The enchantress Circe, best known for turning men into pigs, is mentioned several times in Shakespeare’s plays and has been a literary inspiration for more authors up to the present day. Explore her story in the latest installment of our series “Shakespeare and Greek Myths.”
Posts By: Emma Poltrack
As we enter the year’s spookiest month, explore a trio of contemporary novels that involve early modern witchcraft. Much has changed since the deadly witch hunts of Shakespeare’s era, and the contrasting approaches of these books are a good way to see how far we’ve come.
Welcome to our new Shakespeare and Greek Myths series. We’re starting off with Theseus and Hippolyta–figures who are not only referred to in the plays, but are also fully formed characters in two of them: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Two Noble Kinsmen. But who are they and what are their backstories?
Recently New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley extolled the virtues of reading plays out loud in your living room as a way to while away the COVID-19 time at home. Memories of his own time reading Hamlet as a child opposite his mother “have been much on my mind in this time of shuttered… Continue Reading »
Shakespeare’s influence can be found in many aspects of American culture, from film adaptations to vegetable brands. It’s no wonder, then, that his stories and characters have often served as inspiration for television series—which in turn can influence interpretations of his plays. For example, Folger Theatre’s current production of The Merry Wives of Windsor (pictured… Continue Reading »
Early versions of Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 show its immense popularity and point to Falstaff’s origins as the real-life figure Sir John Oldcastle.
Love’s Labor’s Lost is one of three Shakespeare plays without a primary source (the others being A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest), but that doesn’t mean it was created in a vacuum. Using four items from the Folger collection, we explore some of the contemporary influences Shakespeare might have drawn on when writing this… Continue Reading »
Discover American child star Elsie Leslie through a fascinating mix of Folger finds, including Elsie Leslie as Prince Arthur in King John and posing for a photo with preeminent actor Edwin Booth.
The poisoning in Shakespeare’s play King John, and in Romeo and Hamlet, too, had real-world parallels, too. Delve into the infamous story of Thomas Overbury’s death at the Tower of London in 1613.
Adapted by William Davenant and first performed in 1664, the version of the Scottish play taking to the Folger stage in September was the most popular one well into the 18th century despite—or perhaps because of—the numerous departures from Shakespeare’s original text.