Laura Estill

Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University. In addition to serving as Co-Editor of the World Shakespeare Bibliography, she is a core member of the First Folio Host Site team in Texas.

Shakespeare is magical. His works are full of fairies, gods, witches, and prophecies. But more importantly, Shakespeare is magical because his words transport us into new realms. In The Winter's Tale, sixteen years can pass between scenes. When watching Antony and Cleopatra, the audience is transported across three continents, on land and sea. And while Shakespeare surely isn't the only writer with these supernatural powers, his magic pervades our culture in a way unlike any others'—Shakespeare is ubiquitous.

Many folks will have a "come to Shakespeare" story: a story about the moment when they first felt connected to his plays or poems, when they first "got it." I realized that I loved Shakespeare when, at seven years old, I went to the Stratford Festival of Canada to see A Midsummer Night's Dream with my Grandmother. I was transfixed by everything from the language, to the romance, to the day-glo gymnast fairies (the latter of which appalled my Grandmother).

Shakespeare is magical because he matters: to this day, he inspires countless directors, actors, musicians, and writers who use, borrow, and adapt his words. Shakespeare matters because he is magical: we continue to return to his works so we can conjure new ideas of our own.


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