Archive | January, 2011

Shakespeare’s Deepest Debt to Montaigne

Montaigne, about whom I wrote in relation to Shakespeare last week, is in the air at present. BBC Radio 3 broadcast a play and a talk about him at the weekend, and on Saturday The Guardian published a fascinating extract from a new book about him. In my last blog, taking my cue from Sarah […]

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OP or not OP?

On a very damp grey Monday morning in London, a trip to the British Library was successful on two counts: an opportunity to visit the new exhibition Evolving English, while gaining refuge from the inclement weather outside. In the exhibition, it was a pleasant surprise to come across two names we are well acquainted with […]

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“Accents yet unknown”

I’m currently reading Douglas Coupland’s novel Generation A.   Coupland is famous for having his finger on the pulse of modern society, and often writes with his tongue firmly placed in his cheek.  Generation A is no exception. This tale is set in 2077 – and the world is recognizably our own – that is to […]

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Debating Shakespeare

I have been having fun this week short listing entries for our A level competition “The Great Shakespeare Debate”. This is an annual competition which we run in partnership with the English Speaking Union and which is generously sponsored by Warwick University’s CAPITAL centre.  The final will take place in March but the first process […]

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The Changing Face of William Shakespeare

Next week I shall be travelling to New York with three colleagues to take part in the opening of an exciting new exhibition at the Morgan Library: The Changing Face of William Shakespeare (4 Feb – 1 May 2011). A few months ago, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust acquired a lost copy of the Cobbe portrait […]

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“Trippingly on the tongue”

I saw ‘The King’s Speech’ at the cinema this week, and was struck by its Shakespearian qualities.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised to find Shakespeare’s words taking centre stage in a film that explores the theme of kingship – Shakespeare was, afterall, rather interested in kings called Richard and Henry (and John). While […]

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How to live like Shakespeare and Montaigne

I’m reading a book called How to Live, by Sarah Bakewell. The title makes it sound like a self-help manual, but the sub-title is more revealing: ‘A Life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer’. And in fact it’s a lucid, intelligent, and illuminating biographical study of the great French essayist […]

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A Shakespearian Girdle Round About the Earth

I wrote last week in anticipation of our annual ‘Winter School’, which this year took the form of a round up of the Shakespearian year. One of those sessions took its inspiration from Puck’s line: ‘I’ll put a girdle round about the earth In forty minutes.’ (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2. 1.) Actually, it took […]

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Oh Oh Malvolio

In our visitor centre there is a looped recording of great moments from shakespeare which plays as visitors wait to buy their tickets to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, everyone who works here probably knows it by heart whether they realise it or not! But one line always stays with me as I pass through reception and on […]

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“This is the short and the long of it”

10 things I didn’t know before this week’s Winter School at SBT That the size of a person’s head can be used to estimate a person’s height – this comment was made in reference to the Cobbe Portrait of Shakespeare. That there are four Shakespeare plays that the actor Jeffery Dench hasn’t yet performed in […]

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