By Oxford University
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Each lecture in this series focuses on a single play by Shakespeare, and employs a range of different approaches to try to understand a central critical question about it. Rather than providing overarching readings or interpretations, the series aims to show the variety of different ways we might understand Shakespeare, the kinds of evidence that might be used to strengthen our critical analysis, and, above all, the enjoyable and unavoidable fact that Shakespeare's plays tend to generate our questions rather than answer them.
||CleanHenry VI, Part 2||Professor Emma Smith continues her Approaching Shakespeare series with a 2017 lecture on the early history play, Henry VI, Part 2.||11/9/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Merry Wives of Windsor||Professor Emma Smith lectures on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.||10/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAll's Well That Ends Well||Professor Emma Smith lectures on Shakespeare’s comedy All's Well That Ends Well.||10/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanCymbeline||Professor Emma Smith continues her Approaching Shakespeare series with a lecture on one of Shakespeare’s later plays, Cymbeline.||10/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTimon of Athens||Emma Smith finishes her Approaching Shakespeare series with a lecture on the play Timon of Athens.||6/23/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanLove's Labour's Lost||Emma Smith continues her Approaching Shakespeare series with a lecture on the play Love's Labour's Lost.||5/27/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJulius Caesar||This lecture on Julius Caesar discusses structure, tone, and politics by focusing on the cameo scene with Cinna the Poet.||5/18/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanRomeo and Juliet||This lecture on Romeo and Juliet tackles the issue of the spoiler-chorus, in an already-too-familiar play. This podcast is suitable for school and college students.||5/5/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanCoriolanus||This lecture takes up a detail from Shakespeare’s late Roman tragedy Coriolanus to ask about the representation of character, the use of sources and the genre of tragedy.||5/5/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanOthello||First in Emma Smith's Approaching Shakespeare lecture series; looking at the central question of race and its significance in the play.||10/18/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHenry V||The second lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series looks at King Henry V, and asks whether his presentation in the play is entirely positive.||10/20/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMeasure for Measure||The third Approaching Shakespeare lecture, on Measure for Measure, focuses on the vexed question of this uncomic comedy's genre.||10/26/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMacbeth||In this fourth Approaching Shakespeare lecture the question is one of agency: who or what makes happen the things that happen in Macbeth?||11/2/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Winter's Tale||How we can make sense of a play that veers from tragedy to comedy and stretches credulity in its conclusion? That's the topic for this fifth Approaching Shakespeare lecture on The Winter's Tale.||11/9/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTitus Andronicus||Focusing in detail on one particular scene, and on critical responses to it, this sixth Approaching Shakespeare lecture on Titus Andronicus deals with violence, rhetoric, and the nature of dramatic sensationalism.||10/19/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTwelfth Night||The seventh Approaching Shakespeare lecture takes a minor character in Twelfth Night - Antonio - and uses his presence to open up questions of sexuality, desire and the nature of romantic comedy.||10/20/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanRichard II||Lecture eight in the Approaching Shakespeare series asks the question that structures Richard II: does the play suggest Henry Bolingbroke's overthrow of the king was justified?||11/1/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAntony and Cleopatra||What kind of tragedy is this play, with its two central figures rather than a singular hero? The ninth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series tries to find out.||11/10/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Tempest||That the character of Prospero is a Shakespearean self-portrait is a common reading of The Tempest: this tenth Approaching Shakespeare lecture asks whether that is a useful reading of the play.||11/14/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHenry IV part 1||Like generations of theatre-goers, this lecture concentrates on the (large) figure of Sir John Falstaff and investigates his role in Henry IV part 1. Lecture 11 in the Approaching Shakespeare series.||11/16/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Comedy of Errors||Lecture 12 in the Approaching Shakespeare series asks how seriously we can take the farcical exploits of Comedy of Errors, drawing out the play's serious concerns with identity and selfhood.||1/23/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanRichard III||In this thirteenth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series the focus is on the inevitability of the ending of Richard III: does the play endorse Richmond's final victory?||1/25/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPericles, Prince of Tyre||Pericles has been on the margins of the Shakespearean canon: this fourteenth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series shows some of its self-conscious artistry and contemporary popularity.||2/1/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanKing John||At the heart of King John is the death of his rival Arthur: this fifteenth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series looks at the ways history and legitimacy are complicated in this plotline.||2/10/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanKing Lear||Showing how generations of critics - and Shakespeare himself - have rewritten the ending of King Lear, this sixteenth Approaching Shakespeare lecture engages with the question of tragedy and why it gives pleasure.||2/22/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAs You Like It||Asking 'what happens in As You Like It', this lecture considers the play's dramatic structure and its ambiguous use of pastoral, drawing on performance history, genre theory, and eco-critical approaches.||10/23/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHamlet||The fact that father and son share the same name in Hamlet is used to investigate the play's nostalgia, drawing on biographical criticism and the religious and political history of early modern England.||10/23/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMuch Ado About Nothing||Emma Smith asks why the characters are so quick to believe the self-proclaimed villain Don John, drawing on gender and performance criticism to think about male bonding, the genre of comedy, and the impulses of modern performance.||10/30/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA Midsummer Night's Dream||This lecture on A Midsummer Night's Dream uses modern and early modern understandings of dreams to uncover a play less concerned with marriage and more with sexual desire.||11/5/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTaming of the Shrew||Emma Smith uses evidence of early reception and from more recent productions to discuss the question of whether Katherine is tamed at the end of the play.||11/9/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Merchant of Venice||This lecture on The Merchant of Venice discusses the ways the play's personal relationships are shaped by models of financial transaction, using the casket scenes as a central example.||11/20/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
This is a nice lecture! It definitely makes Shakespeare approachable! Thanks!
Engrossing and entertaining. Thanks for making these available!
Emma Smith is basically unparalleled. Enjoyable and engaging even from 4000 miles away.
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- Category: Literature
- Language: English
- © Oxford University; the media items are released with a Creative Commons licence