Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "How Shakespeare Made History"

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This article is about the annual Shakespeare Birthday lecture. For other articles about Shakespeare's Birthday, see Shakespeare's Birthday (disambiguation).

For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a lecture given by Alan Stewart on April 21, 2008.

British history is unthinkable without Shakespeare. His series of kings—Cymbeline, Lear, Macbeth, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VIII—are more familiar and more compelling than the mythical and historical figures on whom they are based. But when Shakespeare created his kings, he was entering into a crucial Renaissance debate: how to re-make British history to meet the new demands of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras.

Lecturer: Alan Stewart is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of biographies of Francis Bacon, Philip Sidney, and most recently The Cradle King: The Life of James VI and I (2003). His next book is a study of Shakespeare’s Letters.