Barbara Everett

Barbara Everett is an emeritus fellow in English at Somerville College, Oxford. Her books include Poets in Their Time and Young Hamlet: Essays on Shakespeare’s Tragedies. She published editions of Antony and Cleopatra and All’s Well That Ends Well, as well as writing many influential essays on the plays. Among her subjects in the LRB have been Shakespeare’s romances, the Sonnets, Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, Measure for Measure and Falstaff.

Four Poems

Barbara Everett, 13 September 2018


A picture book of Churches makes clear that the one Stone for the floor is

A broken Peter. Overhead vacuity Lifts up the great dome.

Pecunia non olet

Vespasian taxed Sewage, laughed at his son’s fuss – ‘Money doesn’t smell’.

It’s true. Human words And actions can smell worse than Money’s likely to.

In All Saints

Up in the roof...

Six Poems

Barbara Everett, 4 May 2017

The Letter

He stooped to assess The scrap of paper drenched with Rain and dried by wind,

An ending: ‘One can Love anything, so how much Better it was you.’


While they all went off To France and to Italy She stayed on the moon,

Ankled in white dust, Walking down the craters and Sleeping by earth light.


Shakespeare looked in the Glass and saw a...

Saint Shakespeare

Barbara Everett, 19 August 2010

Late 16th-century England had no very great portrait painters, but at least one of its dramatists created a gallery of images – principally through his characters – at once brilliant and hard to forget. Hamlet and Lear can haunt the mind in a way that eclipses even the magnificent faces of Dürer and Titian. Shakespeare in fact embodies in his work a great change in...

If we speak of ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnets’, we mean a collection with this name first published in 1609, when Shakespeare was 45 and most of his plays had been staged; he died only seven years later. The 1609 text is the only authentic source for all the editions of Shakespeare’s Sonnets published since. So much is problematic about this first edition that it is best to...

Jacobean England had its own royal catastrophe when, in 1612, the heir to the throne, Prince Henry, died of typhoid at the age of 18. It even had its lost princess when, in the next year, his sister Elizabeth, afterwards known as the Queen of Hearts, married Frederick V, the Elector Palatine, and disappeared into a long and fairly inglorious future. Both events linger on in the shadowy...

Talking about Shakespeare

Frank Kermode, 28 September 1989

Barbara Everett’s book consists of her four Northcliffe Lectures, given at University College London in 1988, on Hamlet and the other ‘major’ tragedies, together with a number...

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Everett’s English Poets

Frank Kermode, 22 January 1987

Faced with the average book of modern literary criticism, the reviewer may wisely resolve to say nothing about the author’s skills as a writer of prose. If they ever existed, they would...

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