Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare’

There’s nothing like the reporting of a sensational new scholarly discovery in the national press to make me feel that my natural environment may be in a 1950s Oxbridge common room, grumbling over the port, rather than maintaining this pretence that I am some sort of engaged, public-facing, anti-elitist academic. This morning it’s the greatest development in literary studies for centuries, with the alleged identification of a new portrait of William Shakespeare that will undoubtedly transform our understanding of all his plays (not quite sure how the presence of a snake’s-head fritillary is supposed to influence the interpretation of Hamlet, but then I’m not a literary scholar). It’s all too reminiscent of the fuss over the discovery of the actual bones of Richard III, which demanded the re-writing of pretty well the whole of English history (and doubtless is part of the unique traditions that show we should leave the EU forthwith), where I found myself quite out of step with the majority in my bemusement at the idea that this had any historical significance whatsoever (but that did generate the highest viewing figures on this blog ever, and almost led to an invitation to speak on BBC Radio Bristol on the occasion of the re-interment, so it’s tempting to try to repeat the experiment: Whoop-de-doo!). (more…)

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