Archive | November, 2012

Shakespeare in Weimar

After leaving Goethe’s Garden House, Dympna Callaghan and I found the famous statue of Shakespeare by Otto Lessing (covered over for much of the year for conservation, but on display for Shakespeare’s Birthday). There we happened to meet two members of The German Shakespeare Society who spoke to us about what Shakespeare means to Weimar. […]

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Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Goethe’s Garden House

Last weekend I had the pleasure of speaking to The German Shakespeare Society in Weimar. Their conference was on the Sonnets. Professor Dympna Callaghan of Syracuse University, New York was also among the specially invited speakers. Weimar is an extraordinary place and exudes literature, art, philosophy and music from its very fabric. There was a […]

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When and where did he marry?

Anniversaries always tell a story and today is marks the date of William Shakespeare’s and Anne Hathaway’s marriage bond. A year ago we helped design an exhibition about this theme and, noticing the subject mentioned in today’s news, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit the occasion of William and Anne’s marriage. It’s not […]

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Evidence of the Shakespeares and the wool trade: John Shakespeare named in the PRO

Shakespeare For Fear of Death 3

‘As for an authentic villain, the real thing, the absolute, the artist, one rarely meets him even once in a lifetime. The ordinary bad hat is always in part a decent fellow.’ Colette William Ingram in his 1978 biography of Francis Langley, A London Life in the Brazen Age, described the builder of the Swan […]

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Shakespeare For Fear of Death 2

“England. Be it known that William Shakspere, Francis Langley, Dorothy Soer wife of John Soer, and Anne Lee, for fear of death…”. King’s Bench, Controlment Roll, Michaelmas Term 1596, K.B. 29/234: In the England of 1596 those fearful of “death or mutilations” could appeal to the judicial process to head off a potential attack. In […]

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Shakespeare For Fear of Death 1

In Shakespeare versus Shallow (1931), Leslie Hotson wrote that if you wanted to look for new facts about William Shakespeare’s life then you should not “turn to the standard biographies for nourishment” as these were not about research but were merely capitalizing on the results of earlier findings. This, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not sit well […]

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How did they (stage the casket scene) in The Merchant of Venice

    In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Portia’s father has left a riddle for any potential suitor. To Win Portia’s hand in marriage the suitors must choose from three Caskets – one of gold, one silver and one lead. (Anyone who has ever read a fairy tale will be able to hazard a guess […]

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Sonnet 73

Please would you make a recording of Sonnet 73 – a way of marking these chilly, windswept days full of falling (or fallen) leaves (‘or none, or few do hang’)? I’m just preparing to go to Weimar to give a key-note address to the annual gathering of the German Shakespeare Society. Their theme this time […]

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Movember Bard

What better way is there to celebrate alongside Movember’s pogonophiles than by turning to the bearded bard himself? Shakespeare’s plays are full of references to beards; you can even purchase  Shakespeare’s facial hair in a fine packet of celebrated literary moustaches. Beards in Shakespeare’s day were more than a matter of fashion. In Rev. Thomas Firminger […]

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Bad Bard Encounters?

As a self-proclaimed Shakespeare fanatic, I take it for granted that anyone would not be completely enthralled with reading, reciting, or otherwise obsessing over iambic pentameter. What’s not to love? Shakespeare has something for everyone. I equate reading Shakespeare with selecting the perfect movie to watch on a Saturday night. Shakespeare’s selection of works offers […]

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