Polonius behind the curtain

In Defense of Polonius

Shakespeare’s tedious old fool was also a dad just doing his best.
Shakespeare volumes on a shelf

In Memoriam of the Convict Scholar

An 1899 issue of The Monthly Record reports the death of an acclaimed Shakespearian "convict scholar," who served over 20 years on a life sentence.
Sarah Bernhardt, 1899

To Be or Not to Be Hamlet

The drama of playing the famous prince. In pictures.
King Lear, Act I, Scene I by Edwin Austin Abbey

The Rowdy Women of Early Modern Theater

There were, in fact, women in the audiences of Shakespeare’s plays. Some came to watch; others to sell their wares; others to get on stage themselves.
A drawing of the Astor Place Riot, 1849, by Charles M. Jenckes

When an Argument Over Macbeth Incited a Bloody Riot

On May 10th, 1849, protestors rioted at Astor Place Opera House, leading to the deadliest civic insurrection in American history up to that time.
Twelfth Night party

Shakespeare, Rembrandt, and the Real “Twelfth Night”

"Twelfth Night" was more than a Shakespeare play; for a very long time it was an extremely popular European winter feast.
Heads quarters

The Statistics of Coin Tosses for Theater Geeks

At the beginning of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a coin toss lands as heads 92 times in a row, the odds of which are a mere 1 in 5 octillion.
Portrait of The Bard cut up symmetrically

The Art of Cutting Up Shakespeare

We should acknowledge the connection between cuts as bodily violence and cuts as violent ways of making art.
JSTOR Daily Friday Reads

Video Games, Italian Revolutionaries, and Anne Tyler

Our Friday Reads are these new books out this week, and related content you won't find anywhere else.