Read an excerpt from the introduction of a new book that assembles all of Shakespeare’s sonnets in their probable order of composition. The editors argue that readers can gain insight into Shakespeare’s personal experiences and emotions through the sonnets.
There are philosophical travesties, which use absurdity to further explore the ideas Shakespeare raised in his plays. And there are popular travesties, which are substantially less faithful to Shakespeare’s original, trafficking in the most well-known touchstones of the plays. Explore their roots in the 1800s.
Double-casting is a theater technique (as opposed to a literary one) that creates a meta-narrative, transforming a large-cast play into a present-tense adventure. Actors swapping costumes and changing roles (and sometimes genders) becomes part of the thrilling ride, and theater’s fundamental artifice becomes its strength. Theater’s very artificiality becomes a feature, not a bug. Shakespeare utilized this trick to both amplify subtext and heighten the drama.
Early 19th-century American students would study speeches from Shakespeare’s plays as examples of good public speaking, not as literature. How did Shakespeare’s place in the school curriculum change?
This 1574 hand-colored map of London and its surroundings shows us something of the London in which William Shakespeare lived and worked. Get an up-close look at the map and learn more about it by clicking through the arrows to see captions that zoom in on different parts of the image.
Imagine a King Lear that cut the character of the Fool, created a romance between Edgar and Cordelia, and featured a happy ending in which Lear and Cordelia both live. That was the most popular version of Shakespeare’s play for more than 150 years, until William Charles Macready’s landmark production in 1838.