King Lear: Madness, the Fool, and Poor Tom

King Lear and Cordelia, by Benjamin West (1793) / Folger Shakespeare Library, Wikimedia Commons Considering how the Fool and Poor Tom, two characters in King Lear who stand outside the social order, enhance the play’s investigation of madness, civilisation and humanity. By Dr. Gillian Woods / 03.15.2016 Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Theatre and Drama Birkbeck University of London[…]

Shakespeare and the Four Humours

Profile of William Shakespeare, c.1793 / Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons Blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile: the body’s four humours were believed to control your personality in Shakespeare’s day and influenced the way the Bard created some of his most famous characters. By Nelly Ekström / 12.11.2016 Visitor Experience Assistant Wellcome Trust Shakespeare’s writing is one[…]

Rhetoric, Power, and Persuasion in Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’

Boydell’s Collection of Prints illustrating Shakespeare’s works / British Library, Public Domain Rhetoric was a much-valued skill in Renaissance England, as it was in ancient Rome. By Dr. Kim Ballard / 03.15.2016 Linguist Rhetoric – the skilful use of language in order to move or persuade – was big business in Elizabethan England judging by[…]

Thou Art Translated! How Shakespeare Went Viral

A 1964 Soviet stamp depicts William Shakespeare. “Stamp” via www.shutterstock.com Centuries before the internet, Shakespeare became a global phenomenon. By Dr. Alexa Alice Joubin / 04.23.2015 Professor of English Co-Director, Digital Humanities Institute Director, Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare George Washington University In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, when Peter Quince sees Bottom turned into an ass-headed figure, he cries[…]

Why Did Shakespeare’s Father Paint Over Iconic Medieval Murals?

Virtual reality model of the west wall of the guild chapel, Stratford on Avon. © University of York, Author provided Due to recent restoration, the paintings are clearer than they have ever been over the last 600 years. By Dr. Kate Giles / 11.30.2016 Senior Lecturer in Archaeology University of York Screens, stages and airwaves have this year been dominated[…]

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble? The Surprising Truth about the Real Macbeth

Macbeth: I’m not all bad. Honest. Studio Canal publicity Shakespeare cast the Scottish king as the ultimate villain, but you shouldn’t believe everything you see on stage or screen. By Dr. Alex Woolf / 10.12.2015 Senior Lecturer in Mediaeval History University of St. Andrews It is among the bloodiest and cruellest of plays. For some, even uttering its name can[…]

Lost in Translation: Proust and Scott Moncrieff

Portrait of Marcel Proust painted by Jacques-Émile Blanche in 1892, when Proust was 21 years old. / Wikimedia Commons Scott Moncrieff’s English translation of Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu is widely hailed as a masterpiece in its own right. His rendering of the title as Remembrance of Things Past is not, however, considered a high point. William[…]