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Money Man

Michael Neill: Shakespeare in Company, 6 February 2014

Shakespeare in Company 
by Bart van Es.
Oxford, 357 pp., £25, February 2013, 978 0 19 956931 1
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... own playhouse on the Bankside. This was the building whose 20th-century replica was christened ‘Shakespeare’s Globe’. The possessive might have surprised Richard and Cuthbert Burbage, who between them owned half the Globe, whereas Shakespeare’s portion amounted to a tenth; but that stake was enough to make him a ...

Gobsmacked

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 16 July 1998

Lyric Wonder: Rhetoric and Wit in Renaissance English Poetry 
by James Biester.
Cornell, 226 pp., £31.50, May 1997, 0 8014 3313 4
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Reason Diminished: Shakespeare and the Marvellous 
by Peter Platt.
Nebraska, 271 pp., £42.75, January 1998, 0 8032 3714 6
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Shakespeare and the Theatre of Wonder 
by T.G. Bishop.
Cambridge, 222 pp., £32.50, January 1996, 0 521 55086 6
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The Genius of Shakespeare 
by Jonathan Bate.
Picador, 386 pp., £20, September 1997, 0 330 35317 9
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... in our wonder and astonishment/Hast built thyself a lasting monument.’ Historically, Shakespeare criticism begins with wonder, and that it should have returned there in these millennial times ought not to surprise us. This batch of studies finds, in the USA, Peter Plan and T.G. Bishop combing the plays for miracles and James Biester finding the ...

Bonfire in Merrie England

Richard Wilson: Shakespeare’s Burning, 4 May 2017

... On Saturday​ , 6 March 1926, the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon was closed. But around 11 a.m. a girl called Eileen White noticed ‘an awful lot of smoke’ pouring from the back of the building. When she told her aunt she was reassured that it was only ‘Mr Gisbourne’s bonfire’. An hour later, the theatre manageress, Alice Rainbow, was finally warned that the building was on fire ...

Bard of Friendly Fire

Robert Crawford: The Radical Burns, 25 July 2002

Robert Burns: Poems 
edited by Don Paterson.
Faber, 96 pp., £4.99, February 2001, 0 571 20740 5
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The Canongate Burns: The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns 
edited by Andrew Noble and Patrick Scott Hogg.
Canongate, 1017 pp., £40, November 2001, 0 86241 994 8
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... except as an ironic jab. Few poetic terms have shifted in significance so much. When, around 1500, William Dunbar called a rival Scottish poet an ‘Iersche brybour baird’, each word was a studied insult. ‘Iersche’ (Gaelic) was barbarous to Dunbar’s Lowland ear; a ‘brybour’ was a vagabond; a ‘baird’ was a limited sub-poet, not a ‘makar’. A ...

Ropes, Shirts or Dirty Socks

Adam Smyth: Paper, 15 June 2017

Paper: Paging through History 
by Mark Kurlansky.
Norton, 416 pp., £12.99, June 2017, 978 0 393 35370 9
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... verse is significant in other ways: it provides the first printed mention of the deaths of William Shakespeare and Francis Beaumont, who had died four years before, and is a powerful encomium to paper. Taylor identifies two distinct, magical qualities that paper possesses. On the one hand, paper is ‘th’Eternall Testament of all our ...

Unsluggardised

Charles Nicholl: ‘The Shakespeare Circle’, 19 May 2016

The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography 
edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells.
Cambridge, 358 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 107 69909 0
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... It was bought for 36 shillings by Robert Bell Wheler, a local historian, and later donated to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, where it still resides. When the Romantic painter Benjamin Robert Haydon heard news of the discovery he wrote excitedly to his friend Keats: ‘If this is not Shakespeare who is it? … As sure as ...

Lord Have Mercy

James Shapiro: Plague Writing, 31 March 2011

Plague Writing in Early Modern England 
by Ernest Gilman.
Chicago, 295 pp., £24, June 2009, 978 0 226 29409 4
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... Three months before plague struck Stratford, a young woman named Mary gave birth there to a son, William. She and her husband had lost their first two children, Joan and Margaret, in infancy. The prospects for their newborn’s survival – and perhaps their own – must have seemed grim. Just a few doors down from their home on Henley Street, their ...

Only Sleeping

Anne Barton: Variations on Elizabeth I, 10 July 2003

England’s Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy 
by Michael Dobson and Nicola J. Watson.
Oxford, 348 pp., £19.99, November 2002, 0 19 818377 1
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... progress through the collective psyche of her country’. Historians, beginning with John Foxe and William Camden in her own time, and extending across the centuries to Patrick Collinson and David Starkey in our own, have examined Elizabeth’s reign from a variety of angles, analysing its various subtle strategies and compromises, attempting to evaluate what ...

Uncle William

E.S. Turner, 13 June 1991

The Passing of Barchester: A Real-Life Version of Trollop 
by Clive Dewey.
Hambledon, 199 pp., £14.95, April 1991, 1 85285 039 6
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... The Passing of Barchester examines in fine focus the case of a 19th-century Dean of Canterbury, William Rowe Lyall, himself childless, who found Church appointments for his younger brother, four nephews and three nephews-in-law. If there was any ‘senseless outcry’ against Dean Lyall on grounds of favouritism the author does not mention it: though there ...

Fs and Bs

Nicholas Hiley, 9 March 1995

Renegades: Hitler’s Englishmen 
by Adrian Weale.
Weidenfeld, 230 pp., £18.99, May 1994, 0 297 81488 5
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In from the Cold: National Security and Parliamentary Democracy 
by Laurence Lustgarten and Ian Leigh.
Oxford, 554 pp., £22.50, July 1994, 9780198252344
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... S, and at the time of this historic broadcast the announcers were Sergeant MacDonald and Guardsman William Humphrey Griffiths of the British Army, both recruited from German prisoner-of-war camps. While broadcasting for Büro S, they lived in an apartment in Berlin, wore civilian clothes, were provided with supplies of tobacco and alcohol and, if they ...

Posthumous Gentleman

Michael Dobson: Kit Marlowe’s Schooldays, 19 August 2004

The World of Christopher Marlowe 
by David Riggs.
Faber, 411 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 571 22159 9
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Christopher Marlowe and Richard Baines: Journeys through the Elizabethan Underground 
by Roy Kendall.
Fairleigh Dickinson, 453 pp., $75, January 2004, 0 8386 3974 7
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Tamburlaine Must Die 
by Louise Welsh.
Canongate, 149 pp., £9.99, July 2004, 1 84195 532 9
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History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe 
by Rodney Bolt.
HarperCollins, 388 pp., £17.99, July 2004, 0 00 712123 7
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... in handling what remains just recognisable as highly topical material. It is the first of Shakespeare’s comedies to embrace the lyricism that would become one of his hallmarks: from here it is a short step to the triple breakthrough of 1595, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Richard II. The combination of a learned and allusive style ...

Saint Terence

Jonathan Bate, 23 May 1991

Ideology: An Introduction 
by Terry Eagleton.
Verso, 242 pp., £32.50, May 1991, 0 86091 319 8
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... the tune of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’) which begins: Chaucer was a class traitor Shakespeare hated the mob Donne sold out a bit later Sidney was a nob. Stephen Greenblatt, living proof that one may share Eagleton’s scepticism towards the institutions of established power but still relish the nuances of literary texts as Bayley does, would ...

How not to do it

John Sutherland, 22 July 1993

The British Library: For Scholarship, Research and Innovation: Strategic Objectives for the Year 2000 
British Library, 39 pp., £5, June 1993, 0 7123 0321 9Show More
The Library of the British Museum: Retrospective Essays on the Department of Printed Books 
edited by P.R. Harris.
British Library, 305 pp., £35, June 1993, 0 7123 0242 5
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... a central prominence to his hands on the keyboard and the all-important screen which displays ‘Shakespeare, William: Hamlet’ and promises 141 Entries – a VDU cornucopia. Peter James is tieless and youthful. In the background, other screens glow dimly. The second plate portrays ‘Library Chief Executive Brian Lang in ...

Beware of clues!

Joanna Biggs: Geek lit, 21 September 2006

Special Topics in Calamity Physics 
by Marisha Pessl.
Viking, 514 pp., £16.99, September 2006, 0 670 91607 2
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... 1894), The Importance of Being Earnest (Wilde, 1895), and various selections from Shakespeare’s oeuvre, including the late romances. Blue knows the theory, but gets no practice. When her father agrees to settle in Stockton, North Carolina, for her senior year, she finally gets an opportunity to use her reading. She is enrolled at the St ...

So Amused

Sarah Rigby: Fay Weldon, 11 July 2002

Auto da Fay 
by Fay Weldon.
Flamingo, 366 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 9780007109920
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... a name which, Margaret has worked out through numerology, ‘comes out the same’ as William Shakespeare. The fact that the child is a girl is an inconvenience, but it is decided that the name is nevertheless the right one: after all, ‘was not “lin” the female diminutive, and was not Frank my father?’ When the baby’s absent father ...

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