Hanging with the Andronici…

Still with Titus Andronicus. Whenever I’m trying to really study Shakespeare as opposed to reading for fun (is this boy sane?), I always find that I gravitate towards the Arden version. The individual volumes of the Arden Shakespeare are generally the best informed, best researched with the best grasp of the play’s background. This certainly works with Titus Andronicus, although you’ll need to avoid the 2nd edition which isn’t worth the admission price purely because the editor didn’t like the play. The third edition, however, has many reasons you should acquire it. Not least is the pithy, witty and enthusiastic style of its editor, Jonathan Bate. Another reason is the cover artwork which would be worth purchasing if you didn’t want the play. The artwork is by one Dennis Leigh who seems to have reached peaks in many disciplines. Even if you haven’t heard of him, and don’t know me personally enough to have had your ear bent by my enthusiasm for his work, you may have come across him in his alter-ego of John Foxx. Anyway, here’s a reproduction of the cover:

Close inspection of the image reveals a man’s image, on the forehead, holding a suffering child and a female figure whose image ends before the hand at the point it meets the mouth of the main image. With depictions of torture running up both cheeks, we have an extraordinary image which wordlessly (suitably) covers the main themes of the play. Excellent!

For those who are a little less inclined to the highbrow, it’s worth noting that John Foxx and Louis Gordon will only be playing one UK gig this year. It will be at the Cargo, in North London in October (16th). I’ll see you there. Those who want to aim for the middle ground might want to try Foxx’s solo concert in Leeds where he will accompany sections of his Quiet Man prose on acoustic piano (7th November). I’ll be there too – should be interesting. I’m intrigued.

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