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A Midsummer Night's Dream

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas behind Shakespeare's comedy with its intertwining plots of royal marriage, crossed lovers, quarreling fairies and rude mechanicals

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of Shakespeare's most popular works, written c1595 in the last years of Elizabeth I. It is a comedy of love and desire and their many complications as well as their simplicity, and a reflection on society's expectations and limits. It is also a quiet critique of Elizabeth and her vulnerability and on the politics of the time, and an exploration of the power of imagination.


Helen Hackett
Professor of English Literature and Leverhulme Research Fellow at University College London

Tom Healy
Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Sussex


Alison Findlay
Professor of Renaissance Drama at Lancaster University and Chair of the British Shakespeare Association

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Available now

55 minutes

Last on

Thu 18 Apr 2019 21:30


Helen Hackett at University College London

Tom Healy at the University of Sussex

Alison Findlay at Lancaster University

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Wikipedia



Jonathan Bate, Shakespeare and Ovid (Oxford University Press, 1993)

Dympna Callaghan (ed.),  A Feminist Companion to Shakespeare (Blackwell, 2016), especially ‘The Great Indian Vanishing Trick: Colonialism, Property, and the Family in A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by Ania Loomba

Richard Dutton (ed.), A Midsummer Night's Dream: Contemporary Critical Essays (Palgrave, 1996)

Richard Dutton and Jean E. Howard (eds.), A Companion to Shakespeare’s Works: Vol. III: The Comedies (Blackwell, 2003), especially A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Helen Hackett

Margaret W. Ferguson, Maureen Quilligan, and Nancy J. Vickers (eds.), Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourse of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe (University of Chicago Press, 1986), especially ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Shaping Fantasies of Elizabethan Culture: Gender, Power, Form’ by Louis Adrian Montrose

Helen Hackett, Writers and Their Work: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (British Council/Northcote House, 1997)

Helen Hackett, Shakespeare and Elizabeth: The Meeting of Two Myths (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Katharine Hodgkin, Michelle O’Callaghan, and S. J. Wiseman (eds.), Reading the Early Modern Dream: The Terrors of the Night (Routledge, 2008), especially ‘Dream-Visions of Elizabeth I’ by Helen Hackett

Jan Kott (trans. Daniela Miedzyrecka and Lillian Vallee), The Bottom Translation: Marlowe and Shakespeare and the Cultural Tradition (Northwestern University Press, 1987)

Louis Montrose, The Purpose of Playing: Shakespeare and the Cultural Politics of the Elizabethan Theatre (University of Chicago Press, 1996)

Annabel Patterson, Shakespeare and the Popular Voice (Blackwell, 1989)

William Shakespeare (ed. Sukanta Chaudhuri), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Arden Shakespeare (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017)

William Shakespeare (ed. Peter Holland), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oxford University Press, 1994)

William Shakespeare (ed. Stanley Wells), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Penguin, 2005)

Gary Jay Williams, Our Moonlight Revels: A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Theatre (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

Susan Wiseman, Writing Metamorphosis in the English Renaissance 1500-1700 (Cambridge University Press, 2014)



  • Thu 18 Apr 2019 09:00
  • Thu 18 Apr 2019 21:30

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