The surreal edge that so comprehensively immersing myself in works about herring gave the week was exacerbated by an incipient cold - it's lurked for so long I'd actually welcome being properly ill (I'm not the woman to be at all stoic about minor ailments) so I could retire to bed and feel properly sorry for myself. The dream, of course, is that it would be bed and a book, in reality it never is. Colds are destroyers of concentration, so it's more likely to be bed and depressing day time television with a lot of unwelcome snot. Maybe work is the best place to be after all. It's certainly better than the option my mortgage provider seemed to be suggesting when they addressed me as Miss H Anderton Deceased. It's a disconcerting greeting to find on a letter, fortunately they were happy to take my word for it that I'm actually still alive and reasonably well...
If I could have a few days to hole up with a good book I'd choose John Kerrigan's 'Shakespeare's Binding Language'. This turned up out of the blue courtesy of Oxford University Press (much more welcome than the banks postal contribution). The blurb says it "explores the significance in Shakespeare's plays of oaths, vows, contracts, pledges, and other utterances and acts by which characters commit themselves to the truth of things past, present, and to come."
I really would like to get to grips with this, especially since discovering how much I enjoy Jacobean and restoration drama, because as the blurb goes on to say "In early modern England, such binding language was everywhere. Oaths of office, marriage vows, legal bonds, and casual, everyday profanity gave shape and texture to life. The proper use of language, and the extent of its power to bind, was argued over by lawyers, religious writers, and satirists, and these debates inform literature and drama."
It's also a bit of a doorstop so it'll likely be a while before I find the time to tackle it properly. Never mind, one day it's time will come. I wonder if it mentions herring at all?