Reading the Folio

Alright, so I decided that since I am often strained for something to write about I would take on a challenge, or project, so over the next several months I will be reading the complete works of Shakespeare in chronological order.


I did a little research and will be reading the plays and poems in the order that Shakespeare wrote them. There is some debate about the exact order, but I will be going with the order I found to be the most widespread. Therefore, I will be starting with Henry VI parts 1,2, and 3. I’m going to start with Part One because I want to read the three parts in numerical order and they seem to have been written around the same time.

Each reading will begin with an Introduction to play from Shakespeare without the Boring Bits, by Peter Ackroyd and then a discussion about what I look forward to about the play. Then, I will look at the history of Shakespeare’s personal life at that time and the historical context (either the climate at the time of writing, or the historical facts presented in the history plays). After that I will read and discuss each Act individually. At the end, I will read about the play in Shakepeare: The Invention of the Human by Harold Bloom, and write a long reflection of the play. Finally, I will discuss how the play may be adapted into my program idea, and the unique themes and challenges the play presents.

If inspiration strikes, I may blog about other things in between these blogs, but this project will give me steady stream of content 🙂

3 thoughts on “Reading the Folio

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  1. Hi, thanks for following my blog License of Ink–I’m now following yours, too. I like what you’re doing here. I look forward to reading about your journey through the plays. I’ve just started rereading them all and am going through them in the order of online classes I’m taking. I just read Richard II for the first time in ages. If you are in the U.S. PBS will be showing the BBC production “The Hollow Crown” this September (and will be streaming it online, too). If you’re in the UK, it’s already been shown. I am in the U.S., and was able to see the first one (Richard II) on Vimeo and it’s amazing. Henry IV is part of the series. Here’s more on that if you want to see.

    1. Awesome! I’ll definitely have to look further into that. I am in the US, so I’ll be checking my local PBS listings for that :). I just read in this article that PBS is streaming Hamlet with Patrick Stewart and David Tennant, so I’m going to be checking that out as soon as possible. What play are you going to be reading next?

      1. Yes, PBS is streaming quite a few great Shakespeare things right now including the great show Shakespeare Uncovered. Go here to find it
        I would highly recommend David Tennant as Hamlet–best Hamlet I’ve ever seen! I’m reading Henry IV, parts one and two next and then Henry V (all in anticipation of “The Hollow Crown”. And Richard II is still up on Vimeo if you want to see how awesome this is before September

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