Keats-Shelley Synchronised Reading Group - Week 1 (Shakespeare)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 12:00

The Keats-Shelley Synchronised Reading Group starts with William Shakespeare - as John Keats suggested in his original letter to George and Georgiana Keats in December 1818:
‘I shall read a passage of Shakespeare every Sunday at ten oClock – you read one at the same time and we shall be as near each other as blind bodies can be in the same room.’

We haven't chosen a passage from a play (sorry John) but a sonnet - number 44 - which we feel embodies the spirit of the project.

Keats-Shelley House will begin reading on Wednesday, 1 April at 12pm GMT / 1 pm CET - and we hope you will join us for, say, 15 minutes or so. We will begin the countdown on Twitter a few minutes earlier.

What you do next is entirely up to you. Join us and Shakespeare. In a silent way. In a loud way out of the window.

If you would prefer to continue with your own book - or read Where the Wild Things Are to the kids - please do so.

The important thing is the reading - alone and together, wherever and whenever we are.

Please tell us where you are reading, what you are reading, who is reading with you, what you are feeling - on Keats-Shelley Twitter or Facebook.

You can find Sonnet 44 below - in its modern version. If the spirit moves you to record your own performance, please do and send it to us:


Sonnet XLIV By William Shakespeare

If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Injurious distance should not stop my way;
For then despite of space I would be brought,
From limits far remote, where thou dost stay.
No matter then although my foot did stand
Upon the farthest earth removed from thee;
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land
As soon as think the place where he would be.
But ah! thought kills me that I am not thought,
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,
But that, so much of earth and water wrought,
I must attend time's leisure with my moan,
Receiving nought by elements so slow
But heavy tears, badges of either's woe.