Category Archives: Theatre

Comedy Comes of Age in Shakespeare’s All’s Well

[I gave a version of this piece as a lecture at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, in 2009, at the invitation of John Jowett. It’s pretty closely in dialogue with my book Shakespeare and Comedy (Arden, 2005), especially Chapter 3, ‘Lightness, … Continue reading

Posted in Early Modern, Theatre | Leave a comment

Comedy, Gender and Freedom of Speech in the Plays of Lyly and Marlowe

[I’ve recently been working with Dermot Cavanagh on a special issue of the Journal of the Northern Renaissance in honour of our friend Alison Thorne, who was forced by illness into early retirement. While writing the introduction to the issue … Continue reading

Posted in Early Modern, Theatre | Leave a comment

Generals and Degenerates in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida

Shakespeare wrote Troilus and Cressida in 1602, after the execution for treason of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, in the protracted final years of Elizabeth I. With the death of Essex a phase of Shakespeare’s life came to an end. … Continue reading

Posted in Early Modern, Theatre | Leave a comment

Shakespeare’s Comic Imagination

This post begins and ends with two comedies in which Shakespeare unleashed the full force of his imagination on the space of the stage: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest. Both of these plays have plots not directly derived … Continue reading

Posted in Early Modern, Theatre | Leave a comment

Wonders of the Northlands: Hamlet and Macbeth

Hamlet and Macbeth are the Shakespeare plays with the most northerly settings. Elsinore in Denmark, where Hamlet is set, lies pretty much on the same latitude as the Perthshire countryside where much of the action in Macbeth takes place, and … Continue reading

Posted in Early Modern, Theatre | Leave a comment