What was life like for Shakespeare's first audiences? In a time of political and religious unrest and economic expansion, how did Elizabethan play-goers make sense of their changing world? What did the plays mean to the public when they were first performed?
In this fascinating series, Neil MacGregor attempts to answer these questions by examining 20 objects from that turbulent period. There are grand objects such as a communion chalice, a Venetian goblet, and Dr Dee's mirror, as well as everyday items such as a theatregoer's fork and an apprentice's cap. From Drake's circumnavigation medal to an eye relic, he uses these objects to explore the issues that shaped Shakespeare's plays, and considers what they reveal about the concerns and beliefs of Shakespearean England. Speaking to scholars, historians and experts, he discusses the topics raised - everything from exploration and discovery to violence, entertainment, and the plague.
©2012 Neil MacGregor (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
I really enjoyed this Radio 4 production. I've always been interested in Tudor and Elizabethan times, and MacGregor's enthusiasm for Shakespeare's time shines in every episode. From the vexed question of whether to be Protestant or Catholic to the question of what to eat while you watched the play, so many aspects of everyday life are illuminated here. I loved the episode about Venice and the one about food. There wasn't a bad episode, and I highly recommend it to history lovers.
The narrators enthusiasm for the subject.
It seams like the audio was taken from a tv or radio show. It's very easy to listen to but not quite a smooth as if it were intended as an audiobook. The subject matter and presentation are very entertaining and the price is not bad either.
"Entertaining for the History aficionado"
An engaging format, narrated in a laid-back manner. The object-to-history links are well presented, although some of the historical/sociological analisys is oversimplistic and harps on certain cliches.
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