Archive | October, 2010

Trick or Treat

Halloween, and thoughts turn to witches and things that go bump in the night-and for anyone interested in Shakespeare, Macbeth. But here in the bookshop we decided to talk about one of the other plays from the time which include witchcraft and the supernatural. A quick look at our section of works by Shakespeare’s contemporaries […]

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“Knock, knock! Who’s there?”

The idea of speaking to Shakespeare’s ghost has long been a fascination for many people, and some have even put pen to paper conjuring imaginary conversations from the other side. What would Shakespeare have to say, and what pearls of wisdom would he look to impart? Some seem to think that he would spend most […]

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Witches on Stage

How do you stage the witches in Macbeth? Ask anyone today to describe a witch and they will describe a typical Halloween costume: pointy hat, cat, broomstick, warts. But this is hardly going to cut the mustard on the modern stage, in fact it would be more likely to inspire laughter than fear. Modern readers […]

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Just what the doctor ordered…

This week’s blog is inspired by the fact that this Saturday afternoon I am covering for a bookshop colleague who woke up this morning with a fever, and wisely opted for a day in bed accompanied by the traditional 21st century medications of aspirin alternating with Lemsips. If, however, he had been ill back in […]

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“Nothing will come of nothing”

I’ve been asked to write the entry on “Shakespeare Societies” for the forthcoming Cambridge World Shakespeare Encyclopedia. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve buried my head among archive materials relating to this topic held deep down in the vaults of the Shakespeare Centre. It’s always exciting beginning work on a new research topic – […]

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The Tempest and the Supernatural

Caliban, Half Human, Half … This is part of a series of blogs on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, blogs will be posted both here and at on Fridays. When people ask me what Shakespeare would do if he were alive today, I often speculate that he would be writing science fiction and my reasons […]

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Shakespeare’s Bluff

A couple of weeks ago I ran a quiz night for the friends of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which was based on the TV quiz show ‘call my bluff’. In this popular show celebrity teams would compete to befuddle each other with obscure words for the English language. Each team would offer a number of […]

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Shakespeare and Venice Revisited

I’m in Venice as you read this, co-leading ‘Shakespeare and Venice’ with Professor Stanley Wells C.B.E.. The course is presented by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and invites its participants immerse themselves in the connections which can be made through literature, history, and our imaginations between the genius of place and the genius of poetry. Venice […]

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On Purchasing a Complete Works

One of the most common questions that we receive here in the bookshop (in fact, I was asked even as I am typing this paragraph) is what are the differences between all of these complete works? It is a question so often asked that I decided to make a guide entitled Choosing the Complete Works […]

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“I am not what I am”

I seem to have spent a lot of time in Venice and Cyprus this week talking about handkerchiefs – not literally, sadly – but through teaching classes on ‘Othello’. This play always provokes lively debate, but interestingly it is rarely Othello who dominates class discussion. All three of our visiting schools this week thought that […]

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