Bedlam by Greg Hollingshead

By Greg Hollingshead

Conspiracies and paranoia sweep throughout England within the aftermath of the French Revolution, touchdown tea dealer James Tilly Matthews in Bethlem sanatorium, a infamous, crumbling domestic for the insane. even if delusional, Matthews additionally seems to be incarcerated for unspecified political purposes, a pawn in a merciless video game of ambition and gear.

Extraordinarily evocative of time and position, Bedlam sweeps the reader right into a international teetering among darkness and lightweight, love and hate. Intellectually bold and profoundly relocating, this can be one other masterwork from a Governor General's Award– profitable writer.

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Whereas King John is ‘a dastardly criminal’, ‘we cannot refrain from yielding a certain tribute of admiration to the bolder malefactor, who ventures on the daring experiment of choosing evil for his good’ (1875: 189). Of Richard II, Dowden notes: Life is to Richard a show, a succession of images; and to put himself into accord with the aesthetic requirements of his position is Richard’s first necessity. He is equal to playing any part gracefully which he is called upon by circumstances to enact.

Both lost their crowns owing to their mismanagement and imbecility; the one from a thoughtless, wilful abuse of power, the other from an indifference to it . . Richard bewails the loss of the kingly power only as it was the means of gratifying his pride and luxury; Henry regards it only as a means of doing right, and is less desirous of the advantages to be derived from possessing it than afraid of exercising it wrong. (1998: I, 202) Hazlitt deplored the adaptations that passed for Shakespeare on the stage, arguing, in the context of Cibber’s Richard III (see pp.

As we like to gaze at a panther or a young lion in their cages in the Tower, and catch a pleasing horror from their glistening eyes, their velvet paws and dreadless roar, so we take our very romantic, heroic, patriotic, and poetical delight in the boasts and feats of our younger Harry, as they appear on the stage and are confined to lines of ten syllables; where no blood follows the stroke that wounds our ears, where no harvest bends beneath horses’ hoofs, no city flames, no little child is butchered, no dead men’s bodies are found piled on heaps and festering the next morning – in the orchestra!

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