Shakespeare In A Divided America, By James Shapiro

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
012020031620200317 (R4)

Scholar James Shapiro's timely exploration of what Shakespeare's plays reveal about the US

Leading scholar James Shapiro makes a timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about deep divisions in the United States - from revolutionary times to the present day.

The plays of William Shakespeare are rare common ground in the United States. They are read at school by almost every student, staged in theatres across the country, and valued by conservatives and liberals alike. For well over two centuries, Americans of all stripes - presidents and activists, writers and soldiers - have turned to Shakespeare’s works to explore the nation’s fault lines, including issues such as race, gender, immigration, and free speech.

In a narrative arching across the centuries, from revolutionary times to the present day, James Shapiro traces the unparalleled role of Shakespeare’s 400 year-old tragedies and comedies in illuminating the concerns on which American identity has turned. No writer has been more closely embraced by Americans, or has shed more light on the pressing issues in their history. Shapiro argues it is by better understanding Shakespeare’s role in American life that Americans might begin to mend their bitterly divided land.

Written by James Shapiro
Read by Kerry Shale
Abridged by Kerry Shale and Jill Waters
Producer: Lizzie Davies
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

James Shapiro's exploration of what Shakespeare's plays reveal about American society.

022020031720200318 (R4)

Scholar James Shapiro's timely exploration of what Shakespeare's plays reveal about the US

Leading scholar James Shapiro makes a timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about deep divisions in the United States - from revolutionary times to the present day.

The plays of William Shakespeare are rare common ground in the United States. They are read at school by almost every student, staged in theatres across the country, and valued by conservatives and liberals alike. For well over two centuries, Americans of all stripes - presidents and activists, writers and soldiers - have turned to Shakespeare’s works to explore the nation’s fault lines, including issues such as race, gender, immigration, and free speech.

In a narrative arching across the centuries, from revolutionary times to the present day, James Shapiro traces the unparalleled role of Shakespeare’s 400 year-old tragedies and comedies in illuminating the concerns on which American identity has turned.

Deeply researched, Shakespeare in a Divided America reveals how no writer has been more closely embraced by Americans, or has shed more light on the pressing issues in their history. Shapiro argues it is by better understanding of Shakespeare’s role in American life that Americans might begin to mend their bitterly divided land.

Written by James Shapiro
Read by Kerry Shale
Abridged by Kerry Shale and Jill Waters
Producer: Lizzie Davies
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

14th April 1865. A theatre is again the backdrop to a pivotal event in American history.

032020031820200319 (R4)

Scholar James Shapiro's timely exploration of what Shakespeare's plays reveal about the US

Leading scholar James Shapiro makes a timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about deep divisions in the United States - from revolutionary times to the present day.

The plays of William Shakespeare are rare common ground in the United States. They are read at school by almost every student, staged in theatres across the country, and valued by conservatives and liberals alike. For well over two centuries, Americans of all stripes - presidents and activists, writers and soldiers - have turned to Shakespeare’s works to explore the nation’s fault lines, including issues such as race, gender, immigration, and free speech.

In a narrative arching across the centuries, from revolutionary times to the present day, James Shapiro traces the unparalleled role of Shakespeare’s 400 year-old tragedies and comedies in illuminating the concerns on which American identity has turned.

Deeply researched, Shakespeare in a Divided America reveals how no writer has been more closely embraced by Americans, or has shed more light on the pressing issues in their history. Shapiro argues it is by better understanding of Shakespeare’s role in American life that Americans might begin to mend their bitterly divided land.

Written by James Shapiro
Read by Kerry Shale
Abridged by Kerry Shale and Jill Waters
Producer: Lizzie Davies
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

James Shapiro sees Shakespeare's The Tempest as a metaphor for US immigration.

042020031920200320 (R4)

Scholar James Shapiro's timely exploration of what Shakespeare's plays reveal about the US

Leading scholar James Shapiro makes a timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about deep divisions in the United States - from revolutionary times to the present day.

The plays of William Shakespeare are rare common ground in the United States. They are read at school by almost every student, staged in theatres across the country, and valued by conservatives and liberals alike. For well over two centuries, Americans of all stripes - presidents and activists, writers and soldiers - have turned to Shakespeare’s works to explore the nation’s fault lines, including issues such as race, gender, immigration, and free speech.

In a narrative arching across the centuries, from revolutionary times to the present day, James Shapiro traces the unparalleled role of Shakespeare’s 400 year-old tragedies and comedies in illuminating the concerns on which American identity has turned.

Deeply researched, Shakespeare in a Divided America reveals how no writer has been more closely embraced by Americans, or has shed more light on the pressing issues in their history. Shapiro argues it is by better understanding of Shakespeare’s role in American life that Americans might begin to mend their bitterly divided land.

Written by James Shapiro
Read by Kerry Shale
Abridged by Kerry Shale and Jill Waters
Producer: Lizzie Davies
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

Many film versions of Shakespeare are a disappointment. But one film bucks that trend.

052020032020200321 (R4)

Scholar James Shapiro's timely exploration of what Shakespeare's plays reveal about the US

Leading scholar James Shapiro makes a timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about deep divisions in the United States - from revolutionary times to the present day.

The plays of William Shakespeare are rare common ground in the United States. They are read at school by almost every student, staged in theatres across the country, and valued by conservatives and liberals alike. For well over two centuries, Americans of all stripes - presidents and activists, writers and soldiers - have turned to Shakespeare’s works to explore the nation’s fault lines, including issues such as race, gender, immigration, and free speech.

In a narrative arching across the centuries, from revolutionary times to the present day, James Shapiro traces the unparalleled role of Shakespeare’s 400 year-old tragedies and comedies in illuminating the concerns on which American identity has turned.

Deeply researched, Shakespeare in a Divided America reveals how no writer has been more closely embraced by Americans, or has shed more light on the pressing issues in their history. Shapiro argues it is by better understanding of Shakespeare’s role in American life that Americans might begin to mend their bitterly divided land.

Written by James Shapiro
Read by Kerry Shale
Abridged by Kerry Shale and Jill Waters
Producer: Lizzie Davies
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

Protest and controversy in New York at The Delacorte's 2017 production of Julius Caesar.