At the age of 12 I bought my first set of Shakespeare plays. A collection of three tragedies (Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear), I slowly waded my way through it and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t get much of what was going on. However, from then on I have always had the idea in the back of my mind that at some point in the future I would read the complete works of William Shakespeare. With what is likely to turn out to be a healthy dose of hubris, I have decided that 2012 is the year that I will finally tackle the large volume that has sat on my bookshelf for several years.

I am by no means a Shakespeare expert and my only real qualification is a BA in English, which included only one class on Shakespeare, so this blog should absolutely not be taken as a critical analysis of all things Shakespeare. Instead it is a chronicle of my effort to make it through the works of the most revered playwright to come out of the 17th century. But if you want to come across as a little more cultured and throw out references to Shakespeare in conversation (as you do, of course), then this blog ought to serve as a decent cheat sheet.

Being the obsessive planner that I am, I have reviewed the table of contents of my Shakespeare tome, which includes 44 items: 37 plays and 7 pieces of poetry. With 52 weeks in a year, I should have plenty of time to read one play/poetry collection a week and still have several weeks off (look at the hubris and prepare to mock me later).

Now in order to make things a bit more interesting, in addition to reading all of these plays, I also plan to watch and blog about at least one film adaptation of each play as well.* Now depending on the availability of DVDs at the library, the film adaptation may not always be watched in the same week as I read the play but I’ll do my best to make it happen.

So if you’re interested in vicariously experiencing the complete works of Shakespeare (or if you simply want to mock me when my hubris inevitably comes back to bite me, as it would for any self-respecting Shakespearean character), come back next week when I’ll be starting with The Tempest.

*I know there aren’t any film adaptations of the poetry. I promise by the time I get around to those, I’ll have figured out a fun addition to intersperse with those posts.