Discovering the World

Early one morning, any morning, we can set out, with the least possible baggage, and discover the world. So begins the brilliant ‘In Praise of Walking’, by Thomas A. Clark, a poem I’d heartily recommend to anyone. But what kind of world can we discover? That’s a writer’s question, to some extent – the suspicionContinue reading “Discovering the World”

English Scots

Don’t mind me, I’m an oxymoron. Or at least, I think I used to be – which is as much as to say I wasn’t really anything at all. But perhaps I’m oxymoronic no more. I can stand up if I want to and say, hey, everybody, get this – I am an English Scot. There’s still aContinue reading “English Scots”

Undiscovered Countries: Shakespeare’s Britain

‘He was not of an age, but for all time!’ That’s what Shakespeare’s friend Ben Jonson wrote in memory of him, a mere seven years after he died, and long before some kind of posterity had had a chance to show its hand. Such claims were not that uncommonly made for poets of the period;Continue reading “Undiscovered Countries: Shakespeare’s Britain”

Ben Jonson’s Walk on Film

Over the last year we’ve been putting together a series of five short films about Ben Jonson’s walk from London to Edinburgh in the summer of 1618 (about which you can read more here). Rather than tackle the story of the whole adventure, we decided to focus just on one stretch of the journey –Continue reading “Ben Jonson’s Walk on Film”

The Wonders of Scotland

In 1603, shortly after King James VI inherited his late cousin’s throne, a London publisher printed a pamphlet offering his English readership Certayne Matters Concerning the Realme of Scotland. It was part of a upsurge of interest in all matters Scottish, as the northern realm suddenly became of pressing domestic importance to England’s inhabitants. TheContinue reading “The Wonders of Scotland”

Pedants’ Corner: When did Ben Jonson die?

Each year, on August 6, the world stops to commemorate Ben Jonson’s death. Well, that’s obviously overstating it, but a few ‘on this day’ tweets go round; likewise, we get the odd mention in almanacs and lists of memorable anniversaries. Westminster Abbey, where Jonson is both buried and commemorated in Poets’ Corner, gets in onContinue reading “Pedants’ Corner: When did Ben Jonson die?”

Taking a Roundabout Way

The experience of theatrical touring has long been woven from contrasts. On the one hand, there’s the undeniable romance of the road, the fun of exploring new places, but on the other – well, there are the sometimes grim discomforts of being stuck for weeks on end in transit or deeply dodgy accommodation, surviving on an unbalanced dietContinue reading “Taking a Roundabout Way”

Some Stories We Can Tell About the Digital Humanities

What is there left to say about the digital humanities? I found myself staring down the barrel of that question last week, as an invited speaker at the University of Oxford’s wonderful Digital Humanities Summer School. I gulped. So much has already been said, after all. There are journals, handbooks, and overviews, publishers’ lists, blogs, onlineContinue reading “Some Stories We Can Tell About the Digital Humanities”

How to Live in the Past

I spent two ridiculously busy days last week helping out with the only slightly impossible task of filming Ben Jonson’s 1618 walk from London to Edinburgh. We weren’t going for the whole thing – we had decided to focus on one of several detours the walkers took from the route of the old or great north road. This one took the form of two arcs – out to Belvoir and Bottesford before touching base again at Newark, and then off westwards again via Rufford and Welbeck to reach as far as Bolsover.

Angry Politics

One of the funniest byproducts of recent political campaigns in Scotland has been the irresistible rise of Angry Salmond. Starting off as a parody twitter account, and now aspiring to the status of monetised meme, Angry Salmond has epitomised the irreverence of the Yes campaign and the new, metamorphosed SNP.