeats, better known as a poet. This is the type of play that people think of when they think of artists making art only for artists.
- Cocteau's 'Orpheus' - Another arty play, but I loved this one. A retelling of Orpheus with some modern twists and some stage trickery. Would love to see it on the stage.