348 - Recommended reading: Shakespeare and Elizabeth
Helen Hackett (Standard British accent)
So my name is Helen Hackett, and I’m a Professor of English at University College London and I’m the author of a book called Shakespeare and Elizabeth: The Meeting of Two Myths. The basis of this book is I came to realize through various ways of doing research on Shakespeare and teaching Shakespeare that very often he was brought into contact with Elizabeth I. There are lots of stories, lots of images showing him reading to Elizabeth or Elizabeth coming to see a play of his at the playhouse. For instance, in the film Shakespeare in Love we see Elizabeth coming to the playhouse to see a Shakespeare play and I came to realize there is really no evidence that there was ever any direct contact between Shakespeare and Elizabeth, and in fact it’s a sort of English and British national myth and I became interested in why there’d been a desire across the centuries to bring these two very great, very prominent figures together and what forms that had taken, and so my book sort of tells that story and tries to analyse why we’ve wanted Shakespeare and Elizabeth to have contact, to be friends, sometimes even in some versions to be lovers, and what different forms this has taken in different media, in literary criticism, in novels, in films, running through a kind of very rich vein of English and British culture, and American culture too because it increasingly takes hold there as well.
(Helen Hackett was talking to Mark Worden)