27 March 2019

Finished Henry VI Part 1, with its first battle scene, the Battle of St. Albans, now, a posh bedroom suburb 35 Km north of London.

Today St Alban’s real estate values seem always increasing, perhaps even after the 2008 crash, especially for properties spiffled-up for wealthy foreigners: but if Falstaff is right and a proper civil war should break out, then one might yet buy land in England “as cheap of stinking mackerel”: and the sight of a young Richard crook-back hacking or gunning foes to death outside your window may very well have brought on a clangor in Parliament to end this princely war.

The princes with tragic necessity discover that they are being driven into a conflict much worse than Henry IV’s minor and unnamed border skirmishes. They are, especially the older ones, notably willing to compromise as when York agrees to become king, in act I sc 1, after Henry’s death: but this weak compromise is immediately destroyed by a sort of dark meta-faction consisting of the younger and more subaltern peers on both sides of the conflict; for example, Richard Crookback and Clifford both argue, Richard as ea hardcore Yorkist, Clifford as a hardcore Lancastrian, for war,. This meta-faction is Fascistic in the late Tony Judt’s sense as an intolerant “children’s crusade” which finds old men like Hindenburg useless, in a way that after World War II caused the return of old farts like Adenauer and DeGaulle to positions of power.

Embarking now on Henry VI part 3 I have decided to abandon the Wells-Taylor nomenclature for the traditional nomenclature even though Wells, Taylor et al. demonstrate that the traditional names obscure a false order of writing. The contrived Wells-Taylor name encapsulates, I believe, a rather vainglorious desire to have the reader acknowledge their genius at finding true sequence of writing which is sure to irritate after time passes.

The affectation should be, and, as it seems, is being extinguished over time for “parts 1..3” as readers and scholars discover no need to remind themselves of a fact useless in most play analysis.


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