Archive | October, 2011
Photo. by 'Dave again'

Hamlet North by Northwest

“I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” Hamlet, 2.2. I am only mad north-by-north-west: when then wind is southerly, I know the difference between a hawk and a handsaw. How to work out what these lines mean? This is how I did it… Theory 1: […]

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Shakespeare Bites Back E-Book

Shakespeare Bites Back – free book

Shakespeare Bites Back is a book Stanley Wells and I have co-authored. It’s a polemical essay and is bound (we hope) to ruffle a few feathers. In this audioboo we speak together about what you might say to anyone that asks you about Shakespeare’s authorship. Have a listen and let us know in the comments […]

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New book in the 'Shakespeare Now' series

Nine Lives of William Shakespeare

“Who is it that can tell me who I am?”, asks King Lear. It is the Fool who volunteers an answer: “Lear’s shadow”. Identity is defined by its dark alternative. Shakespeare biography suffers from a peculiar historical deformation. The basic materials for a life of Shakespeare were gathered, from Stratford in the 18th century by […]

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Shakespeare's source for Claudio's rejection of Hero. Lodovico Ariosto's, Orlando Furioso,

Shakespeare’s Sources – Much Ado About Nothing

This week we take a look at another of Shakespeare’s more original works, Much Ado About Nothing. For this play Shakespeare used a handful of sources but none of them contain the exact plot that Shakespeare devised for his own play. Matteo Bandello’s, La Prima Parte de le Nouelle gave Shakespeare the setting in Messina, as well […]

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The covered Gower Memorial

Covering Shakespeare Up!

Today (25 October) is St Crispin’s Day, a day when we should recall the Battle of Agincourt and Henry V’s stirring speech to his outnumbered troop. Instead, here in Stratford-upon-Avon, it’s more of a case of ‘Hung be the heavens with black!’ (Henry VI Part 1, 1.1.1) As box offices await the arrival of the […]

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Shakespeare by Richard Westall

Hamlet’s Dead Dog: What does it all mean?

“For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion – Have you a daughter?” Hamlet, 2.2. This is a famously bizarre line from Hamlet. As Hamlet paces the castle, Polonius dogs him and the prince runs rings around him with apparently insane discourse. When I was producing my modernised […]

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Richard III - by Antony Sher

All the World’s a Stage (no.15 in series)

In the run-up to The Ninth World Shakespeare Congress in Prague I posted a selection of blogs from grant winners looking forward to that event. Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting a selection of blogs from some  more of those grant winners.  This week’s contribution comes from Necla Çikigil  who is […]

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'Expectation whirls me round'

Shakespearience: Troilus’s Fantasies

It behoves me no doubt, after my last blog, to give an example of the way any moment in Shakespeare might open like a flower, calling for dedicated appreciation and attention, offering its own very singular pleasures. So let’s, please, look at one of Troilus’s speeches from Troilus and Cressida: I am giddy; expectation whirls […]

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Theseus and Hippolyta in Battle

Shakespeare’s Sources – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most original plays – rather than dreiving from one or two clear sources the text is rich with references  to familiar works by other writers from Ovid to Plutarch and Chaucer.  From Plutarch’s The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes for instance Shakespeare took both Theseus and […]

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