The Tragedy of the Republic

We French have for some years been overcome by a furor for republicanism and for citizenship. There is no activity so humble that it cannot take on an intimidating nobility as soon as it is associated with citizenship. The republic calls us, besieges us, smothers us—but where is the republic? Are . . . . Continue Reading »

What We've Been Reading—12.9.16

I've been immersed in Shakespeare's King Lear, but not solely as a text on a page. I'm acting in a production of the play here in New York City, playing the King of France and the Servant who stands up to Cornwall in the famous eye-gouging scene. Continue Reading »

Hazarding All

The play begins and ends in the romantic world of magical, musical, moonlit Belmont, and in between descends into the gritty business of Venice. From the start, though, romantic and commercial concerns are linked. Continue Reading »

Surprised by Evil

Macbeth’s ambition is to murder time itself. He wishes he could perform one act that would bring the end of acting, one final deed. He wants to drop a pebble into a pool without causing ripples. He finds he can’t, and instead each murder just makes it more difficult for him to stop murdering. Continue Reading »

Shakespeare the Conservative?

Writing at Salon, Colin MacDonald urges us to dispense with the “myth” of the conservative Shakespeare, the Shakespeare who endorsed the divine right of kings and genuflected to his royal patrons. To MacDonald, a poet who has Lear say, “Unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare, Four Centuries On

This Saturday, April 23rd, marks an important anniversary: four hundred years since the death of William Shakespeare. Or, at least, four centuries on from the traditional date of Shakespeare's death, dated backwards from his funeral on April 25th, 1616. Similarly, Shakespeare's birthday is not . . . . Continue Reading »