“There is no centre anymore. We live in a multipolar world, and culture reflects that." Fatima Bhutto
Posts tagged "Shakespeare"
Not quite the way to the stars

Not quite the way to the stars

“O, it is excellent / To have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous / To use it like a giant.” Shakespeare certainly knew his Romans; even though the lines that capture so brilliantly – and devastatingly – the allure of power and its raw brutality come from Measure for Measure, they could well have...
Black is the badge of hell

Black is the badge of hell

“Black is the badge of hell / the hue of dungeons and the school of night,” laments Ferdinand, King of Navarre in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour Lost. Some versions of the text offer scowl, style or suit instead of school, and one is tempted to think that Stephen Greenblatt would have boldly and keenly pressed for...
Puppetmasters

Puppetmasters

Do you ever have the feeling that somebody or something is influencing your life in some way? Making you do the foolish things that you know you really shouldn’t, providing snakes where in fact you should be going up ladders? You’re quite right. There is. The somebody is you, programmed to do what you do...
A family feud

A family feud

It was Monday, July the tenth in the year 1499. A restless moment in a restless world. Rodrigo Borgia reigned as Pope Alexander the Sixth, a pontiff as fond of corruption and debauchery as he was of pomp and ritual. In Florence a brief republic was struggling to emerge from the ruins left by the...
The Talleyrand of East Africa

The Talleyrand of East Africa

“’Ullo, I am ze Breetish Consul.” My startled reaction revealed my prejudice. I didn’t cover it well. “You can’t be. You’re French!” “Eet is a long stohry. Shall we ’ave a drink?” We sat down. One by one the other members of the company came to join us, dressed in their evening casual best, and...
Approaching Onegin

Approaching Onegin

Alexander Pushkin is, by universal assent, the most important figure in the history of Russian culture, and his finest work is Yevgeny Onegin (1823–31). He is to Russia what Dante is to Italy, Shakespeare to England and Cervantes to Spain, and for the Russians his novel in verse is a rough equivalent to those other...
Shakespeare's exiles

Shakespeare’s exiles

A tempestuous and disproportionate furore erupted in the media after Benedict Cumberbatch used stronger terms than usually expected to entreat the audience at a recent production of Hamlet at the Barbican to show support for the refugees arriving on Europe’s shores. The actor’s reaction, after being presented with a CBE by the Queen for his...
Opening night at Shakespeare’s Globe

Opening night at Shakespeare’s Globe

The Time Travel Handbook offers eighteen exceptional trips to the past, transporting you back to the greatest spectacles in history. You can join Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold; march on Versailles with the revolutionary women of Paris; sail with Captain Cook to Tahiti and Australia; hang out at Xanadu with...
David Gates: Mixed emotions

David Gates: Mixed emotions

David Gates’ smart, scary and intoxicatingly funny novel Jernigan, about the destructive downward spiral of a restless, alcoholic recent widower, received ecstatic reviews when first published in 1991, but since fell on hard times in the UK. Serpent’s Tail has now reissued Jernigan alongside Gates’ first new book in sixteen years, the story collection A Hand Reached...
A legacy like no other

A legacy like no other

Shakespeare has mattered ever since his name first appeared in print in 1593 with his erotic and entertaining poem ‘Venus and Adonis’. He was 29 years old. For much of the poem the goddess of love is naked and begging for sex before Adonis, but he resists her advances. ‘Venus and Adonis’ was a sensation...