The History of Literature #257 Shakespeare’s Best | Sonnet 116 (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds”)

Continuing the “Shakespeare on Thursdays” theme for August, Jacke takes a look at Sonnet 116 (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds”), another one of Shakespeare’s most beloved and well known sonnets. What does the poem say about love? How does it fit into the world of weddings? And what does it have for readers today?

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Scenes from a Marriage (A Jacke Wilson Objectino)

Back by popular demand… it’s an Objectino! This time, a scene from a marriage….

A JACKE WILSON OBJECTINO*

HIM: Okay, I think I’ll head out to the dentist’s office.

HER: Already? Your appointment’s not for twenty minutes. It takes ten minutes to get there.

HIM: Well, by the time I park, get checked in…

HER: You could wait here five minutes and still make it in plenty of time.

HIM: Why would I wait here? I’m ready to go. Maybe they can take me early, and I can just get on with my day. What if I hit traffic or something?

HER: You just don’t want to sit here and try to relax, do you? Because then you’d think about yourself. And how much you hate yourself. That would be five minutes of torture, wouldn’t it?

HIM: Maybe I’ll have car trouble. Maybe their parking lot will be under construction…

HER: Maybe you’ll never have to spend five minutes alone with your own thoughts. Ever again.

HIM: WELL IF I LEAVE NOW IT’S A POSSIBILITY!!!!


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A Marriage at Odds (A Jacke Wilson Objectino)

Time for another Objectino!* This one comes straight from the underbelly of a marriage…

A JACKE WILSON OBJECTINO

WIFE: [looking out the window] Oh great. It’s raining out. What are the odds that today is Saturday?
HUSBAND: One in seven.
WIFE: [exasperated] You know what I mean. It was sunny all week when I was stuck in that stupid office. What are the chances that the one day of rain we get this whole week happens to be on the weekend?
HUSBAND: Two in seven.

WIFE: I hate you sometimes.


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Getting Dumped by Charlotte Brontë

From the Internet’s best magpie Maria Popova comes the tale of Charlotte Brontë turning down her suitor’s proposal of marriage. As Popova mentions, it’s hard to top this as an example of “it’s not you it’s me.” I’m not sure what my favorite part is, so I bolded a few.

My dear Sir

Before answering your letter, I might have spent a long time in consideration of its subject; but as from the first moment of its reception and perusal I determined on which course to pursue, it seemed to me that delay was wholly unnecessary.

You are aware that I have many reasons to feel gratified to your family, that I have peculiar reasons for affection towards one at least of your sisters, and also that I highly esteem yourself. Do not therefore accuse me of wrong motives when I say that my answer to your proposal must be a decided negative. In forming this decision — I trust I have listened to the dictates of conscience more than to those [of] inclination; I have no personal repugnance to the idea of a union with you — but I feel convinced that mine is not the sort of disposition calculated to form the happiness of a man like you. It has always been my habit to study the character of those amongst whom I chance to be thrown, and I think I know yours and can imagine what description of woman would suit you for a wife. Her character should not be too marked, ardent and original — her temper should be mild, her piety undoubted, her spirits even and cheerful, and her “personal attractions” sufficient to please your eye and gratify your just pride. As for me, you do not know me, I am not this serious, grave, cool-headed individual you suppose — you would think me romantic and [eccentric — you would] say I was satirical and [severe]. [However, I scorn] deceit and I will never for the sake of attaining the distinction of matrimony and escaping the stigma of an old maid take a worthy man whom I am conscious I cannot render happy.

[…]

Farewell—! I shall always be glad to hear from you as a friend

Believe me
Yours truly
C Brontë

How awesome is this? Makes me want to read Jane Eyre all over again. (Along with the book this came from, Hell Hath No Fury: Women’s Letters from the End of the Affair by Anna Holmes.)

And let’s all watch this again. Forty-four seconds with the great Orson Welles, if for no other reason than to recall how awesome his voice was:

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons