You can’t help avoiding Shakespeare and the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of his death, especially when entering Senate House and its ceremonial staircase. Each morning I am greeted by the playwright’s staring eyes and, each morning, I think I ought to write a post. So here goes.
Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me / From mine own library with volumes that / I prize above my dukedom.
Shakespeare has 1860 references on BBIH, surpassing Elizabeth I (1158 references), Winston Churchill (1273) and Geoffrey Chaucer (650). But, as I alluded to in my title, there is more to Shakespeare than drama.
A Person as subject search for “Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616” brings up the aforementioned 1860 references. However if I add in Subject tree “Representations of politics” there are over 200 references.
Picking out some titles, we can further narrow the search down. So Silences of Elizabeth I and Shakespeare’s Isabella discusses royal marriages or lack thereof; while Shakespeare’s curse : the aporias of ritual exclusion in early modern royal drama explores royal ceremonial; and Hamlet and Succession discusses royal succession.
So by narrowing the search in the subject tree for “Succession, royal” we get 15 hits.
Shakespeare’s reputed Roman Catholic sympathies can be examined and the research further extended by looking for biographies of the writer.
After a quick straw poll of the office, and in no particular order, here are our top three references to Shakespeare.
From Jew to Puritan: The emblematic owl in early English culture by Brett Hirsch, which discusses the image of the owl to portray Jews, Puritans and Catholics in pamphlets, prints and drama.
Coverture and its discontents: legal fictions on and off the early modern English stage by Natasha Korda, which outlines the law as represented in plays by Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson and Shakespeare.
And, finally, The Shakespeare circle : an alternative biography by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells, covering in detail his family (including his parents and siblings) as well as his friends and collaborators.