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Shakespeare & Beyond

Shakespeare & Beyond

The Shakespeare & Beyond blog features a wide range of Shakespeare-related topics: the early modern period in which he lived, the ways his plays have been interpreted and staged over the past four centuries, the enduring power of his characters and language, and more.

“Good Peter Quince:” Shakespeare’s most autobiographical character
Peter Quince and Bottom
Shakespeare and Beyond

“Good Peter Quince:” Shakespeare’s most autobiographical character

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Author
Austin Tichenor

Richard Ruiz (Peter Quince) and Holly Twyford (Bottom) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Folger Theatre, 2016. Teresa Wood.  A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream is one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays, and for good reason. Frequently a young person’s introduction to…

Public performances of blackness: The ‘King of Moors’ pageant in the 1616 Lord Mayor’s Show
Lord Mayor's Show pageant
Shakespeare and Beyond

Public performances of blackness: The ‘King of Moors’ pageant in the 1616 Lord Mayor’s Show

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Author
Maria Shmygol

Elizabethan and Jacobean theatergoers encountered ‘Moor’ figures in plays such as Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Othello, and The Merchant of Venice, to name a few. However, it was also possible to see blackness performed beyond the playhouse stage, publicly on the…

“I’m Jay-Z on a bad day, Shakespeare on my worst days”: When rappers cite Shakespeare
Shakespeare and Beyond

“I’m Jay-Z on a bad day, Shakespeare on my worst days”: When rappers cite Shakespeare

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Author
Ronan Hatfull

The conversation around Shakespeare and hip-hop to date has tended to focus on either their linguistic malleability or the racial politics which surround the enmeshment of an originally African-American cultural movement with the work of a white playwright who, in…

Not of an age: The history behind Ian McKellen’s Hamlet
Ian McKellen and other Hamlets
Shakespeare and Beyond

Not of an age: The history behind Ian McKellen’s Hamlet

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Author
Daniel Blank

In June, Ian McKellen will take the stage as the title character in Hamlet at the Theatre Royal Windsor. McKellen is no stranger to the role: he played Hamlet in Prospect Theatre Company’s touring production a half century ago. It…

Spilling the beans: The Islamic history of coffee
Shakespeare and Beyond

Spilling the beans: The Islamic history of coffee

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Author
Neha Vermani

Before there were Starbucks and the quirky coffeeshops masquerading as cozy work corners for many of us, there was the mid-17th century coffeeshop boom in England. During the 1600s, the general conversation about coffee nodded to its status as the…

Where to find Shakespeare in May
Shakespeare and Beyond

Where to find Shakespeare in May

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Author
Ben Lauer

Check out awesome performances and programs from Shakespeare theaters across the United States this month.

Excerpt: 'Irregular Unions' by Katharine Cleland
Shakespeare and Beyond

Excerpt: 'Irregular Unions' by Katharine Cleland

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Shakespeare & Beyond

Katharine Cleland examines Jessica and Lorenzo’s clandestine marriage in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” in this excerpt from her book “Irregular Unions.”

Quiz: Greek mythological figures in Shakespeare's plays
Shakespeare and Beyond

Quiz: Greek mythological figures in Shakespeare's plays

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Shakespeare & Beyond

Troilus and Cressida is perhaps Shakespeare’s most obvious connection with classic Greek literature, given that the play’s events occur during the Trojan War. But references to Greek mythology are liberally sprinkled throughout the rest of Shakespeare’s plays as well. See…

"Painter’s art": Biofictional perspectives on Shakespeare
Austin Tichenor as William Shakespeare
Shakespeare and Beyond

"Painter’s art": Biofictional perspectives on Shakespeare

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Author
Austin Tichenor

Austin Tichenor as William Shakespeare in William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), Folger Theatre, 2016. Photo by Teresa Wood. Depictions of William Shakespeare in fictional works are animated by the same impulse behind fanfiction — to fill in the…

Performance, advertising, and Anglo-Maghrebi diplomacy in Restoration and Augustan London
The Moroccan ambassador on horseback
Shakespeare and Beyond

Performance, advertising, and Anglo-Maghrebi diplomacy in Restoration and Augustan London

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Author
Nat Cutter

In February 1682, it was reported in the London newspaper Loyal Protestant, and True Domestic Intelligence that ‘His Excellency the Morocco Ambassador is exceedingly well pleased with his Entertainments; Insomuch that he declared, that he thought there were not such…

Highlights from Shakespeare's Birthday 2021
Shakespeare and Beyond

Highlights from Shakespeare's Birthday 2021

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Shakespeare & Beyond

Thanks for celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday with us this year! We received many creative and inspiring responses to our invitation to #ShareYourShakespeare on social media. Many people recited a line, speech, or sonnet from Shakespeare’s works. Here are a few of…

Up Close: A 'Seven Ages of Man' painting
Seven Ages of Man
Shakespeare and Beyond

Up Close: A 'Seven Ages of Man' painting

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Shakespeare & Beyond

Take a closer look at a 19th-century oil painting in the Folger collection that depicts all seven ages of man from Jaques’s speech in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”

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