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14 January 2020Sweet Swan of Avon: William Shakespeare and his Turbulent World
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Sweet Swan of Avon: William Shakespeare and his Turbulent World Elizabeth Merry Tuesday 14 January 2020


In his tribute to Shakespeare on the publication of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays in 1623, Ben Jonson addresses him as ‘Sweet Swan of Avon’ , ‘Thou Star of Poets’ and ‘Not of an Age, but for all Time’. 400 years after his death Shakespeare’s words still have the power to thrill, to move, to uplift the soul. His popularity undiminished, it is said that a Shakespeare play is being performed somewhere in the world every minute of every day. In this lecture we explore what is known about his life in the turbulent and often dangerous world of Elizabethan and Jacobean England, and look at the development of English Renaissance theatre. We will also focus on some of the portraits purporting to be of Shakespeare and examine the theories behind them.

Elizabeth Merry - Elizabeth has over 25 years' experience lecturing on a range of subjects including classical art and architecture, aspects of the visual arts and the links between literature and art. She has lectured for the Workers' Educational Association, the Universities of Bristol and Southampton Departments of Continuing Education, Royal Society of Arts, Dillington House, Jane Austen Society, Thomas Hardy Society, Brussels Brontë Society, Finzi Society, the Art Fund, Dorset County Museum and literary, historical and philosophical societies nationwide: has also lectured on study tours to Rome, Aachen, Cologne, Brittany, the Dordogne, and throughout the UK. Mary lectured in Australia and New Zealand in 2011 and is returning to Australia for two further lecture tours.

Picture: Ben Jonson, who described Shakespeare as ‘Sweet Swan of Avon’.
Painting by Abraham Blyenberch, c 1617