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The Shylock Project

by Shaul Bassi This summer scholars, actors, students will spend four weeks on a Venetian island with an ambitious goal, that of preparing the first ever promenade production of The Merchant of Venice in the Jewish Ghetto. Two landmark anniversaries will coincide in 2016: the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and the 500th anniversary […]

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Stealing Juliet: Promising Shakespearian news for Italian television…

While Neil Jordan’s The Borgias was rushed into the programming to coincide with the conclave, the new season is set to offer a new multi-episode version of Romeo and Juliet, produced by the largest private broadcasting company, Mediaset (no apparent relationship with the predilection of its owner, a former prime minister, for adolescent girls). However, […]

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Caesar Must Die!

Ancient Rome and its quasi-mythical characters have been reinvented by the posterities as much as Shakespeare has. The first Italian mention in print of the Bard, as it happens, occurs in the preface of the 18th-century Italian tragedy Giulio Cesare by Antonio Conti, where the author compares his own account of the Roman dictator to […]

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Infinite minds: Shakespeare and Giordano Bruno

On 17 February 1600 the philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in Campo de’ Fiori, today one of the most colourful squares in Rome. A former Dominican friar born near Naples, this wandering intellectual disseminated his revolutionary ideas throughout Europe. He studied in Geneva and Toulouse, taught at Wittenberg (Hamlet’s alma mater, remember?), […]

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Walking Shakespeare’s Venice 6: Can Shakespeare Save Venice?

In my earlier posts I shared the joy of walking around Venice with Shakespeare’s lovers. As a conclusion of this series, instead of focussing on a specific site, I want to point out that Venice should not be taken for granted. Far from feeding some of the most apocalyptic scenarios about Venice sinking and vanishing […]

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Anonymous Venetian

For one day Anonymous Venetian was neither the heart-rending film with Tony Musante and Florinda Bolkan nor one of Donna Leon’s great mysteries, but the premiere of Roland Emmerich’s anti-Shakespearian would-be blockbuster. Ca’Foscari University of Venice was given the privilege of the first Italian showing, and the house Shakespearians volunteered a round-table on the authorship […]

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Walking Shakespeare’s Venice 4 – the House of Othello (a response to Graham Holderness)

My Shakespearean tour of Venice usually starts in Campo dei Carmini, in the district of Dorsoduro, where the nineteenth-century erudite Rawdon Brown located the “house of Othello”. The palace belonged at some stage to a family called Guoro, that may have been misread as Moro (“Moor”). The tantalizing elements for Brown were probably the statue […]

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Walking Shakespeare’s Venice – the Ghetto of Venice

The 4th of September 2011 is the European Day of Jewish Culture  and it looks like the perfect day to visit the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, where several events will take place. Although Shakespeare never mentions this place in The Merchant of Venice, historically speaking this would have been the only area where a 16th-century […]

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Walking Shakespeare’s Venice – The Moors of Venice

Today it is hot, humid and overcast in Venice. Fewer people are tempted by the beach so the tourists flood the streets even more than usual, and I wade through the throng to find an answer to a question that Shakespeare must have asked himself four centuries ago. If Othello is “the Moor of Venice”, […]

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