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Solving Shakespeare’s riddles in The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, King John, 1–2 Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Othello, Macbeth and Cymberline
Author: Steve Sohmer

Knowing William Shakespeare better, we are better equipped to know his plays. Better knowing his plays brings us closer to knowing him. This book suggests that Shakespeare wrote not only for the mass audience, but simultaneously for that stratum of cognoscenti whom Gabriel Harvey dubbed 'the wiser sort.' It identifies many passages in the plays which Shakespeare resolves famous cruces which scholars have never been able to unravel, and casts new light on Shakespeare's mind and method. Shakespeare wrote into Julius Caesar more than one passage intelligible only to that handful of the wiser sort who had read Plutarch and knew their Suetonius. Into Macbeth Shakespeare injected a detail accessible only to the few intrepid souls brave or reckless enough to have cast the horoscope of King James I. We find a poem in Hamlet, where the prince invites his love and bandies matters of cosmology which were burning issues (literally) throughout Shakespeare's lifetime. While Julius Caesar's old Julian calendar prevailed in England its rival, the scientifically correct Gregorian reformed calendar, dominated most of Europe. Shakespeare suffused his plays with references to calendrical anomalies, as seen in Othello. By relating Shakespeare's texts, the Renaissance calendars and the liturgy, the book produces a lexicon apt for parsing the time-riddles in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare handled religious subjects, examined and interrogated the dogmas of the received religions, and parodied the Crucifixion by exploiting Holinshed's account of the persecution and assassination of York.

Brian McFarlane

Radio versions, drawn from the film not the preceding play, attracted many well-known actors. There were also two plays and an opera bearing the film’s title and narrative outline, the opera stage perhaps less amenable to the intimacy that was part of the film’s appeal. The Kneehigh Company’s production was especially imaginative in its use of mixed-media resources. The TV film, Staying On, saw Johnson and Howard reunited in an Indian-set tale with some details that recall the old film, at least for the cognoscenti.

in The never-ending Brief Encounter
Community engagement and lifelong learning
Author: Peter Mayo

In this broad sweep, Mayo explores dominant European discourses of higher education, in the contexts of different globalisations and neoliberalism, and examines its extension to a specific region. It explores alternatives in thinking and practice including those at the grassroots, also providing a situationally grounded project of university–community engagement. Signposts for further directions for higher education lifelong learning, with a social justice purpose, are provided.

Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape
Author: Janice Norwood

Victorian touring actresses: Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape provides a new perspective on the on- and offstage lives of women working in nineteenth-century theatre, and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America and Australasia. Drawing on extensive archival research, it features a cross-section of neglected performers whose dramatic specialisms range from tragedy to burlesque. Although they were employed as stars in their own time, their contribution to the industry has largely been forgotten. The book’s innovative organisation follows a natural lifecycle, enabling a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. Individual experiences are scrutinised to highlight the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of the actress’s body, and the operation of gendered power on and offstage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation. The book concludes with discussion of the legacies of the performers, linking their experiences to the present-day situation.

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Peter Hobbins

investigative practice between laity and often self-appointed cognoscenti. Participation in such active experimentation suggests a need to rework histories which paint colonials as profuse collectors of information, but omit their role in generating and circulating ‘useful knowledge’. Concurrently, the mundanity of colonial vivisection provides a striking contrast with the protracted public and parliamentary

in Venomous encounters
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Conflict Gothic
Marie Mulvey-Roberts

surgical misogyny. Read as a medical novel, Dracula can be seen to mirror some of these attitudes to women, including the construction of the femme fatale, at a time when gender roles were in the spotlight and under the scalpel. While a limited number of contemporary cognoscenti readers might have picked up on this surgical subtext, the general reader is unlikely to have registered it consciously. Likewise

in Dangerous bodies
Shakespeare’s other (smarter) audience
Steve Sohmer

(1550?-1631) – an admirer, though no great friend – that Shakespeare also wrote for a rarefied stratum of society, certain cognoscenti whom Harvey labeled ‘the wiser sort.’ I will show that Harvey’s wiser sort recognized a Shakespeare who was unflinching, judgmental, and caustic by turn, teasing, loyal, deeply skeptical, politically enlightened, independently minded, rather courageous, goodhearted

in Shakespeare for the wiser sort
Cathy Shrank

-text – ‘ ex fructibus eorum cognoscentis eos ’ (‘by their frutes ye shal knowe them’, sig. B1v) – which Injury rudely rejects: ‘with the same text I pray you wipe your nose / Hee said not Ex vestibus eorum cognoscentis eos ’ (‘by their clothes ye shall know them’). This exchange – containing the only scriptural citations in the fragment – shows Vice and Virtue contesting the Bible. However, what is at issue is the use and interpretation of the texts, not the language in which they are cited: warning bells are sounded about Injury because he manipulates and edits scripture

in Enacting the Bible in medieval and early modern drama
Steve Sohmer

Shakespeare ground up, spiced up, and served up. Though long obscure to us, they may have been perfectly transparent to those readers and auditors whom Gabriel Harvey dubbed ‘the wiser sort’ – cognoscenti with a knack for picking the pig from the sausage. And I will begin with Shakespeare’s most elaborate and dramatic portrait, drawn of a man he may have admired as colleague, friend

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
Peter Mayo

such as writing articles in a variety of media, some accessible to ordinary people well outside the coterie of academic peers or cognoscenti. And history has shown how reviews written in accessible language have always formed part of the adult education or LLL provision (think Plebs). Exercises such as RAE or REF exert pressure for one to publish in highly ranked journals (‘high impact’ journals is the operative phrase) to keep one’s programme going and not simply for promotions. Time for non-​rewarded but publicly useful commitments is at a premium. Much social

in Higher education in a globalising world