Archive | January, 2012
Charles Dickens

Two Hundred Years of Greatness!

Quite often, when I look at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, or to walk past it, I think of Charles Dickens. I think about how I wouldn’t be seeing Shakespeare’s House cared for by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust without him. In short, I wouldn’t be working in my current job without the encouragement and effort Dickens contributed to […]

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A film by Simon Cox

Filming Shakespeare’s Holy Grail

Just over a year ago, local film-maker, Simon Cox, asked us if he could make a film about Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon. It was also my pleasure to take part in some of the filming, so I thought you’d like to hear more about Simon’s work on the project…. ‘I have been making films for nearly 30 […]

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King Henry VIII

Shakespeare’s sources – Henry VIII

Continuing my series on Shakespeare’s sources I am going to take a brief look at Henry VIII. Henry VIII was a late play of Shakespeare’s and many think it was written in collaboration with John Fletcher. Typically it borrows heavily from Holinshed and in fact some people have suggested that the lack of interventions into […]

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Published by Oxford University Press in February 2012

Shakespeare’s Many Moods of Love

The great actor Sir Ian McKellen, who is also well-known as a gay activist, was recently quoted in the press as saying that Shakespeare himself was probably gay. Invited to comment on this, I pointed out that there was nothing new in the idea, which for a long time has been frequently expressed especially because […]

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Photo by Kiki Lindell

A Midsummer in Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, it is sweet to remember that six months ago it was summer – even here in Lund, Sweden. (On the world map according to Shakespeare, Lund is only a hop, skip and jump across the water away from Elsinore and Hamlet’s Castle, and the chronicle where the story of the Danish […]

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Photo by Karen in Toronto

Coriolanus in Conversation

It was a full cinema. Any new Shakespeare film is bound to be an interesting cultural moment. And this one stars Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave (in her first Shakespearian film role). Last evening The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, in partnership with The Stratford Picture House, shared a premiere showing of Coriolanus on the eve of […]

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Photo by Christoph Mueller

What Larks! Shakespeare and Dickens

Although I’ve devoted most of my life to Shakespeare, Dickens was my first literary love, and provides my earliest bookish memory. It must date back to around 1940, when I was ten years old, a primary school child in Yorkshire. I remember spending much of a weekend sitting behind a sofa reading The Pickwick Papers […]

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Beautiful old editions of North's Translation of Plutarch's Lives

Shakespeare’s Sources – Coriolanus

This week I turn my attention to Coriolanus, for two reasons. Firstly because of the current film of the play which you may be able to catch at your local cinema, and secondly because it is the Chinese New Year on January the 23rd and 2012 will be the year of the dragon. If you […]

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Richard 'Dick' Whittington

Shakespeare and the Pantomime Cat

“Could not you be contented, as well as others, with the legend of Whittington…” The Knight of the Burning Pestle, by Beaumont & Fletcher, 1613 The legend is that young Will Shakespeare, like a pantomime Dick Whittington, left his poverty-stricken family, walked to London and won his fortune entirely through his own efforts. I would […]

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