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Shakespeare Archive

Literary Blueprints: The Wise Fool

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  After meeting Gothic characters the Byronic Hero and the Mad Woman, the time has come to visit periods before Romanticism in discovering a popular character known as The Wise Fool. Origin Story: The idea of the Wise Fool is somewhat hard to trace. Unlike some other character types,

Do-Overs: A Little Leary

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  Fox’s Empire really wants you to know it’s so King Lear. In the pilot, Lucious Lyon—music mogul, owner of Empire Entertainment and father to three sons—gathers his kids in the board room to talk about how he won’t be able to run things forever. “What is this? We

A Knack for Names

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I once read (though the source is now lost to me) that the names of the characters in a novel do the work of telling the reader what world he’s in. Musicality, characterization, hints at a character’s gender, ethnicity, and social status—all of these are important in a name.

More Cakes and Ale: Holidays and Traditions in Literature

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The closest I’ve ever gotten to an acting experience was in college, when I was taking a class about Shakespeare’s comedies and histories. The professor was one of my favorites, who not only helped me better understand the plays but also helped me appreciate them more. When she announced

What’s Done is Done is Done Again

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As a creative writing instructor, I get asked two questions more than any others. The first is easy enough to answer: “How do I find time to write?” There’s no secret here—set a schedule and get to your desk. The second question, however, continues to stump me, both as a

Lit GIFs: Romeo and Juliet

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The Montagues and the Capulets don’t like each other very much. Romeo and his cousin crash a Capulet party anyway, looking for girls. Romeo’s on the rebound when he meets Juliet. The party was supposed to give 14-year-old Juliet the chance to check out her potential husband-to-be, Paris.

Research Unleashed! And Leashed.

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I knew I had a problem when I started envying my dog’s cone collar. Now, my dog’s problem was a hot spot. Allergic, itchy, hot, and double-coated, my German Shepherd had chewed her hind leg raw over the course of a single evening. My problem was research. Engrossing, surprising,

Poetic Analytics

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Sonnet XVIII, William Shakespeare

The Thirsty Games

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It’s so cold in Chicago that the temperature isn’t even negative; it has one of those calculus sigmas in front of it, and there’s some kind of logarithm involved. Maybe you’re sitting in the sun on your California balcony, you ingrate, but here in the Midwest there’s little to

Writing By Ear

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A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by Margaret Atwood, during which, in response to a question about introducing students to literature, she emphasized the importance of storytelling. Not story reading. Storytelling. Stories are, she reminded us, “scores for the voice.” All those little