Posts Categorized: Off-the-shelf

Prospero’s epilogue as Shakespeare’s farewell? Excerpt – ‘This is Shakespeare’ by Emma Smith

In this excerpt from her new book, This is Shakespeare (published Mar 31 in the United States), Emma Smith probes the biographical interpretations that readers have layered over Shakespeare’s plays, particularly The Tempest, and how that shapes what we think of as their chronology and the arc of Shakespeare’s life and career. Underpinning these interpretations… Continue Reading »


7 excerpts from Shakespeare-inspired novels

Looking to escape in a good book? Take a break from non-fiction, and read these excerpts from Shakespeare-inspired novels that we’ve featured in the past two years on Shakespeare & Beyond.


“The Taming of the Shrew” on the American stage before “Kiss Me, Kate”: An excerpt from “Shakespeare in a Divided America” by James Shapiro

The Taming of the Shrew is often referred to as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays” because of its controversial depiction of gender roles; last year’s Broadway production of Kiss Me, Kate, the 1948 musical based on The Taming of the Shrew, revived discussions of the sexism at the heart of the story and its 16th-century… Continue Reading »


Excerpt: The Afterlife of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Why weren’t Shakespeare’s sonnets included in the First Folio? And what was the effect on the way that later readers and critics considered Shakespeare’s total body of work? Jane Kingsley-Smith of Roehampton University, London, explores these questions in the below excerpt from her 2019 book The Afterlife of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, published by Cambridge University Press…. Continue Reading »


Excerpt – Shakespeare’s Church and the Pilgrim Fathers: Commemorating Plymouth Rock in Stratford

Did you know that the Pilgrims have a presence in the church where William Shakespeare was baptized and buried? A stained glass window that bears the inscription, “The Gift of America to Shakespeare’s Church,” shows the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, along with other scenes. This is just one of the many American connections to… Continue Reading »


Excerpt: Shakespeare and the Folktale

What are the connections between traditional folktales and Shakespeare’s plays? Charlotte Artese, an English professor at Agnes Scott College in Georgia, sets out to explore these folktale sources in a new anthology of stories, Shakespeare and the Folktale, published October 22. “Both folktales and Shakespeare’s plays are cultural survivors, thriving in scores of languages and… Continue Reading »


Caliban by the Yellow Sands: Shakespeare and immigrant communities in New York – Excerpt: Here in This Island We Arrived

Here in This Island We Arrived: Shakespeare and Belonging in Immigrant New York is a 2019 book from Elisabeth H. Kinsley that explores Shakespeare performance in late 19th- and early 20-century Manhattan during a time of profound demographic change, when New York City’s foreign-born population grew from under half a million in 1880 to almost… Continue Reading »


Emma Smith on Falstaff: An excerpt from ‘This Is Shakespeare’

Shakespeare scholar Emma Smith takes 20 chapters to discuss 20 different Shakespeare plays in her new book This Is Shakespeare, offering insights on key characters, plot twists, and performance challenges. The excerpt below, which focuses on the character of Falstaff and his physical description, comes from the chapter on 1 Henry IV, the play where… Continue Reading »