Inheritance Taxes

When the University of Edinburgh commissioned Nathan Coley to create a new artwork for display in its main library, the artist was invited to give a presentation to the committee overseeing the university’s collections. Coley’s brief was to design a piece to occupy a display wall in the library’s main concourse, which had long beenContinue reading “Inheritance Taxes”

Shakespeare as Currency

John Dover Wilson’s Correspondence John Dover Wilson was one of the best known, and most influential, Shakespearean scholars of the 20th century. His greatest achievement was the complete edition of the works that he edited and oversaw for Cambridge University Press between 1921 and 1966; yet he is perhaps best known to generations of readersContinue reading “Shakespeare as Currency”

Uncanny Britannia

What on earth is up with British unionism? Although not especially reflective at the best of times, this ideology has recently been thrust into explicitness in disturbing ways. It’s often said that Brexit is in part driven by an upsurge of English nationalism, but I don’t buy that – if only because there’s no suchContinue reading “Uncanny Britannia”

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?”

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.