Archive | August, 2011

Shakespeare’s Sources – The Winter’s Tale

Continuing my series exploring Shakespeare’s literary and poetic sources I am going to look at a late play The Winter’s Tale. For those of you not familiar with the story it is about a king Leontes who becomes suddenly convinced that his best friend has been sleeping with his wife. Determined to prove he has […]

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Sun Breaks on Shakespeare’s Secrets

Shakespeare loves being talked about. I’m sure he was delighted when audience members (crammed into The Globe or the Blackfriars theatre) nudged one another and exchanged thoughts about the plays. One of the earliest references to him as a writer relates to his ‘sugared sonnets among his private friends.’ It’s good to imagine poems in […]

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Completing the Oxford Shakespeare

Today sees the official publication of the last play in the multi-volume Oxford Shakespeare series: Richard II, edited by Anthony B. Dawson and Paul Yachnin. Stanley Wells has been General Editor of the entire series since it started in 1979, making him the only person ever to have presided over a complete Shakespeare series of […]

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“All the world’s a stage” (no.7 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, giving a taste of the papers they presented at […]

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Shakespeare’s Sources – Hamlet

Last week I discussed Macbeth and the adaptations that Shakespeare made of his sources for the story. This week lets look at Hamlet. There are many versions of the Hamlet story and some scholars think that the most influential of them are now lost. For instance there was probably a dramatic version of Hamlet which […]

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Much Ado about ‘Much Ado’

To the Wyndham’s theatre last Thursday to see Josie Rourke’s production of Much Ado About Nothing starring David Tennant as Benedick and Catherine Tate as Beatrice. A small coach full of colleagues (staff and volunteers) from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust made the much anticipated jaunt down from Stratford-upon-Avon. We were not disappointed, and it was […]

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Shakespeare’s sources – Macbeth

I would like to begin a new series of blogs looking at Shakespeare’s sources.  Many people will tell you that Shakespeare was not a very original writer and indeed it is true that most of his plays have some kind of antecedent. It is rare to find a play that appears to have sprung into […]

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Shakespeare and the Chinese Premier

On Sunday 26 June, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was honoured to receive His Excellency Premier Wen Jiabao of China. Shakespeare’s Birthplace was the only place he visited in Stratford. It was a highly significant moment and was a clear statement that we should both like to develop and nurture contacts, partnerships, and projects. I thought […]

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Shakespeare and the Rioters

The recent flash riots which broke out in London and various cities across the UK last week immediately reminded me of the Jack Cade scenes in 2 Henry VI. Cade, a mercenary in the pay of the Duke of York, whips up a rebellion in Kent, and leads a motely crew of artisans into Southwark, […]

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Shakespeare Bites Back!

I am currently enjoying Jonathan Kay’s recent book, Among the Truthers about the politics of conspiracy theory. Kay is a managing editor of Canada’s National Post and spent two years researching what drives people to believe in conspiracies. Kay’s book is not primarily about the Shakespeare authorship conspiracy theory but he mentions it in passing […]

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