14 May 2013

First thing workout (20 minutes supine dancing). A brown, fluffy congee: an egg with Maggi Seasoning: finished the Grand High Re-Read of Shakespeare’s King John. Another 25 minute workout at 9:45 in the physio room.

King John is a 12th century panorama with the best scenes being the piteous way in which Prince Arthur (the rightful but damned inconvenient heir to the throne) pleads with the common but naturally and ultimately noble Hubert for his eyes (Hubert having been dispatched by John to roast Arthur’s eyes in the charming High Mediaeval Era way). Then, perhaps unintentionally, Arthur commits suicide by leaping from the tower in which he’s immured.

And of course the Bastard, an illegitimate son of Richard Coeur de Lion, is the best-drafted character in the play, a sardonic but highly intelligent commentator or super-Chorus who often speaks in “aside” to the audience.

For John’s is a world haunted by the chivalrous Lionheart, who is to the 12th century world of King John as Edward III is to the 15th century: both are dead paragons besides which all are found wanting including King John in his eponymous play and Henry in in Henry VI 1/2.

Richard Lionheart and Edward III represent an ideal of masculinity innocently celebrated by lesser intellects than Shakespeare…who knew that such forms of masculinity, by necessarily creating resistance, are not the solution to governance. Shakespeare’s King John may be “ineffectual” if we compare him to some silly paragon (Edward I, Richard Lionheart, Edward III, Henry V) but his reign wasn’t the worst either.

Shakespeare clearly thinks highly of Falconbridge, the Bastard, an intellectual who would make the best king but is completely checked by his bastardy. The Bastard’s speeches are the best in the play: “sweet, sweet poison for the age’s tooth” to mean flattery, “commodity” (self-interest) and other lines that integrate didactic purpose with entertainment when the Bastard speaks “aside” to the audience with perfect form.

This Grand High Re-Read continues to profit because it’s like swimming with open eyes under the sea, or Clarence’s drowning dream in Richard III, witnessing “great anchors, heaps of pearl…a thousand men that fishes gnawed upon”: you notice things missing in performance, whether they be lines unduly cut or spoken by an actor who doesn’t know what they mean. I could never figure out the significance of Titania’s friendship with the changeling’s mother nor why the sails of merchant ships grew “big bellied” in watching a performance.

Turning to the project in which I use literary insights with insights from “object oriented programming”: I am writing an essay to document the project and ensure I know what I mean, and simultaneously trying to fit some sort of programming support, whether c++, Java or even Fortran, on a small hard drive on the MacBook Air.

I’ve installed Java. But will the sdk fit? I worry that no actual software development can be done on an Air and that I’ll have to do it on my Powerbook with the cracked screen. The Air’s hard disk is too small to hold xCode or even just the command line tools…unless perhaps I erase files like crazy, and am left with little file space.

I need to focus on the essay about what it really is to compare two texts: insights from object-oriented development show that it is not what we think. The difference file is probably a minimal set of changes needed to transform one text to the other, so discovering this set can be tricky.


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