Shakespeare's Restless World
You might have fond memories of A History of the World in 100 Objects, a 2010 collaboration between the BBC and The British Museum (it featured in Issue 3 of this newsletter). Over the course of 100 episodes, museum director Neil MacGregor presented diverse objects from the collections, revealing their unique and specific histories, and in the process sketching out the history of humanity. This 2012 series is another object-based program from MacGregor, this time with a narrower focus: it seeks to describe the Elizabethan England that was William Shakespeare's everyday world. Each episode takes an evocative object from the period as its starting point - a silver medal; an obsidian mirror - and propels us into a world of plague and religion, of cockles and ale, of death by 50. Along the way, we begin to understand that Shakespeare was a real man, in a real place and time, whose specific surroundings deeply informed his work. Twenty fascinating, 15-minute episodes are available.
Gateway episodes: Plague and the Playhouse (8 May 2012) / New Science, Old Magic (26 Apr 2012) / Swordplay and Swagger (20 Apr 2012) / Disguise and Deception (3 May 2012)