Every word written by Shakespeare has been analysed to the nth degree by academics around the world, but an important new book thrives on revealing, not resolving, the ambiguities of Shakespeare’s plays, debunking our obsession with what Shakespeare ‘really meant’. Our Festival President chats with Oxford University’s Professor of Shakespeare Studies about a book she has described as having a ‘passion and curiosity that light up the page’. Is A Midsummer Night’s Dream 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? Chaired by the BBC Radio 4 Commissioning Editor for Arts, they’ll 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.
In partnership with BSLF Benefactors