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Blog

Why didn’t Shakespeare keep his manuscripts?

Writers are mostly vain creatures. For one thing, writing anything longer than a shopping list and expecting that anyone else could be bothered to read it, is a kind of egotism. This is inevitable. Composing even a bad novel of average length would take at least several weeks, almost certainly months and possibly years – […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 4th Jun 2014

Unkindest cuts: on editing Shakespeare

Some while ago I heard Sir Peter Hall opine on the radio that Shakespeare should never be cut. Henceforth, he would only direct productions with full original text. This seems such an extreme and peculiar position that I have since wondered if I misheard the interview, or was listening to another Sir Peter Hall or […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 3rd May 2014

Shakespeare’s Big Birthday

If Shakespeare were alive today, he would be celebrating his 450th birthday. This would make him simultaneously the world’s greatest living playwright and its oldest inhabitant. Since he’s not, he will have to be content with recognition as the greatest writer in history. I doubt he would be much bothered about that acclaim, though greatly interested […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 30th Apr 2014

Donmar Coriolanus in review

The National Theatre production of Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse sold out the day tickets were released. This was not a surprise, partly because it’s a small theatre with a relatively short run, partly because of its casting and also because it’s Shakespeare and he’s bigger box office now than ever. It’s actually quite remarkable that a […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 13th Jan 2014

Lear, Pickwick and Dr Charity

There are few plausible connections betweenKing Lear and The Pickwick Papers. Only one man seems to have found a bridge between the two. He was Dr Alan Charity, late of York University.  Alan Charity was a brilliant academic. It was said his doctoral thesis was so recondite that no-one else could understand it, not even him some years after […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 10th Nov 2013

Shakespeare, Dylan and self-creation myths

‘No artist can accept reality,’ Nietzsche observed. This is not surprising since artists live in fictional worlds. They make things up for a living, so it’s also not surprising they should make things up about themselves. Everybody does it in minor ways, but the scale of deception deployed by Bob Dylan when he first emerged on […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 13th Oct 2013

Words, words, words: Shakespeare’s neologisms

Shakespeare’s world was exploding in all directions. England’s population was rising rapidly, London was booming, New Worlds were being discovered, religion and politics were in ferment (again), science was beginning to be scientific, capital becoming capitalistic and at least according to John Donne, the new philosophy was calling all in doubt. As if this wasn’t […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 7th Sep 2013

Shakespeare’s menagerie: Appendix

Plays listed in alphabetical order A Midsummer Night’s Dream Hog         2 + thorny hedgehog Boar        1 Dog         6 Hound    7 Cur           1 Ox            1 Mouse    3 Fox          3 Wolf       2 Horse    5 Lion        30 Tiger       1 Creature […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 24th Aug 2013

Shakespeare’s menagerie 2: ten whales, five caterpillars and a rhino

Shakespeare wasn’t right about pigs. But while whizzing through his plays to locate references to swine, sows and hogs and trying to decide if hogs-heads of wine counted as hogs or not, I thought I would see how other animals fared in his work. Twenty six creatures were selected for analysis on a purely subjective […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 24th Aug 2013

Shakespeare’s menagerie 1: the mysterious absence of pigs

There is a serious shortage of pigs in Shakespeare. This terrible fact only became apparent  in the last few months, since we borrowed three from friends to clear brambles and weed from our field. Never having had a great deal to do with the animal before, I found them sociable, intelligent, hardy, playful and affectionate. […]

Posted by shakespearecomics on 20th Jul 2013

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