28 April 2013: Portrait of a Granddaughter
Congee, and Coriolanus in my Grand High Shakespeare Re-Reading. Coriolanus has long been one of my favorite plays: although written in the 17th century and not during Shakespeare’s annos mirabulos 1596-99 it has the solidity of structure of Roman architecture, and Shakespeare’s 16th century output. One also rather likes the old dog, always slaying Volscians and ranting on and on about what a great guy he is and what scum the tribunes are, literally from scene 1 of act 1.
Antecedents of Coriolanus include Talbot in Henry VI Part 1 but Coriolanus is a much darker character than “the Talbot” who slays Frenchmen and escapes mad duchesses and their dwarves cheerfully by summoning his compatriots. Coriolanus may, and I speculate, express a hatred Shakespeare was beginning to feel for money-grubbing colleagues that wanted him to write masques and mirthful comic shows. His anti-type or foil? Timon of Athens: the Patricians of ancient Rome escaped property relations.
The best recent production is on DVD and stars Ralph Fiennes as Coriolanus and Vanessa Redgrave as his Mom, Volumnia.
Workout: 20 minutes “supine angel” first thing.
Edward G. Nilges, “Portrait of a Granddaughter”, Pencil, April 2013