William Shakespeare

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Hamlet' (Bell Shakespeare)

Ian Donaldson
22 July 2015

Hamlet belongs to the final years of Elizabeth’s reign, when the system of espionage the old queen had created through her spymaster-general, Francis Walsingham – the network of ‘watchers’, as Stephen Alford calls them in a recent brilliant study of this phenomenon – had become ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Lost Plays in Shakespeare's England' edited by David McInnis and Matthew Steggle

Ian Donaldson
29 April 2015

‘The art of losing isn’t hard to master,’ Elizabeth Bishop once famously wrote; ‘So many things seem filled with the intent / to be lost that their loss is no disaster.’ Much modern technology seems designed specifically to counter this natural human propensity towards loss. We have key rings that respond obediently to their owner’s whistle, immediately ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Shakespeare Beyond Doubt'

Ian Donaldson
28 November 2013

It was not until the middle years of the nineteenth century, so far as we can tell, that anyone seriously doubted that the man from Stratford-upon-Avon called William Shakespeare had written the plays that for the past two and a half centuries had passed without question under his name. In the early 1850s, however, a private scholar from Connecticut named Deli ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Shakespeare’s Restless World'

Ian Donaldson
27 August 2013

The humanities are currently experiencing what’s been called a ‘material turn’ that is in some ways comparable to the linguistic turn that animated the academy half a century ago. Then it was language that commanded attention, and appeared to constitute a primary ‘reality’; now the focus is on physical objects, and what they can tell us about the wor ... More

Brian McFarlane reviews 'On Shakespeare' by John Bell

Brian McFarlane
27 September 2011

Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask: Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge.
(Matthew Arnold, ‘Shakespeare’)

When Arnold wrote his famous sonnet, he could have been anticipating John Bell’s book, which repeatedly asks provocative questions about the man and t ... More

R.S. White on 'The King and I''

R.S. White
23 August 2011

Literary critics used to adopt a persona claiming disinterested separation from the text being analysed. Critical theory, in particular post-colonial and gender studies, eroded this stance, showing that criticism is always self-interested, concealing or inadvertently revealing tacit assumptions stemming from the critic’s biography, class, gender, and political per ... More

RS White reviews 'Shakespeare, Sex, and Love' by Stanley Wells, 'Shakespeare’s Freedom' by Stephen Greenblatt, and 'Shakespeare’s Individualism' by Peter Holbrook

R.S. White
04 May 2011

One of Angelina Jolie’s first starring roles was as Shakespeare’s Juliet in Love Is All There Is (1996). Or rather, she plays Gina Malacici, a Bronx schoolgirl fiercely protected from life by her wealthy, restaurant-owning Italian parents, recruited to play Juliet in the school play when the leading actress injures herself falling off the balcony. Faced ... More

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