Archive | December, 2010

The Marriage of True Minds?

My daughter has been invited to read at a friend’s wedding, so she asked me if I could suggest an appropriate passage from Shakespeare. This set me thinking about the use of Shakespeare for public occasions. The most surprising choice I remember for a wedding was when the best man chose to read Hamlet’s verses […]

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A little of the Green Eyed Monster

Tis the season to be merry – or so they say. But in fact of course Christmas is a time fraught with familial and other social pressures. When it is all too easy to compare oneself with others. So this week I thought I would share with you one of my favourite moments from Shakespeare’s […]

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The Tempest – two 21st Century productions

This is part of a series of blogs on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, blogs will be posted both here and at on Fridays. This blog is really too short for two full theatre reviews but I would like to conclude the Collections and Learning teams joint celebration on The Tempest with a little about the last two […]

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A Shakespearian Winter

When I got up this morning – not all that early – the temperature was minus ten centigrade and six inches of snow covered the ground, with more forecast. This set me thinking about Shakespeare and weather. There’s a lot of it around in his works. Even the persona of Sonnet 34 wishes he’d taken […]

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What’s in a word?

Last week I looked at names and the power of names, this week I want to think a bit about language. Let me begin with a question. If you lived in a culture that had no word for love would you ever fall in love? Can you experience something you have no name for? Which […]

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Shakespeare and ‘A Christmas Carol’

On Saturday evening nine of us met to read Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol from end to end. We read around a log fire, taking up the narrative voice in turn for as long as we wanted; ‘roles’ were assigned for the moments of direct speech. I was happily type-cast as Fred, Scrooge’s nephew.   […]

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“All the [reviews] that are fit to print…”

In 2004 Will Sharpe – former part-time employee of The Shakespeare Bookshop – began a quarterly publication which would review the latest pages of the heavy scholarship and popular books on Shakespeare that were released within the previous three months. The Shakespeare Bookshop Newsletter was issued an ISSN, gradually built up a readership, and seven […]

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The Tempest – This Island’s Mine!

This is part of a series of blogs on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, blogs will be posted both here and at on Fridays. The Tempest is often understood as a parable of colonialism. In this kind of reading Prospero stands for the colonizer of the island and Caliban and Ariel as the victims of Prospero’s colonialist rule. […]

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Boozy Shakespeare

It’s party time. Last night I went to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s annual Christmas get-together (in fact, I even appeared briefly as Father Christmas to help spread a little festive cheer). We had lots to eat and not a bit to drink, and it set me thinking about Shakespeare’s attitude to alcohol. There was a […]

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What’s in a name

Yesterday I had the pleasure of teaching a very nice group of A level students from Solihull. They were studying The Tempest and Translations (a 20th C play by Brian Friel). Friel’s play is a tense drama about the British mapping Ireland and anglicising the place names. It has a lot to say about the […]

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