Posts Categorized: Off-the-shelf

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 »







Excerpt – ‘Mad Blood Stirring’ by Simon Mayo

Inspired by a real-life episode, Simon Mayo’s novel ‘Mad Blood Stirring’ tells the powerful story of a Shakespeare production by African American prisoners of war at Dartmoor prison in England, near the end of the War of 1812.


Excerpt – ‘How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England’ by Ruth Goodman

From rudeness to gross behavior, Ruth Goodman’s book “How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England” sheds some surprising light on what bad behavior really meant, including the reason that Shakespeare had Sampson threaten to “bite my thumb” at another character in the first scene of “Romeo and Juliet.”