Emma Smith

This is Shakespeare

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Sat 2nd November 2019 Start Time: 3:45 pm End Time: 4:45 pm

United Reformed Church, Rother Street


Every word written by Shakespeare has been analysed to the nth degree by academics around the world. But Emma Smith’s important new book, described by Dame Hilary Mantel as having a ‘passion and curiosity that light up the page’, thrives on revealing, not resolving, the ambiguities of Shakespeare’s plays, debunking our obsession with what Shakespeare ‘really meant’. The Oxford University Professor of Shakespeare Studies, she’ll be discussing whether A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a hymn to marriage, or does wife-swapping, sexual masochism and bestiality win the day? Is PTSD a condition of Coriolanus or of the play itself? She’ll also talk about whether Shakespeare’s gappiness, not genius, is his defining characteristic, and how his plays are alive in unpredictable and changing ways, forever open to reinterpretation across cultures and time – and wonderfully unsuited to the school exam system.

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