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nwhyte linked to this post about the film Anonymous, which has… 
23rd-Sep-2011 09:28 am
nwhyte linked to this post about the film Anonymous, which has removed any lingering doubts about whether I should go see it in a theater. Because the moment we hit the following dialogue exchange...

Oxford: “Romeo and Juliet. A romantic tragedy in iambic pentameter.”
Jonson: “ALL OF IT? Is it possible?”
Oxford: “Of course.”

...I would be on the floor. Howling. And would probably need to be carried out. In a straight-jacket. Which would be unkind to the others in the theater. Though possibly less unkind than the experience of watching this movie.

So, okay, I have only an interested amateur's grasp of the literary history of this period. Yes, iambic pentameter blank verse was an important innovation for drama of the period - if you read the early Elizabethan dramas, the insistence on rhyming couplets does get rather clunky.

But, laying aside the inconvenient historical fact that blank verse iambic pentameter was in routine use well before Romeo and Juliet (and indeed, for more than a decade before Ben Jonson was born), I have a tremendously hard time imagining a wide-eyed Ben Jonson reacting with the line given above. Ben Jonson is being played by Sebastian Armesto in this film - if he manages to sell that line, he deserves an Oscar.
23rd-Sep-2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
AHAHAHAA. Ben Jonson wrote in iambic pentameter. (Technically blank verse, which is unrhymed iambic pentameter.)

I think "Volpone" is entirely blank verse.

That is the silliest line ever.
23rd-Sep-2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
which has removed any lingering doubts about whether I should go see it in a theater

It's removed any lingering doubts about whether I should bother to see it at all. If I need a fix of pretty Elizabethan drama, I can get it in far less stupid packaging.
23rd-Sep-2011 09:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think it's going on my Netflix queue (do I have to say Qwikster queue now?) either.

I find myself bizarrely disappointed. I was never expecting the movie to be good, but usually you can give the Oxfordians credit for ingenuity in explaining away the little historical inconveniences to their preferred theory. (Like their guy being dead long before most of the plays were produced.) This just sounds dumb.
24th-Sep-2011 05:20 am (UTC)
Hee. Kinda reminds me of Angels and Demons, where ambigrams are treated as this incredibly arcane thing that it would take an amazing degree of ingenuity to even think of, and some kinda superhuman genius to actually create.
24th-Sep-2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
Or like in The DaVinci Code (the book, I haven't ever seen the movie), where the allegedly hotshot mathematician/cryptographer spends forever looking at the sequence of numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13... and wondering what it could possibly be! (Sigh, one practically expects this sort of thing with math.)
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