Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture

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On Shakespeare's Birthday, the Folger Shakespeare Library hosts a lecture from a noted scholar; the event became annual in 1987. Below is a list of previous lectures in the series. For more information on Shakespeare's Birthday, see Shakespeare's Birthday (disambiguation). Where available, podcasts have been linked to in the individual lecture article.


Lynne Magnusson (University of Toronto), "Shakespeare and the Language of Possibility"


Brian Cummings (University of York), "Shakespeare, Biography, and Anti-Biography"


Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex; Visiting, University of Granada), "Graymalkin and Other Shakespearean Celts"


Sarah Beckwith (Duke University), "What Mamillius Knew: Ceremonies of Initiation in The Winter’s Tale"


Wendy Wall (Northwestern University), "Recipes for Thought: Shakespeare and the Art of the Kitchen"


Jonathan Bate (University of Warwick), "The Good Life in Shakespeare"


Russell Jackson (University of Birmingham), "Sensational Shakespeare"


Alan Stewart (Columbia University), "How Shakespeare Made History"


Barbara A. Mowat (Folger Shakespeare Library), "The Founders and the Bard"


W.B. Worthen (University of California, Berkeley), "Shakespeare 3.0"


Stuart Sherman (Fordham University), "Garrick and Theatrical Death"


Coppélia Kahn (Brown University), "Made in America: Shakespeare(s) for the Nineteenth Century"


John Guy (Cambridge University), "Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots"


Katherine Duncan-Jones (University of Oxford), "Love and Death in Shakespeare's Poetry"


James Shapiro (Columbia University), "Jessica's Daughters"


Margreta de Grazia (University of Pennsylvania), "The Latest Hamlet"


Harry Berger Jr. (University of California, Santa Cruz, emeritus), "Harrying the Stage: Theatre, Bad Conscience, and Other Skills of Offence in Henry V"


Linda Charnes (Indiana University at Bloomington), "The Hamlet Formerly Known as Prince"


Peter Holland (Cambridge University), "Measuring Performance"


A. R. Braunmuller (University of California, Los Angeles), "Bearded Ladies in Shakespeare"


Phyllis Rackin (University of Pennsylvania), "Thoroughly Modern Henry, or It is Better to Marry than to Burn"


Gail Kern Paster (George Washington University), "Heat-Seeking Missiles: Shakespeare, Women, and the Caloric Economy in Early Modern England"


Michael Neill (University of Auckland), "Shakespeare and Translation"


Peter Stallybrass (University of Pennsylvania), "Worn Worlds: Clothes and Identity in Shakespeare"


Catherine Belsey (University of Wales College of Cardiff), "Making Histories"


Andrew Gurr (University of Reading), "Boy Voices and Adult Voices on the Shakespearean Stage"


Jonathan Dollimore (University of Sussex), "Shakespeare Studies and the Current `Crisis' in the Humanities"


David Bevington (University of Chicago), "'Is this the promised end?': Shakespeare's King Lear"


Patricia A. Parker (University of Toronto), "`Wanton Words': Shakespeare and Rhetoric"

Beginning in 1987 the Shakespeare Birthday Lecture, sponsored by the Center for Shakespeare Studies of the Folger Institute, became an annual event.


Joseph G. Price (Pennsylvania State University), "'Were it not that I have Bad Dreams': The Internalization of Character"


Charles Shattuck, "Oh! There be Players that I Have Seen Play..."


Stanley Wells, "Television Shakespeare"


Jorge Luis Borges, “The Riddle of Shakespeare”


Madeleine Doran (University of Wisconsin), "One Entire and Perfect Chrysolite: The Idea of Excellence in Shakespeare"


Bernard Beckerman (Columbia University), "Shakespearean Playgoing: Then and Now"


T.J.B. Spencer (Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham), “Shakespeare’s Art and Politics”


Joel Hurstfield (University College, London), “The Paradox of Liberty in Shakespeare’s England”

1968 Arthur R. Humphreys (University of Leicester) “Marlowe, The Jew of Malta; Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice: Two Readings of Life”

1967 [a harpsichord recital by Stoddard Lincoln, April 23, 1967]

1966 (two birthday lectures) April 23, 1966 Philip H. Highfill, Jr. (The George Washington University) “Some 18th Century Responses to Shakespeare”

April 29, 1966 D.G. James (University of Southampton) “Shakespeare and America: A New Link Between Them”

1965 [a concert by The Mary Washington College Chorus, April 23, 1965]

1963 [University of Maryland Madrigal Singers, A Program of Music of Shakespeare’s Time, April 23, 1963]

1962 George Winchester Stone, Jr. (Modern Language Association of America) “The Poet and the Players”

1961 Stanley Bennett (Cambridge University) “Queen Elizabeth I and the Press”

1960 Sir Ronald Syme (University of Oxford) “Roman Historians and Renaissance Politics”

1959 Louis B. Wright and James G. McManaway, discussants “The Reality of William Shakespeare”

1958 Winfred Overholser (Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital) “Shakespeare’s Psychiatry – And After”

1957 [The Amherst College Chapel Choir, A Concert of Renaissance Music]

1956 [Roberta and Colin Sterne, An Evening of Music for the Virginals, Lute, Recorder, and Baroque Flute]

1955 Marchette Chute “The Good Luck of William Shakespeare”

1954 [Nemone Balfour, A Program of Songs and Ballads of the 16th and 17th centuries]

1953 Louis B. Wright (Folger Shakespeare Library) “The British Tradition in America”

1952 [William Hess, Blanche Winogron, Sydney Beck, Music of Shakespeare’s Day]

1951 William Haller (Barnard College, Columbia University, emeritus) “‘What Needs My Shakespeare?’”

1950 John Cranford Adams (President, Hofstra College) “Shakespeare and His Stage”

1949 Charles J. Sisson (University College, London) “Elizabethans in Intimacy”

1948 Thomas Marc Parrott (Princeton University, emeritus) “Hamlet on the Stage”

1947 Samuel C. Chew (Bryn Mawr College) “This Strange, Eventful History”

1946 Cornelia Otis Skinner “The Wives of Henry VIII” [a play] CANCELLED

1942 Charles Grosvenor Osgood (Princeton University, emeritus) “The New Poet”

1941 Allardyce Nicoll (Yale University) “Shakespeare’s Experiments in Evil”

1940 Leslie Hotson (Haverford College) “Not of an Age”

1939 Charles Frederick Tucker Brooke (Yale University) “Queen Elizabeth in Youth and Age”

1938 William Allan Neilson (President, Smith College) “As Shakespeare Says”

1937 George Lyman Kittredge (Harvard University, emeritus) “Shakespeare and the Critics”

1936 Felix E. Schelling (formerly University of Pennsylvania) “Shakespeare and Biography”

1935 Samuel Arthur King (University of London) "Dramatic Recital of Hamlet"

1934 [early English choral music by the Ypsilanti Singers; Elizabethan tunes on the recorder and harpsichord by John Challis; readings from The Merchant of Venice and As You Like It, by Edith Wynne Matthison]

1933 George A. Plimpton (President, Amherst College) “The Education of Shakespeare, Illustrated with Textbooks in Use in His Day”

1932 Joseph Quincy Adams (Folger Shakespeare Library) “Shakespeare and American Culture”