Category Archives: Plays and Poems

A German Hamlet: Fratricide Punished

There are many unanswered questions regarding Shakespeare’s plays, many of which relate to Hamlet, Shakespeare’s best-known play. The German Der Bestrafte Brudemord, known in English as Fratricide Punished, is one of the earliest known versions of Hamlet in a foreign … Continue reading

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Directing Shakespeare

With the sudden death of Michael Bogdanov this week theatre directors and their importance in the staging of Shakespeare’s plays have been on my mind in the build up to Shakespeare’s birthday. Shakespeare was the first director of his own … Continue reading

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Shakespeare and the White House

President Obama is about to hand over to the incoming President Trump, and in the last few days an interview with Obama about the books that are important to him has been published in the New York Times. One of … Continue reading

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The making of the First Folio

I wrote a week or so ago about Emma Smith’s new book The Making of Shakespeare’s First Folio, published by Bodleian Library Publishing, and the stories relating to the Bodleian Library’s own copy. One of the books I inherited from … Continue reading

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Pumpkins and cabbages: vegetables in Shakespeare’s Windsor

At the end of the growing season the shops are full of produce, with onions, pumpkins and other vegetables in store for the winter. As the harvest hymn has it, “all is safely gathered in /ere the winter storms begin”. … Continue reading

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Remembering the Battle of Agincourt

The 600th anniversary of one of the most famous British military victories is being celebrated this month. The actual date is the 25th October 1415, the event the Battle of Agincourt when Henry V, with an outnumbered and outclassed army, … Continue reading

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Is King John Shakespeare’s most unloved play?

This weekend the Globe’s production of King John (co-produced with Royal & Derngate, Northampton, directed by James Dacre), closes. It’s the very last play in the canon to be produced by the Globe (though it has been staged there).  This … Continue reading

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Julie Taymor’s phantasmagoric film of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Julie Taymor’s film of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was released in the UK, perhaps predictably, on Sunday 21 June 2015. And from the trailer, it looks amazing (see the end of this post). As a director she’s worked around the world … Continue reading

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Anticipating Macbeth on film

It doesn’t often happen that a Shakespeare film is dubbed “The “Most Anticipated Film” of the year, but this is how the adaptation of Macbeth directed by Justin Kurzel and starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard has been described. The … Continue reading

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New Shakespeare MOOC

I’ve only recently heard about a new Shakespeare MOOC that has just started  so you still have time to sign up if you want to join in. As with all MOOCs the course is free. It’s called Shakespeare in Community, … Continue reading

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