Stanley Wells is one of the world’s premier Shakespearean scholars, with, as he discusses in his epilogue, more than 80 years of experience of studying, teaching, reading, and watching Shakespeare. His newest book is an exploration of the man: What Was Shakespeare Really Like? (Cambridge University Press, September 2023). He writes about Shakespeare by considering

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The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination by Barry Strauss (Simon & Schuster, March 2015) examines the traditions of the assassination of Julius Caesar, clearing up the myths (such as Shakespeare’s play) from reality. Analyzing such a historic event from 44 B.C. is not easy since eyewitness accounts are few and far

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William Shakespeare’s plays have abundant evidence of the influences on the man behind the words. Shakespeare obviously was familiar with the world and especially human nature. I’ve read that he did not get some geographic facts correct, but in general, he seems to have been pretty well rounded. Just read a play and you can

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The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare felt a lot like Love’s Labour’s Lost when I read it because there was misdirected love. But The Comedy of Errors takes humor to another level by adding in mistaken identity because of a double set of identical twins! In The Comedy of Errors, there are two sets

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I had hoped that by waiting a week or two I’d know what I want to say about Love’s Labour’s Lost, but after all this time I still have very little to say. I worry that I feel this way because I read a free Project Gutenberg version of it, and as I read in

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Shakespeare on Toast by Ben Crystal (Icon Books, September 2012) purports to be a book for young adults, providing a look at Shakespeare as “as easy to handle as beans on toast”. That must be a British thing because beans on toast sounds pretty gross to me. (I don’t like beans.) At any rate, Shakespeare

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I wish I could finish off my series of posts on Henry VI with as much enthusiasm as I had for the second play, but 3 Henry VI (written 1595) was simply not as enjoyable as 2 Henry VI was. In the first place, 3 Henry VI is simply violent from the first scene, when

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Coming off the heels of 1 Henry VI, the next play, 2 Henry VI, struck me as wonderfully written. I hadn’t found much to stand out in 1 Henry VI. But from the beginning, the analogies, the rhythm of the poetry, and the play on words impressed me in the second play. As the action

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I am not personally attached to any physical volume or edition of literature, but I certainly appreciate a nicely bound book, and the history (or marginalia) of old works can be quite interesting. The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folios by Eric Rasmussen (Palgrave Macmillian 2011) is a personal account of Mr Rasmussen’s

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