Myth

Short SoS – Why is Falstaff so popular?

Sir John Falstaff is a river who has burst his banks. He has taken on a life beyond Shakespeare’s plays and become a myth in his own right. Anybody who has a thirst for life is described as Falstaffian, he has had operas written for him, actors at the mature height of their comic powers have repeatedly enjoyed success as this embodiment of festivity and he remains an unassailable favourite with audiences. Is he just very entertaining, or is there more to it than that?

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Short SoS – Shakespeare the Magpie

Shakespeare nicked stuff from everywhere; prose narratives, history books, other plays. Sheldrake rattles through a few of the old chestnuts and a few of the lesser-known borrowings, showing Shakespeare as a great adapter of stories.

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Short SoS – Venus and Adonis

The poetry of Shakespeare tends to be an “also-ran” in his canon, but Venus and Adonis tells us as much about his development and abilities as any of the plays.

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Short SoS – Shakespeare at School

If you think Shakespeare was a purely natural genius, the words spilling out from a free spirit of a mind, think again. Shakespeare’s rigorous education at school primed him in all sorts of crucial ways for his later career. Sheldrake explains how at breakneck speed.

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