Archive | December, 2011

Shakespeare’s sources – Henry VI part 1

Henry VI is Shakespeare’s longest play in that it runs to 3 parts. As with nearly all of Shakespeare’s History plays he relies heavily on Holinshed’s Chronicles sometimes borrowing descriptions almost directly from his source text. But always adding his own unique touches, the study of which makes looking at his use of source texts […]

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What makes a good Shakespearian?

Last week I had the pleasure of chairing the 866th meeting of The Shakespeare Club, Stratford-upon-Avon. The Club was first established in 1823 and thrives on guest-speakers from September through to April each year. It was the evening for their President’s address. This year’s President is Professor Stanley Wells C.B.E. I interviewed him about his […]

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Shakespeare’s Sources – Henry IV part ii

Continuing from last week’s blog about Henry IV part 1 and Henry’s crusade this week we move into the next play, Henry IV part 2, but keep an eye on the theme of crusades. Here we see Henry more established in his reign planning, quite cold heartedly to use the crusade as a way “to […]

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Queering Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the new Guy Richie film released in the UK this month, will inevitably raise the question foregrounded by his first Sherlock Holmes film: are Holmes and Watson supposed to be gay? The films unashamedly toy with the idea. Discussing Sherlock Holmes on The Late Show with David Letterman, Robert […]

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Loving Shakespeare in China: Part 3

In the third and final part of this current series, I speak to Liu Tong/Archer Liu, from Shanghai International Studies University. Here is a bright, young man who is passionate about Shakespeare in performance and about the English language. It was truly inspiring to meet Archer whose commitment to Shakespeare is palpable. Do you know […]

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Shakespeare Among the Vampires

A recent trip to Portland, Oregon and its famous Powell’s bookshop yielded an unlikely find. In their rare books section, I stumbled upon a sale of books from the author Anne Rice’s library. Not knowing much about Rice, except that she is the New Orleans based best-selling vampire novelist, and freely admitting to having never […]

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Shakespeare’s Sources – Henry IV – part one

Like most of Shakespeare’s plays, Henry IV has a number of different sources including  Holinshed’s Chronicles, Samuel Daniels’ The civil war between the houses of York and Lancaster and Machiavelli’s The Prince. But in this blog I am going to take a quick look at the idea of crusade and penance. At the very beginning […]

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Shakespeare and Revolutionary Sex!

It might seem odd to think about Shakespeare in relation to Richard Wagner, but the nineteenth-century German dramatist read Shakespeare during his formative years, pointing to him as one of his three big influences (the other two being the Greek tragedians and Beethoven). He also made an opera of Measure for Measure, Das Liebesverbot (“The […]

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Shakespeare: God versus Money?

‘Why we must tear ourselves apart for this small question of religion?’ Cate Blanchett as Princess Elizabeth in the film Elizabeth The religious beliefs of William Shakespeare have preoccupied many writers. The mere possibility that he held to one branch or another seems to have an almost magnetic attraction for some who feel that claiming […]

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Shakespearience 3: Helena’s Fantasies (Part Two)

Today I want to explore further that strange speech of Helena’s from All’s Well That Ends Well that I shared with you in my last post. You’ll recall that Paroles says of virginity,‘’tis a withered pear. Will you anything with it?’, to which Helena answers: Not my virginity yet— There shall your master have a […]

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