In Our Time podcast show image

In Our Time

BBC Radio 4



Listen, download, subscribe

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of Shakespeare’s great comedies, which plays in the space between marriage, love and desire. By convention a wedding means a happy ending and here there are three, but neither Orsino nor Viola, Olivia nor Sebastian know much of each other’s true character and even the identities of the twins Viola and Sebastian have only just been revealed to their spouses to be. These twins gain some financial security but it is unclear what precisely the older Orsino and Olivia find enduringly attractive in the adolescent objects of their love. Meanwhile their hopes and illusions are framed by the fury of Malvolio, tricked into trusting his mistress Olivia loved him and who swears an undefined revenge on all those who mocked him. With Pascale Aebischer Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Performance Studies at the University of Exeter Michael Dobson Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Director of the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham And Emma Smith Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College, University of Oxford Produced by Simon Tillotson, Victoria Brignell and Luke Mulhall Reading list: C.L. Barber, Shakespeare’s Festive Comedies: A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom (first published 1959; Princeton University Press, 2011) Simone Chess, ‘Queer Residue: Boy Actors’ Adult Careers in Early Modern England’ (Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 19.4, 2020) Callan Davies, What is a Playhouse? England at Play, 1520-1620 (Routledge, 2023) Frances E. Dolan, Twelfth Night: Language and Writing (Bloomsbury, 2014) John Drakakis (ed.), Alternative Shakespeares (Psychology Press, 2002), especially ‘Disrupting Sexual Difference: Meaning and Gender in the Comedies’ by Catherine Belsey Bart van Es, Shakespeare’s Comedies: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2016) Sonya Freeman Loftis, Mardy Philippian and Justin P. Shaw (eds.), Inclusive Shakespeares: Identity, Pedagogy, Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), especially ‘”I am all the daughters of my father’s house, and all the brothers too”: Genderfluid Potentiality in As You Like It and Twelfth Night’ by Eric Brinkman Ezra Horbury, ‘Transgender Reassessments of the Cross-Dressed Page in Shakespeare, Philaster, and The Honest Man’s Fortune’ (Shakespeare Quarterly 73, 2022) Jean Howard, ‘Crossdressing, the theatre, and gender struggle in early modern England’ (Shakespeare Quarterly 39, 1988) Harry McCarthy, Boy Actors in Early Modern England: Skill and Stagecraft in the Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2022) Stephen Orgel, Impersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare's England (Cambridge University Press, 1996) William Shakespeare (eds. Michael Dobson and Molly Mahood), Twelfth Night (Penguin, 2005) William Shakespeare (ed. Keir Elam), Twelfth Night (Arden Shakespeare, 2008) Emma Smith, This is Shakespeare: How to Read the World's Greatest Playwright (Pelican, 2019) Victoria Sparey, Shakespeare’s Adolescents: Age, Gender and the Body in Shakespearean Performance and Early Modern Culture (Manchester University Press, 2024)

In Our Time RSS Feed

Share: TwitterFacebook

Powered by Plink Plink icon