Wes Mountain/The Conversation
Shakespeare’s first reputation was as a poet, and particularly as a sex poet. He would later incorporate his bawdy inclinations into his most famous plays.
Transversal Theater Company production of Titus Andronicus, 2012.
Even Samuel Johnson found some of Shakespeare's violent scenes unwatchable.
Jules Salles-Wagner’s 1898 painting ‘Romeo and Juliet.’
We talk excitedly about meeting someone with whom we 'click' or 'really hit it off.' So why do so many of us hesitate to call it love?
Shakespeare can survive a little chipping away at his 400-year reputation.
Many of Shakespeare’s plays addressed queer themes.
We will never know whether or not Shakespeare was queer, but we do know his plays often tackled themes of sexuality in queer ways. Will this summer's productions honour those original ideas?
OlegDoroshin / Shutterstock.com
Car parks seem to be intersecting with English history quite a bit lately.
Francesco Francia, Madonna and Saints (detail).
How would a Jacobean servant react to a trumpet flourish?
Songwriters such as Nick Cave (pictured) and the late Yolngu star Gurrumul have often drawn on the scriptures in their work.
In less than two generations, the proportion of Australians who never pick up a Bible has leapt to seven out of ten. But a robust biblical literacy can help us decode creative works and understand the past.
Anne-MarieDuff and Rory Kinnear as the Macbeths.
Brinkhoff and Moegenburg/National Theatre
Brilliant performances from the two central characters are undermined by a confused production.
The Great War uses scale models to depict catastrophe through a keyhole.
The Great War uses scale models to give a worm's eye view of titanic violence. In Kings of War, by contrast, lethal events are viewed from the unsteady perspective of leaders.
Allan Clayton as Hamlet and Lorina Gore as Ophelia in Brett Dean’s opera at the Adelaide Festival.
Neil Armfield's production of the Brett Dean opera Hamlet is a confronting three hours in the theatre, but then so is Shakespeare's play. The second act is devastating in its emotional impact.
The theme at the core of Rowling’s wizarding world speaks directly to a universal human reality: The struggle to come to terms with our mortality.
We may think of _Harry Potter_ as escapist delight, but J.K. Rowling’s books also contain an extended theme that has more in common with _King Lear_ than most English professors might care to admit.
Relics of St. Valentine of Terni at the basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin.
Dnalor 01 (Own work)
Valentine's Day originated as a feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. So how did the day become a celebration of love?
French engraving of a cuckolded husband.
University of Victoria
'Cuck', short for cuckold, is the favoured insult of men's rights activists today. But the term has a long history: from the 16th to 18th centuries it reflected a deep anxiety about women's sexual appetites.
John Fead, Shakespeare and his contemporaries, 1851.
The first recorded performance of the theatre company that Shakespeare co-founded was at a playhouse south of the Thames, but was lost to historians for centuries. Now we know where it lies.
A statue of former Cape Colony governor Cecil Rhodes is removed from the University of Cape Town after student protests.
The process of decolonising research methodology is an ethical, ontological and political exercise rather than simply one of approach and ways of producing knowledge.
Market street near the Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab. Ben Crowe/ERA Films
Shakespeare’s play offered me a chance to think about India's political and social issues from a literary and epic perspective.
Nikki Shiels in The Rover.
The Rover begins with 17th-century playwright Aphra Behn inviting those who don't like the idea of a female writer to fuck off, setting the tone for a hilarious and utterly relevant romp through Naples.
The series has divided critics: many have praised its sensitive depiction of rape and suicide, others have said it romantises taking one's own life.
Gregg Henry portrays President Donald Trump in the role of Caesar in the Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of ‘Julius Caesar,’ in New York City.
Joan Marcus/The Public Theater via AP
Some have denounced the New York Public Theater for encouraging violence against President Trump. But the play does just the opposite, warning of the pitfalls of political assassination.