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Martin’s Droeshout portrait of William Shakespeare (1623) Bodleian Library, Oxford.

How to read Shakespeare for pleasure

The Bard's plays have an unfair reputation for being hard. You're probably reading them in the wrong way.
Relics of St. Valentine of Terni at the basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin. Dnalor 01 (Own work)

The ‘real’ St. Valentine was no patron of love

Valentine's Day originated as a feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. It took a gruesome path to becoming a romantic holiday.
From Horace Walpole to Steven King, Shakespeare has inspired centuries of supernatural Gothic terror. Macbeth And Banquo, Théodore Chassériau, 1855. Via Wikimedia Commons

‘Supp’d full with horrors’: 400 years of Shakespearean supernaturalism

Hamlet begins with a 'night of the living dead'; Banquo turns into a ghost . The Bard had a supernatural streak and it was crucial to the genesis of Gothic literature.

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