Reading Club: The Merchant of Venice - Εικόνα

In April, the SNFCC Book Club meetings, facilitated by poet and translator Krystalli Glyniadaki, are staged on-site as well as online! 

On Wednesday, April 27, book lovers hold their standing appointment at the SNFCC Mediterranean Gerden to discuss the book they read during the past month. 

On Thursday, April 28, the meeting will also take place online via Zoom! 

The growing circle of readers will once again have the opportunity to share experiences, feelings and ideas, as well as to make new friends and exchange viewpoints, prompted by the book of the month.

Book of the Month for April: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare 

A few words about the book for April: 
The Merchant of Venice has been, and still is, one of the most controversial works of literature on issues of religious identities and differences. It was first staged in 1598, in a clearly anti-Semitic Elizabethan England. It is the story of the persistently aggrieved Jewish moneylender Shylock, who asks a persistently abusive anti-Semitic Christian merchant to offer “a pound of flesh” as collateral for his interest-free loan. 
 

A few words about the plot: 
A young Venetian, Bassanio, needs a loan of three thousand ducats in order to marry the rich heiress Portia. He asks the money from his friend Antonio, a merchant who has, however, invested his entire wealth in his fleet, currently at sea. So, Bassanio turns to moneylender Shylock instead.

Shylock has suffered ample humiliation and abuse by Antonio in the past, solely on the grounds of his Jewishness. Still, he agrees to lend Bassanio the money, on one condition: If the loan is not paid back in full within three months, he will ask Antonio for a pound of his flesh. Antonio agrees, confident that his ships will return on time.

After numerous trials and tribulations, Bassanio eventually manages to marry Portia, but as far as the loan is concerned, we are informed that two of Antonio’s ships have been shipwrecked. Bassanio rushes back to Venice to help out his friend, but the loan repayment date has passed and Shylock is demanding Antonio's flesh. Even when he is offered twice the amount of the loan as repayment, Shylock turns the offer down, for reasons of his own. 

The day is saved in an ingenious manner by Portia, who has secretly (disguised) followed Bassanio and tells the Duke of Venice that no part of the agreement calls for the blood of a Christian: only his flesh. And since cutting flesh bloodlessly is impossible, Shylock finds himself defeated, but also accused of conspiring to murder a Venetian citizen, thus forfeiting his entire property: half will go to the city of Venice and half to Antonio himself. 

Antonio pays Shylock back his money on two conditions: that he bequeath it to his daughter, Jessica, who had previously been disowned by Shylock for converting to Christianity, and that Shylock himself converts to Christianity. A weary Shylock is once again being abused by Antonio. In the end, we find out that Antonio’s ships have actually also returned safely. Everyone, except Shylock, is celebrating a happy ending.
 

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English poet and playwright, and is considered one of the most important writers of world literature—certainly the most important writer ever to write in the English language.

He wrote about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two lengthy narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His works have been translated into almost every language in the world, and are staged in theaters more often than those of any other playwright.

At the age of 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, an older woman, with whom he had three children. Information about his life is sparse: He spent most of his time in London, writing and staging his plays. At the age of 49, he returned to Stratford-upon-Avon, where he was born, and died three years later, at the age of 52. 

The greatest part of his known work was written between 1589 and 1613. His first plays were mostly comedies. Then he wrote mostly tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth), which are considered the basis of the English-language theater tradition. Towards the end of his life, he wrote “tragicomedies” (romances) and co-operated with other playwrights.

To this day, he is the world’s most popular playwright and his works, though written in time-specific conditions, are still constantly being studied, staged and interpreted, in various cultural and political contexts, all over the world.

 

A few words about the moderator:
Krystalli Glyniadaki 
was born in 1979 in Athens. She studied Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Political Theory in London, and later Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. She has published three collections of poetry in Greek (all published by Polis), the last of which—Τhe Return of the Dead—received the Greek National Literature Award for Poetry in 2018. She has been an officially invited author to the international Istanbul Book Fair and International Izmir Literature Festival; her poems have been translated into English, Turkish, German, Slovenian and Italian; and her first English-language collection of poetry is to be released in the United Kingdom soon. She works as a translator, mostly of Norwegian literature, and as a book editor, and writes pieces for Norwegian online media. Her latest love is online interactive historical documentaries (i-doc), on which she has just finished her dissertation at Bournemouth University.

 

Wednesday, 27/4| 18.30-20.30
MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN 

For adults | Up to 30 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration 

 

Thursday 28/4|18.30-20.30
ZOOM

For adults | Up to 50 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration 

Pre-registrations starts on Friday 01/04, at 12.00

Facilitator: Krystalli Glyniadaki 
Anyone reserving a seat at the Book Club is required to have read the book of the month.

The Greek edition of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is available from Bibliotheque editions. 

 

To enter the event space is mandatory to demonstrate a certificate of vaccination or illness.

For all cases of an official document demonstration, a parallel identity check of the holder will be carried out.

Due to public health measures, there may be changes regarding either the staging of the event, or the maximum number of participants.

The use of face mask and social distancing measures are mandatory in indoor and outdoor areas of the SNFCC, in accordance with Hellenic National Public Health Organisation regulations. 

 

As part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center's collaboration with the National Library of Greece, the book for December's Reading Club has been chosen by NLG staff members.

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