One of my first exposures, if not the first, to some works of great literature came from playing the card game, Authors, with friends in the neighborhood. The girls across the street owned the game, and we often played it hour after hour on their breezeway in the summer. For those who have never heard of the game, Authors was rather like playing the card game Fish with specifics. The deck was made up of about forty or so authors; each author's face was on each of four cards that also had one of his (or her as Louisa Mae Alcott was part of the deck) works on the card. The object of the game was to "collect" the most authors (and each of the works, called, appropriately enough, a book) to win.
From Charles Dickens to Washington Irving to James Fennimore Cooper, this was how I first learned of the authors themselves as well as some of their more famous writings. From these games, I had a better idea of how Mark Twain and Alfred, Lord Tennyson must have looked like, to name just a few.
I must admit that even now I have not read all of the poetry and books written by these authors (from the game), but when I came across them in classes or referenced elsewhere, I was probably more familiar with them and their works than most people my age.
In particular, one of the authors was Shakespeare. On the cards were the following works:
Romeo and Juliet
Of the four of them, I have had the occasion to have read and studied the first three while in school. The Tempest, however, I have neither read, nor studied. But recently, I have read three other books that have referenced this play in some fashion. The Horseman's Daughter (by Susan Wiggs) had a dog named Caliban, which was named after a character in the play. The daughter had read the play with her father so was familiar with the characters. The Friendly Persuasion (by Jessamyn West) also had a reference or two to the characters of The Tempest. And now I am reading Orson Scott Card's Shadow of the Giant, which refers to some of the characters like Prospero and Caliban.
Again, there are connections to be found everywhere. Sometimes it is the use of the same, new word that resonates between books; other times, it is the subject matter or theme, and as in this case, it is the references between the work (and its characters).
Perhaps, it is time that I read The Tempest to find out what all these other characters know that I don't.
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