As we went out into the still night our hearts were stronger, our minds brighter, our courage high, and in the quiet stars above brooded the certain promise of victorious and lasting peace. Marston described this striking phenomenon of quoting Shakespeare and of alluding to the French Wars in appropriately modernist terms.
Agincourt was the talk of the town, or the talk of the trenches, rather. Dr Johnson had been decidedly sardonic when, in the 18 th century, he suggested a performance of Henry V at Versailles. As early as October , George Russell noted:.
In twelve months from now [now being October ] the five hundredth anniversary of the triumphant prediction will have come round, and by that time the words, already famous, will have acquired a new and an even more glorious significance. For St. It is a moment for looking forward and for looking back.
Scene I. Agincourt Evening after the Battle Certainly, as Thomas Barclay noted in his entente history entitled Angleterre et France of , it was no longer possible for young people growing up in France at the time, to imagine a past when the prevailing hatred towards the English would ever find a proper reason to make popular a new war with England, but a bold focus in on the victory of cannot have been appreciated by all.
Band, or about the costumes and armour rented in Rouen for the occasion. It was mounted at the Y.
It is worth taking a closer look at this production presented under the patronage of the British and Belgian base commanders at Calais, as well as the Governor and the Mayor of the town, with proceeds intended for the Star and Garter Home for Disabled Soldiers and Sailors. In this army setting, for example, with a rehearsal time of three weeks, there were no understudies, and this was a liability when troop movements were obviously unpredictable and random.
In the event, the actor playing Henry V received orders to move on the day of the performance itself, but, as we learn, disaster was fortunately averted. As the facts about the tercentenary celebrations in Calais reveal, much else could be read and was read into the play. The Harfleur scene, then, was balanced by scenes that furthered the rapprochement and entente between the enemy nations. In the event, the part of Katherine was played by Marthe West, a local actress of Anglo-Calais descent. Both local newspapers described how, at the end of the evening, all members of the audience received a souvenir.
Of course, the tercentenary celebrations at Calais were not a spontaneous expression of jingoism, but a carefully managed campaign under the aegis of the entente cordiale , meant to have the French and the English see eye to eye, now and forever. In this history, the French themselves may not have been as apt to quote Shakespeare as frequently as their cross-Channel neighbours, but they did not remain silent.
And when they turned to Shakespeare in an attempt to capture more accurately the Anglo-French relations of the time, they did not hesitate to quote from the A-play either, the Azincourt play, Henry V.
From an immense terrace of Elsinore which extends from Basle to Cologne, and touches the sands of Nieuport, the marshes of the Somme, the chalk of Champagne, and the granite of Alsace, the Hamlet of Europe now looks upon millions of ghosts. But he is an intellectual Hamlet. He meditates upon the life and death of truths.
It is an image that has very much become part of our current thinking about Europe and European culture. These also suggest that his image of Hamlet was very much a native, French invention, although this is not to say that it was not also prompted by other German and British uses of the Shakespearean character in the political arena. Poor Herr Von Yorick! You must not make too free with its nickname unless you know it well, for it is a full-blown, and dignified section of the British Army.
In the spring of , the British Government passed the Military Service Act, introducing conscription. Hence, the British officer, like a present-day Hamlet, is made to address the same skull and spike helmet that we saw the Emperor study earlier.
Like many young men of the time, the boys of King Edward VI School saw the outbreak of World War I as an opportunity for bravery and excitement. By the time . Like many young men of the time, the boys of King Edward VI School saw the outbreak of the First World War as an opportunity for bravery and excitement.
Poor Bochy! One final example is the Offertoire , a collection of sketches written by Fernand Pignatel while on duty in the trenches in , a collection of sketches illustrated by his companion, Pierre Gerbaud. The concurrence of the entente cordiale and the political alliance produced a unique moment in European history, demonstrating how, among other things, Shakespeare could function as a national, a supranational, or a European genius.
There is a large collection of books, in which the School features, or that have been written by former students. In the Archive acquired the personal correspondence and manuscripts of Richard Spender These books are available from the Archive. To learn more about the involvement in WW1 of K. The book also contains two appreciations of Richard's poetry. Additions to the Archive are always welcome.