Celebrating 400 Years of Shakespeare

Today – the 23rd April 2016 – is the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. Recently, I went to see the amazing National Theatre Live performance of As You Like It (starring Rosalie Craig as Rosalind). The imaginative and daring staging of the forest did full justice to the ambiguity of Shakespeare’s vision of the Forest of Arden. The dim lighting, the sharp angles of … Continue reading Celebrating 400 Years of Shakespeare

A Literary History of Chocolate: Part 2

Similarly to England, in the early eighteenth century Italy saw the arrival and diffusion of the tea, coffee and chocolate, and the latter two in particular become particularly popular, with the creation of ‘botteghe del caffè’ (coffee houses), where you could also taste the miraculous chocolate drink – attitudes towards it were of course mixed, with one physician (Dr Giovanni Batista Felici) at the Tuscan … Continue reading A Literary History of Chocolate: Part 2

At an Early Modern Banquet: Marchpane in Romeo and Juliet (c. 1595)

By Gašper Jakovac Both Petrarch and Romeo enter the labyrinth of love fiercely, suddenly, and in a very particular place and point in time. The juxtaposition of their encounters is, however, characterized by stark discrepancies. Whereas the former meets his beloved for the first time in the Church of St. Claire in Avignon, on ‘the day the sun’s ray had turned pale / with pity … Continue reading At an Early Modern Banquet: Marchpane in Romeo and Juliet (c. 1595)

The ‘bitten macaroon’: Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879)

In the world famous Norwegian play A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen has Nora, the protagonist, eat macaroons from the very first scene: Nora has just got back home from her Christmas shopping, and stealthily eats some macaroons — with this very small yet important action, the audience immediately understands that the macaroons hide more relevance than that they actually show. Our attention is drawn to … Continue reading The ‘bitten macaroon’: Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879)