Today, turkey and stuffing are central fare on the holiday table. But turkeys weren’t even known in England until the 1520s, when they were introduced by explorers returning from the Americas. Turkey was immediately popular in England; within a hundred years, turkeys had become a common Christmas food. The story with stuffing is less clear…. Continue Reading »
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 »
I find it fascinating that Verdi’s last two operas were both inspired by Shakespeare: Otello (1887) and Falstaff (1893), yet they are very different in story, style, and tone. Verdi looked to the Bard’s plays of Othello (1604) and the Merry Wives of Windsor (1600), plus the Henry plays, as a catalyst. There are plenty… Continue Reading »
In Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio grabs a leg of roast mutton and throws it to the ground. Doing so, he exclaims, “it engenders choler, planteth anger,/ And better ‘twere that both of us did fast.” As food anthropologist Leigh Chavez-Bush writes of this statement in Atlas Obscura, this line was not a… Continue Reading »
One of Shakespeare’s most moving love triangles isn’t romantic, it’s filial. The tension between Prince Hal and his two father figures — King Henry IV and Sir John Falstaff — fuels both parts of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and resonates strongly throughout Henry V, grounding these history plays in emotional richness. How these relationships are depicted… Continue Reading »
Just in time for Halloween, we rank the five spookiest ghosts in Shakespeare’s plays.