BRILLIANTLY BEWILDERING - APRIL 7 - 4.59PM - 2019
This is Shakespeare - Oxford Martin School - 2.00pm
So since today was the last day of the Festival I thought I’d finish with a little academic controversy. And who better than Emma Smith, professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University, to launch the sortie against our greatest playwright, the Bard himself.
Clearly this was a popular choice: it was a sell-out event and right from the beginning Smith began to pare away all we thought we knew about his plays - and in particular Romeo and Juliet - before presenting it all to us afresh and redefined.
Yet while I found her analytical prowess mesmerising, adrift among such terms as ‘extended prolepsis’ and ‘existing narrative paradigms’ I did struggle. Everyone else however, comfortable with this level of exposition, encouraged me to look like I was as well.
Smith’s observations were sharp and pithy and I did enjoy the talk (as you do when someone cooking insists on using complicated culinary terms which, contrary to the mouth-watering aromas wafting out from the oven, leave you anaesthetised). I just don’t think I know what it was about.
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