Michael Neill

Michael Neill’s books include Issues of Death: Mortality and Identity in English Renaissance Tragedy.

In the Shady Wood: Staging the Forest

Michael Neill, 22 March 2018

Anne Barton​ delivered the lectures on ‘The Shakespearean Forest’ that form the basis for this, her much anticipated last book, in Cambridge in 2003. The Clark Lectures were themselves the product of an extended reflection on the significance of Shakespeare’s imaginary woodlands, developing and expanding material from earlier lectures and essays. As Peter Holland’s...

‘Memory,’​ my mother remarked, distress masked by her usual self-mocking humour, ‘is a thing of the past.’ She was 85 and sliding into the dementia that would ultimately erase all remembrance. Increasingly haunted by the fear that she had, literally, nothing to say, nervous of gaps in conversation, she would make things up, their frequently bizarre character a...

Glimpsed in the Glare: Shakespeare in 1606

Michael Neill, 17 December 2015

Perhaps​ the first ever ‘lifestyle magazine’, Country Life was founded in 1897 to cater for the leisured interests of the upper class, and was devoted to articles on golf and racing, leavened with discreet advertisements for manorial estates. Now a subsidiary of Time Inc., it has become a lavishly ornamented real estate window for the 1 per cent, and for those who dream of...

I must needs acknowledge, that the Greeke and Latine tongues, are great ornaments in a Gentleman, but they are purchased at over-high rate.

Montaigne, Essays

I grew up​ in postwar Northern Ireland and at the age of eight, when it was time for proper education to begin, I was loaded onto a train at Belfast Central and shunted across the border to Aravon, a dismal institution in Co....

Money Man: Shakespeare in Company

Michael Neill, 6 February 2014

In 1598 the Lord Chamberlain’s Men were forced to dismantle James Burbage’s Theatre in Shoreditch, which they had occupied since their foundation in 1594, so they transported it across the Thames and built their own playhouse on the Bankside. This was the building whose 20th-century replica was christened ‘Shakespeare’s Globe’. The possessive might have surprised...

Hamlet calls death the ‘undiscovered country’, but perhaps the deftness of that description masks a fatal insouciance. True, it isn’t really possible for us to...

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