Shakespeare’s England: Stratford Journeys #2

Coming out of the birthplace I looked across the street, trying to imagine stepping across the threshold to see a row of late medieval or Tudor houses and workshops. It’s not too difficult: England is full of such survivals, after all. But of course it’s futile to try to dredge much meaning from the attempt, … Continue reading Shakespeare’s England: Stratford Journeys #2

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My post on The Jungle Book for Normblog

I was hugely flattered to be asked by Norman Geras to contribute a piece on a favoured book to his Writer's Choice series. After much indecision - which may well end up reflected in another post here at some point - I finally chose Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, and you can read the resulting … Continue reading My post on The Jungle Book for Normblog

Elsewhere on the internet #2

Two fascinating perspectives on dialogue and authenticity in historical fiction, from Hilary Mantel and Lynn Shepherd. Two brilliant posts (here and here) on the lost genius of Max Linder, the French silent comedian who Chaplin called 'The Professor'. Linder's story is ultimately tragic, and much of his work no longer survives, but what we do … Continue reading Elsewhere on the internet #2

Reflections on Shakespeare’s birthplace, Tudor aesthetics of scent and the invention of identity

Shakespeare's birthplace is a wonderful Tudor survival and we are, of course, lucky to have it. But I can’t help but wonder if the emphasis on Shakespeare’s birth itself is taken a little too far in Henley Street – at the expense of other aspects of his life here. Clearly it’s significant and interesting that … Continue reading Reflections on Shakespeare’s birthplace, Tudor aesthetics of scent and the invention of identity

Street theatre and survivals of the ritual year in Shakespeare’s Stratford

The Guild Hall was the principal venue in Stratford for visiting troupes of players, who would perform beneath the room where Shakespeare and his fellow schoolboys laboured. But at many Elizabethan schools, performing plays formed part of the curriculum. It was true of prestigious schools such as Westminster, where Ben Jonson studied, Merchant Taylors in … Continue reading Street theatre and survivals of the ritual year in Shakespeare’s Stratford

Elsewhere on the internet…

I have been meaning for sometime to start collating articles and posts I link to on Twitter each week - not least with the excellent weekly breakfast round-ups provided on the wonderful Two Nerdy History Girls' website in mind as an inspiration. But time and tide being what they are, it has taken until now … Continue reading Elsewhere on the internet…

Shakespeare’s England: Stratford journeys #1

I’m outside the As You Like It café on Henley Street in Stratford, two doors up from the entrance to Shakespeare’s birthplace, sitting with a cup of hot pale tea in my hands, its steam drifting listlessly upwards, fading into nowhere. Before me, uneaten, sits a slice of white half-warm toast buttered just too late … Continue reading Shakespeare’s England: Stratford journeys #1