James Sheldrake, jack of all literary trades, attempts to say something valuable about each of Shakespeare's plays in handy 15-minute instalments.
Henry V – The Play, The Myth, The Legend
Henry V: one of the most patriotic characters and plays in all of literature, surely? Not so, says Sheldrake. Henry V and his world are thoroughly morally ambiguous. Also available on iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/ndhzfxm
Henry IV Part 2 – Learning to Play
How did people learn to act in the Renaissance? Did the texts themselves co-operate in teaching newish actors how to do certain things? Sheldrake thinks so.
Short SoS – The Folger Institute
Amongst the Palladian architecture of Washington DC there lies a grey stone block, the Folger Institute. Its vaults house the largest single collection of Shakespeare First Folios anywhere in the world and it is a hub of scholarly activity. After a recent holiday to Washington, Sheldrake talks you through it. Also available on iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/ndhzfxm
Henry IV, Part 1 – History and Personality
What to say about Henry IV Part 1? In the first of three main episodes, each of which will tackle one play in this Henriad, Sheldrake explores a play about history and personality, focussing on Prince Henry and his rival for glory Harry Hotspur. Also available on iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/ndhzfxm
Short SoS – Teaching Shakespeare
He claims no monopoly on wisdom in this area, but as an academic year draws to a close and the long vacation heaves into view, Sheldrake reflects on his experiences of teaching Shakespeare. Also available on iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/ndhzfxm
Troilus and Cressida – Shakespeare’s Ugliest Play
We associate Shakespeare with humanity, warmth, generosity and kindness when he writes about people who have made a wrong decision. Even Richard III at the beginning of his play tells us what a dreadful life he’s had until now. Troilus and Cressida is different. Shakespeare is merciless with his characters and shows the Trojan War […]
The Shakespeare Podcast You are Looking For
Whether you are new to Shakespeare or considerably more advanced, I highly recommend that you try Mr. Sheldrake’s podcast. He speaks on a wide range of topics citing history and scholarship, but also, importantly, he has his own perspective; and you trust his judgment because his arguments ring true. Better still is that his speaking style has a conversational quality like the smart friend you always wish you had who shares with you the ins and outs to some of the greatest art civilization has produced. Finally it should be said that Mr. Sheldrake treats the listener with genuine respect. He keeps the discourse at a high level but in a way that everyone can comprehend. This podcast is pitch perfect. If you’re like me then before long you will be returning to past episodes to reacclimatize yourself with his ideas - both Shakespeare’s and Sheldrake's. Very enjoyable learning.