Subverting Shakespeare

10th May - 12th May 2019



In June 1594, in a gruesome public demonstration of state power, Elizabeth I’s personal physician, Roderigo Lopez, was hung, drawn and quartered. Lopez was a Portuguese Jew, and his grizzly execution epitomised the atmosphere of zealous anti-Semitism which seems to have characterised Shakespeare’s England. But, in writing The Merchant of Venice, was Shakespeare joining in with the popular anti-Semitic clamour, or was he doing something far more subversive than that? And what does the play mean to us, in the post-Holocaust 21st Century? Whether you already love Shakespeare’s plays, or whether they’re a source of frustration to you, this will be a weekend of Shakespeare without fear, with just one play – The Merchant of Venice (c. 1597) – to read or watch in advance, and with all other materials provided for you.

Emma Rees was Gladstone’s Library’s Political Writer in Residence in 2016. She is Professor of Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Chester, and she has taught Shakespeare and Renaissance literature in universities for over 20 years. In May 2018 she led a weekend workshop, Taming Shakespeare at Gladstone’s Library, having, a year earlier, finally achieved her goal of seeing every one of Shakespeare’s 37 plays live on stage at least once.

Click here for the full programme.

Residential prices start from £235, non-residential from £160. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.