Hosted by Cassidy Cash, That Shakespeare Life takes you behind the curtain and into the real life of William Shakespeare.
Hobby Horses with Natalia Pikli
When you hear the term “hobby horse” you may be tempted to recall images of toy wooden horses that children laugh and play on. For Shakespeare’s lifetime, however, this term refers to a particular kind of dance that featured in popular celebrations like May Day and Morris dances. The hobby horse dance was a characterized and often costumed representation of a person riding a horse, and it was a staple feature of these celebratory dances. Our guest this week has written extensively about the history of the hobby horse and where they would have appeared in Shakespeare’s lifetime. We are delighted to welcome Professor at Eotvos Lorand University of Budapest and the author of Shakespeare’s Hobby-Horse and Early Modern Popular Culture, Dr. Natalia Pikli.
Infant Formula in the 16th Century
Commercial baby formula wouldn’t hit the mass market until the 1800s, but Shakespeare’s lifetime still had to deal with babies who needed to eat but were unable, for a variety of reasons, to nurse and drink breastmilk. Here this week to help us take a look at baby formula, baby bottles, and the role of wet nurses in Shakespeare’s lifetime is our guest and author of multiple articles on the history of baby formula, Carla Cevasco.
King John with Ralph Turner
While King John isn’t one of the more popular Shakespeare plays performed by companies today, taking a look back at monarchs of the past was a favorite pastime for Elizabethan England. To better understand the real history behind Shakespeare’s version of this famous monarch, we’ve invited our guest and author of the book King John for The Medieval World, Ralph Turner here today to share with us the context of King John’s life, impact on the legacy of England, and exactly what led to him being so villainized for centuries to come.
Bears of 1608 with Callan Davies
An anonymous dairy was written in 1608 cataloging the keeping of bears for the sport of bear baiting in England. Our guest today calls this diary the “Bearward Diary of 1608” and the term “bearward” is used to describe individuals whose job it was to take care of or travel with a bear (or in the case of this diary, multiple bears), for the purpose of putting on bearbaiting shows around England.The diary is a fascinating glimpse into the history of bearbaiting and the logistics behind finding, showing, and traveling with, bears in the 17th century, To help us explore the diary in more detail and understand some of the history it reveals about bears in Shakespeare’s lifetime is our guest and contributor to the Box Office Bears project, Callan Davies.
Conrad Gessner with Dan Hooley
The true example of a Renaissance Man, or a person who is great with many talents or areas of knowledge, Conrad Gessner joins the ranks of herbalists like William Turner and John Gerard as not only influences on Shakespeare, but examples of the influence of Renaissance thought on life in Elizabethan England. Gessner’s works were printed prolifically and consumed regularly in England, most likely by Shakespeare himself. Having completed over 70 publications in his lifetime, Conrad Gessner is a powerhouse of information and his surviving works provide vital links to the mindset and understanding of the world from the Renaissance. Here today to share with us what Conrad Gessner was like, the works he completed, and exactly how it is we are supposed to spell his name, is our guest Dan Hooley.
How did Shakespeare Sleep? With Sasha Handley
Shakespeare mentions sleep in his plays over 380 times, and the word bed over 540 times! His works mentions Truckle beds, as well as the famous Great Bed of Ware, but when it comes to the bard himself, what did he sleep on? Here this week to help us explore beds in Tudor England as well as pajamas, bedtime rituals, and the materials used to make bed sheets is our guest and author of Sleep in Early Modern England, Sasha Handley.
Fun and informative!
This is exactly what I was looking for in my search for a Shakespeare podcast- an in-depth look at the history and culture of his time. The interview style makes for easy listening while still offering a lot of insight!
I LOVE this podcast. It has helped me understand Shakespeare in a way I simply could not access before.
Truly great podcast
Cassidy Cash has an encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare and asks incisive questions to her excellent guests. Every episode reveals a new, often unexpected angle of Elizabethan and Jacobean life.