Enjoy the top five Shakespeare & Beyond blog posts of 2018

(l-r) Eric Hissom (Constant Coquelin), Holly Twyford (Sarah Bernhardt), Luigi Sottile (Edmond Rostand), Michael Russotto (Alfonse Mucha). Staged reading, Bernhardt/Hamlet by Theresa Rebeck. Photo by Teresa Wood.
(l-r) Eric Hissom (Constant Coquelin), Holly Twyford (Sarah Bernhardt), Luigi Sottile (Edmond Rostand), Michael Russotto (Alfonse Mucha). Staged reading, Bernhardt/Hamlet by Theresa Rebeck. Photo by Teresa Wood.

Merry Christmas! It’s been quite a year on the Shakespeare & Beyond blog, with a wonderfully wide range of topics. Here are our five most popular blog posts from 2018.

1. The ‘Blazing World’ by Margaret Cavendish. The first science fiction novel written by a woman

When we explore “Shakespeare & Beyond,” we don’t just include Shakespeare and his plays, but the world and era in which he lived, too. This blog post about a 1666 work of science fiction by Margaret Cavendish, one of many female writers in the early modern age, appeared in early 2018, soon after our late 2017 Shakespeare Unlimited podcast episode on Shakespeare and Science Fiction.

2. Quiz: Which copy of ‘Midsummer’ are you?

We are always happy to see one of our quizzes hit the “top five,” because they’re fun to do and share. This quiz assesses your personality, more or less, and assigns you to one of several rare and very different versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Folger collection. Give it a try!

3. Bernhardt/Hamlet: Inside a new play about Sarah Bernhardt

Though a surprising number of female actors have tackled Hamlet, perhaps the best-known casting of a woman as Hamlet remains the French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who performed the role in 1899. The story of the production is part of the new play Bernhardt/Hamlet, performed as a staged reading at the Folger in January 2018.

4. Elizabethan theater etiquette and audience expectations today

Our friend and frequent contributor Austin Tichenor, who is the artistic director of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, wrote posts on a variety of intriguing topics this year, but the question of theater etiquette (then and now) turned out to be especially popular with readers of the blog.

5. Savory biscuits from a 17th-century recipe

You may recall that last year’s most popular blog post of all was an early modern recipe for pumpkin pie, shared just before Thanksgiving. This tasty savory biscuits recipe, which we also offered as Thanksgiving fare, joins the top five this year.

Steaming fresh biscuits
Steaming fresh biscuits. Photo by Brittany Diliberto.

For the first few days of this holiday week, we’re sharing the “top five” items for some of our digital projects in 2018. We began yesterday with our top five Shakespeare Unlimited podcast episodes. This continues the series with our top five blog posts.

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