Shapiro at the Sam Wanamaker: 2nd October 2015

Reading all the Books

I wrote last year about the first Shapiro lecture I attended at the Sam Wanamaker theatre, when I was terribly excited to hear his next book would be on 1606, Jacobean London. Shapiro’s latest talk accompanied the launch of said book, and to open his talk he humorously positioned the book on the stage behind him ‘in case I forget anything.’

As before, Shapiro did not have a pre-prepared speech; he simply took questions from the audience. The first: why 1606? Shapiro said that academics tended to ‘divide up Shakespeare’ within their department to ‘before Hamlet and after Hamlet. Because no one wants to give up Hamlet.’ Having taught ‘before Hamlet’ for many years, he humbly protested: ‘I needed to know more about that time.’

Asked about a Freudian interpretation of King Lear, he replied: ‘I live back then;’ he expanded this to say that a contemporary audience…

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