For the Guardian, Alison Flood writes on the bias of the Oxford English Dictionary towards “famous literary examples” instead of the actual origin, resulting in the incorrect attribution of several still-used words and phrases to Shakespeare. Flood writes that there are multitudes of evidence showing earlier usages of phrases such as “wild goose chase” and “it’s Greek to me,” citing Shakespearean scholar Dr....more
Posts Tagged: Shakespeare
At Guernica, Tana Wojcznick unpacks Shakespeare’s lesser-known and often-misread play, Coriolanus, to bring us s its timely political warning about populism and democracy:
It’s no accident that Coriolanus is not a favorite in America, where it’s rarely included in the mini-canon of plays each generation tends to play and re-play (such as King Lear today or Romeo and Juliet in the 1990’s).
At Lit Hub, Dr. Fay Bound Alberti shares an excerpt of her new book, This Mortal Coil: The Human Body in History and Culture, exploring the cultural understandings and depictions of female genitalia from Shakespeare’s “No thing” to Jamie McCartney’s The Great Wall of Vagina, and how those understandings are influenced by culture and vice versa....more
At Guernica, Tana Wojczuk shares her personal story of seeing Shakespeare performed as a child and her eventual realization and understanding of Shakespeare’s humor, and defends the importance of seeing Shakespeare’s works on stage:
This is one of the reasons it was important to see Shakespeare performed, and not just to read him.
Shakespeare’s texts are anything but stagnant, often taking on new meanings depending on the context in which they’re experienced. In an excerpt from The Maximum Security Book Club, Mikita Brottman describes her experience of teaching Shakespeare in a maximum security prison:
I like to stay open to misreadings.
The canon is what it is, and anyone who wishes to understand how it continues to flow forward needs to learn to swim around in it.
Responding to Yale students’ protesting the English department’s course requirements, Slate’s Katy Waldman argues that English majors should still have to read the “sexist, racist, colonialist, and totally gross” canon of English literature, in addition to a broader range of perspectives....more
This past weekend, thousands of people convened to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The Elizabethan bard’s formal innovations are widely revered as some of the most influential literary developments in history, so much so that we almost overlook what he was even writing about:
…for Shakespeare, life itself is a type of lie.
Allison Meier writes at Hyperallergic on a speech, recently digitized by the British Library, that proves to be the only example of Shakespeare’s handwriting other than a few signatures. The excerpt comes from Sir Thomas More, a play written in collaboration, wherein the title character asks for sympathy for migrants, driven from their homes and countries....more
The Public Domain Review examines the work of Elizabethan writer Robert Greene, the original Bohemian, and the first known reviewer of William Shakespeare:
Greene’s chief target was “an upstart Crow,” who “supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you”…He has a “tiger’s heart, wrapped in a player’s hyde”, unable to fully escape the stigma of first playing on the stage before he would write for it.
The Folger has 82 First Folios—the largest collection in the world. It’s located several stairways down, in a rare manuscript vault. To reach them, you first have to get through a fire door … (if a fire did threaten these priceless objects, it would be extinguished not with water—never water near priceless paper—but with a system that removes oxygen from the room).
2016 is the 400th year since Shakespeare’s death and, to celebrate the famed playwright, Hogarth Press will release versions of Shakespeare’s works reimagined by popular authors for the modern audience. At VICE, Hope Whitmore interviews author Jeanette Winterson, who will be reworking Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale:...more
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have found a unique way of honoring the Bard on the upcoming 400th anniversary of his death: a digital re-creation of a popular British museum dedicated to Shakespeare. According to the New York Times:
The digital re-creation—the first detailed visualization of the gallery, scholars say—gives a glimpse of a high-water moment of Bardolatry, not long after the 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee in Stratford-upon-Avon that had helped cement the playwright as a defining national figure”
Matthew Wills writes for JSTOR Daily on the romcom interpretation of King Lear. Wills brings to attention the fact that for almost two centuries, a version of Shakespeare’s Lear by poet Nahum Tate, one with little tragedy and a happy ending, was almost the only version seen on stage until the mid-19th century....more
Taylor Swift, Cole Porter, Joni Mitchell, Mumford and Sons—they’ve all got a surprising musical forefather in the Bard of Avon. Looking for more literary musical references of the week? Check out the favorite tracks of Man Booker prize-winning author Marlon James over at the BBC....more
Earlier this month, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival commissioned thirty-six playwrights to “translate” Shakespearean plays into modern English. Not everyone is happy about this. However, Sheila T. Cavanagh over at The New Republic argues there is nothing wrong with modernizing Shakespeare....more
When a piece of art inspires you, it literally in-spires, breaths into you. It makes us want to create new art. Or, maybe it’s a more basic instinct. From the beginning of our lives, when we hear a good story, a story that as Winterson says becomes “talismanic” for us, what do we say?
Shakespeare is about the intoxicating richness of the language… It’s like the beer I drink. I drink 8.2 per cent I.P.A., and by changing the language in this modernizing way, it’s basically shifting to Bud Light. Bud Light’s acceptable, but it just doesn’t pack the punch and the excitement and the intoxicating quality of that language.