The most famous book about Renaissance melancholy, Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), celebrates its four hundredth anniversary this year. Though it was published five years after Shakespeare’s death, it gathers together ideas about melancholy from antiquity right through to the seventeenth century.
It’s springtime, and Sonnet 98 is a wonderful seasonal selection from Shakespeare. Take this quiz to see if you can put the sonnet’s 14 lines into their correct order.
When it comes to the theatrical landscape of Shakespeare’s London, there are the plays whose names we are familiar with — plays like Hamlet and Henry V — and then there are the plays that were being performed around the same time and that Shakespeare’s audiences would have known well, but that are lost to us today. Read an excerpt from a new book about these plays.
The spiced air of India was the stuff of legend in Shakespeare’s England, and is brought to vivid life in this famous passage from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” These were images which Shakespeare knew his audiences would understand, during a period in which England had begun its sea voyages to Asia in earnest, and the fabulous possibilities of directly accessing the merchandise of India were being realized for the first time.
Austin Tichenor reflects on the tension the WandaVision series creates between character and genre, reminding him of Shakespeare’s plays.
Sweet potato pies, a beloved staple of North American fall and winter cooking, are baked out of mashed or blended sweet potatoes mixed with condensed milk, eggs, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace, and allspice. Few Americans and Canadians would think of such a dish as traditionally English, yet many cookery books written in England during the seventeenth century show that English people made and enjoyed pies like this. We decided to try one of these recipes, found in the Folger collection, during our recent Pi Day celebration.