The Folger Spotlight

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Pericles: A Modern Perspective

Pericles is a play haunted by loss. Sometimes loss is figured as a sudden and calamitous separation from one’s friends and belongings, as when Pericles at the top of the second act is washed ashore after a shipwreck at sea, hungry and cold, or when Thaisa, Pericles’ wife, wakes from death to find herself alone… Continue Reading »

Pericles Director’s Notes

Pericles was wildly popular during Shakespeare’s lifetime and in the decades following; indeed, it was among his most popular works. It was the play that reopened the London Globe Theatre in 1631 after it was shuttered because of the Plague. And it was the first Shakespeare play performed when the theatres reopened at the beginning… Continue Reading »

Pericles Dramaturg’s Notes

Pericles, Prince of Tyre is unusual among Shakespeare’s plays. The hero travels Odysseus-like from place to place on a fantastical quest to showcase honor, announce virtue, and dodge the fury of a perverse king. Pericles is poised for success; his name is Greek for “far-famed.” But for this hero, the readiness is not all. Despite… Continue Reading »

The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606

Author James Shapiro’s new book The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 considers the period when the playwright wrote three of his greatest tragedies, King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. Dr. Shapiro is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a member of the Folger Board of Governors. His previous micro-biography of… Continue Reading »