Regency, This Week In History

This Week In History: May 18-24


May 18, 1803: The United Kingdom revokes the Treaty of Amiens and declares war on France.

May 19, 1897: Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol.

May 20, 1609: Shakespeare’s sonnets are first published in London by Thomas Thorpe.

May 21, 1502: The island of Saint Helena is discovered by the Portuguese explorer Jaõa da Nova.

May 22, 1816: A mob in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England riots over high unemployment and rising grain costs.

May 23, 1813: South American independence leader Simon Bolivar enters Mérida and is proclaimed El Libertador (“The Liberator”).

May 24, 1798: The Irish Rebellion of 1798 begins, led by the United Irishmen against British rule.







Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites: Shakespeare Games

Reindeer aren’t the only ones playing games this holiday season–we can too! Our Friday Favorite this week tests your intellect and memory while The Bard himself plays Game Show Host. Check out Modern Library’s Shakespeare Games:

  • Shakespeare Aptitude Test–translate Shakespeare’s phrases into modern English
  • What’s in a Name–identify characters in Shakespeare’s works so Juliet can choose a new suitor (before Brutus does away with them)
  • Hamlet’s Duel–help Hamlet beat Laertes in a duel by answering questions quickly and accurately
  • Name That Play–name the Shakespearean play based on a one-line quote

Shakespeare Games

Books, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: British Men Poetry & Prose



My good friend Emily shared this with me earlier in the week, and I haven’t been the same since 🙂

For your listening pleasure, this week’s Favorite is a playlist put together by 8tracks user SADarcy. It includes a Pride and Prejudice excerpt read by Matthew Macfaddyen, Several Shakespeare sonnets read by David Tennant, and an excerpt of North and South read by Richard Armitage. Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch also feature prominently, and Kenneth Branagh and Alan Rickman make appearances as well.


Listen here.

See the full list of poems and excerpts here.




Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: Shakespeare Uncovered

Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets were a hot topic during the Regency. Love them or hate them, most educated people had read them (or pretended to). But in this day and age, Shakespeare is something crammed down our throats in school, something we endure like a bad dentist appointment. Wouldn’t it be nice instead to parse out a play, have it make sense, and enjoy the process?

Now you can!

PBS produced a six-part series called Shakespeare Uncovered earlier this year. Each episode follows a renowned actor as s/he researches one of The Bard’s plays (or pair of connected plays), consulting historians, Shakespearean scholars, and other actors in an effort to find the meaning and the heart inside the story.

Shakespeare Uncovered

As much as I can appreciate the talent Shakespeare clearly possessed, I’ve never been a fan. But watching this series helped me to look at his works from a historical and a literary point of view, helped me to get past the fudging of facts and mind-numbing word games. I really enjoyed the whole series, and I learned a lot too!

You can catch the whole series on Netflix or on PBS’s website.

Books, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: David Tennant Reads…Everything

If you are a fan of audiobooks–or David Tennant–then this week’s Favorite is a special treat.

David Tennant

Best know as The Doctor in the British television series Doctor Who, David Tennant has had an extensive audio career as well. He’s read everything from children’s books to Shakespeare’s sonnets to James Bond, in a variety of accents. Don’t believe me? Check out the list of his performances, complete with synopses and audio clips!

Here’s a sampling:

Excerpt from The Beast of Clawstone Castle, in which we hear David’s best American accent–not bad, except for his pronunciation of “Potomac” 🙂

Excerpt from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in a very English Bond voice.

Excerpt from From Shakespeare With Love (Sonnets 154 and 18) in David’s natural Scottish accent.

If you’re interested in other sexy voices reading audiobooks, check out my post about Richard Armitage and his foray into Georgette Heyer novels.