WordPlay™ Shakespeare

Now, Half the Page is a Stage...

Writing While Under the Influence...

George North Manuscript
Shakespeare did not write in a vacuum, and scholars today confirm that he was heavily influenced by Holinshed's Chronicles, and Plutarch's Lives (properly titled Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans.)

Now, an amateur and deeply capable scholar — Dennis McCarthy — has, in collaboration with Professor
June Schlueter, ferreted out what is likely to prove a powerful third influence on Shakespeare, the writing of one of Queen Elizabeth I's ambassadors to Sweden, George North. An obscure diplomat until now (his Wikipedia entry starts onFebruary 8, 2018 — 4 days ago!) he had an elegant turn of phrase that clearly caught Shakespeare's attention and imagination. The book that sparked Shakespeare's — and now our — interest, was A Brief Discourse of Rebellion & Rebels. Read the New York Times article here.

Sounds About Right!

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 8.42.14 AM
David and Ben Crystal provide a genuine service to Shakespeare lovers (and doubters too, really) by hypothesizing on what Shakespeare's language might have sounded like in its original pronunciation. In addition to being intrinsically interesting, it has an impact on performance, if actors and directors wish to provide an "original" production to their audience. Very worthwhile video clip.

New Digitized Facsimile of 1623 First Folio Published by Bodmer Lab

Dedication
Geneva's Bodmer Lab has made available to the public a full high resolution digital copy of a 1623 First Folio. Pictured above is a part of the dedication of the volume by Heminges and Condell to their patrons, William, Earl of Pembroke, and his brother Philip, Earl of Montgomery. A tremendous asset to scholars, teachers, and students, but note, the text of the web site is in French.

Permission Granted

C82-1690 (78)
The original document used to announce King James I's granting of a royal warrant to Shakespeare's acting troupe, changing their name from The Lord Chamberlain's Men to The King's Men, and permitting them to perform "Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Enterludes, Moralles, Pastoralles, Stageplayes". Read and see high quality digital scans of the warrant.

Fundamentally Dishonest, or Fundamentally Cautious?

web-titus-globe-rex
The discussion about trigger warnings lapped on to Cambridge's shores late last year, with the news that English literature students at Cambridge received trigger warnings about sexual violence and assault in regards to Titus Andronicus and Comedy of Errors. Professor Mary Beard and Cambridge Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director David Crilly reacted strongly against the move.

The Course of Academia Never Did Run Smooth?

Photo of Terri Bourus Teaching
IUPUI professor Terri Bourus teaches Shakespeare classes. She was one of four general editors of “The New Oxford Shakespeare.” (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Troubles assail the inner working of the production of the New Oxford Shakespeare project.

Pity...

BBC Camera fron the 1960s
The BBC have put up what looks like a fantastic Shakespeare resource, but unfortunately, they have made it accessible only to students in the UK. That's a shame.

It's All Just Vector Space Mathematics to Me (Or Maybe Not...)

Monty Python, John Cleese
Fascinating (and a little over our head) article in MIT Technology Review about how computers may one day be able to detect sarcasm, and other subtle linguistic tricks. More.

Comparing Hamilton to Henry IV, part 1.

Graphic of Hamilton as Henry V, with a castle as a backdrop
Isaac Butler, compares Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, with Shakespeare's Henry IV, part 1 -- (proper title: 1 Henry IV) in this complex but well reasoned piece for Slate. More.

We Almost Lost 16 Plays...

David Kastan at lecture podium
George M. Bodman Professor of English David Kastan speaks at Drew
Yale scholar David Kastan speaks at Drew University, and explains how the first folio saved at least 16 of Shakespeare's plays from obscurity. A close call. More.

Hamlet's Father...and Halloween

Photo of Stephen Greenblatt, facing camera
John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities Stephen Greenblatt.
Leading Harvard Shakespeare Scholar Stephen Greenblatt launches a new MOOC today, entitled "Hamlet's Ghost". More.