Spectator Books: what makes Shakespeare special?

May 22, 04:48 PM
In this week’s Spectator Books, Sam's guest is Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College, Oxford, who’s talking about her new book This Is Shakespeare. What is it that makes Shakespeare special — and is it defensible that, as even in university curricula, we talk about Shakespeare apart from and above the whole of the rest of literature? How did he think about genre? Why is Act Four always a bit boring? Is the Tempest an autumnal masterpiece or the thin work of a writer of dwindling powers? And how filthy is A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

Presented by Sam Leith.

Spectator Books is a series of literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith, The Spectator's Literary Editor. Hear past episodes of Spectator Books here.