Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: Recipes for Thought: Shakespeare and the Art of the Kitchen

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This article is about the annual Shakespeare Birthday lecture. View the full list of all Shakespeare Birthday Lectures to date here. 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 lecture was delivered by Wendy Wall in the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre on Monday, April 25, 2011. Wall was introduced by Folger Head of Reference Georgianna Ziegler.

In All's Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare presents a heroine who uses a secret recipe to perform a miraculous feat. In this Shakespearean play and others, common domestic tasks like seasoning, preserving, and distilling pose knotty intellectual questions about art, nature, knowledge, and time. Wall celebrated Shakespeare's birthday by examining the world of recipe writing in early modern England in a lecture titled to show the unexpected ways that kitchen work presented forceful recipes for thought, both on and off the Shakespearean stage.

Listen to the lecture:

Lecturer: Wendy Wall is Professor of English Literature at Northwestern University. She has a wide-range of interests, which include editorial theory, gender, national identity, the history of authorship, Renaissance poetry, food studies, housework, theatrical practice, and Jell-O. Professor Wall is author of Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance and Staging Domesticity: Household Work and English Identity in Early Modern Drama, which was a finalist for the James Russell Lowell prize awarded by the MLA and a 2002 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner. A former trustee for the Shakespeare Association of America, she is currently at work on a book entitled Strange Kitchens: Knowledge and Taste in English Recipe Books, 1550–1750.