Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

From Russia with Love

Grigori Kozintsev's Hamlet
Every once in a while I get a huge spike in views of this blog in Russia. While I'd love to think that I've suddenly picked up a lot of fans in Moscow and Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg, the reality is that some Russian bot is probing Kattomic Energy for weak spots. The bots hang out for about a week, sending my view count sky high, and then they slink back to wherever they came from.

I found myself wondering what Shakespeare thought of Russia, if he thought of Russia at all. Shakespeare's life spanned the 16th and 17th centuries and by then, Moscow was a huge cultural center. It was a principality known to the English as "Muscovy." That land pops up a couple of times in Shakespeare's plays, most notably in Act V, Scene III of Love's Labour's Lost when Rosaline asks another character why he looks so  under the weather: 

Why look you pale?
Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy. 

In searching for Shakespeare/Muscovy links, I ran across this article about the way Soviet Russia viewed Ophelia. Poor Ophelia.  Using Grigori Kozintsev's film version of Hamlet as a source, the article deconstructs her "corruption." It's interesting reading.

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