Shakespeare, Plague, and the Present: An Online Talk by Professor Emma Smith

Online Only Talk Heritage

An online talk by Professor Emma Smith about Shakespeare in the time of the plague

At the beginning of lockdown, we were suddenly preoccupied with the idea that Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a period of plague. This talk reviews the evidence and assesses the parallels and differences between diseases in Elizabethan London and ours. The focus is on how Shakespeare moves beyond documentary to explore both the comedy and the tragedy of living amid death.

Emma Smith is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College, Oxford. Her book This Is Shakespeare is out in paperback.