Shakespeare’s World

AS A FREE ONLINE LEARNING RESOURCE FOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS WORKING REMOTELY IN A TIME OF PLAGUE AND BEYOND, HERE ARE THE SHORT VIDEOS FROM MY UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK / SHAKESPEARE BIRTHPLACE TRUST / FUTURELEARN ONLINE COURSE ON SHAKESPEARE AND HIS WORLD (which is now no longer available for enrollment).

Each week has an introduction then 6 or maybe 7 short films. Each one begins from a book, manuscript or object in the collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Shakespeare’s childhood home in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, or just occasionally from elsewhere. None of the videos is more than about 10 minutes long. Week 1 offers a general introduction to his life, work and world; week 2 looks at rural Warwickshire, life in Stratford-upon-Avon and The Merry Wives of Windsor, his comedy of small-town English society; week 3 turns to the theatre and the process of putting on plays, focused via A Midsummer Night’s Dream; week 4 reminds us that throughout the 1590s Shakespeare lived in a world at war — the focal play here is Henry V; week 5 looks at money, focusing on The Merchant of Venice; week 6 on witches and doctors in Macbeth; week 7 uses Othello to explore Venice, Islam and race; week 8 explores the formative influence on Shakespeare of ancient Rome, via Antony and Cleopatra; week 9 spins out into brave new worlds from The Tempest; and the closing week looks at the history of Shakespeare’s posthumous reputation, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries.

WEEK 1 – AN INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE AND HIS WORLD

Welcome to Week 1:

The Parish Register:

The Gold Ring:

Acting and Writing:

Venus and Adonis:

Patrons:

Rival Playwrights:

The Monarchs:

WEEK 2 -STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, WARWICKSHIRE, SMALL TOWN LIFE & THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR

Welcome to Week 2:

Christopher Saxton’s map of Warwickshire:

John Shakespeare, Bailiff of Stratford:

Dugdale’s Antiquities and the Coat of Arms:

The Horn Book:

Lily’s Grammar:

Ovid and The Merry Wives of Windsor:

Merry Wives:

WEEK 3 – THE THEATRE, THE MAKING OF PLAYS & A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

Welcome to Week 3:

Shakespeare’s first experience of theatre:

The London theatre:

Public theatre and court theatre:

Casting the play:

Bottom on stage:

Quarto and Folio:

WEEK 4 – A WORLD AT WAR – HENRY V

Welcome to Week 4:

After the Armada:

Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland:

Preparing the troops for battle:

The night before Agincourt:

Falstaff, Pistol and the varieties of weaponry:

The art of war:

WEEK 5: MONEY AND THE CITY – THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

Welcome to Week 5:

The Quiney letter and the lending of money:

Making money:

Venice and London:

The value of money:

Shylock the Jew:

Shylock on stage:

WEEK 6: WITCHES AND DOCTORS – MACBETH

Welcome to Week 6:

The Weird Sisters:

The Insane Root:

The Discovery of Witchcraft:

Health and Madness:

Doctors and Macbeth:

Evil, Hell, Macbeth and Dr Faustus:

WEEK 7: THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS – OTHELLO

Welcome to Week 7:

An introduction to Venice:

Venetian women:

Turning Turk:

Turkish sophistication – the Iznik dish:

Othello’s pre-history and Christian slaves:

The sword of Spain:

WEEK 8: THE ROMAN EXAMPLE – ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA

Welcome to Week 8:

North’s Plutarch – Life of Mark Antony:

Cleopatra:

The Nile:

Internet research of images:

Augustus Caesar:

King James I as Augustus:

WEEK 9: O BRAVE NEW WORLD – THE TEMPEST

Welcome to Week 9:

The Tempest and the New World:

Voyages of discovery – the deed box:

Shakespeare and Montaigne:

Caliban and music:

Prospero, John Dee and magic:

The Tempest in the First Folio:

WEEK 10: THE CULT OF SHAKESPEARE

Welcome to Week 10:

The Chesterfield portrait:

Shakespeare in print in the 18th century:

Garrick’s Jubilee and the origins of Stratford tourism:

Romanticism and Sir Walter Scott in Stratford:

Global Shakespeare in the stacks:

Back at the Birthplace:

Course Conclusion:

EPILOGUE: THE AUTHORSHIP QUESTION

After running the online course a couple of times, we decided that we had to address the elephant in the room, so the final run included an extra film in Week 1, addressing the anxieties provoked by the conspiracy theorists: