Shakespeare For All

The bard’s life, poems & plays

Dr. Maria Devlin McNair

Dr. Maria Devlin McNair

Shakespeare scholar and PhD, Harvard University

Shakespeare For All
  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you


Celebrate the life, poetry, and plays of William Shakespeare in this new audio series brought to you by world-class scholars from Harvard, Oxford, and the Shakespeare Institute; and award-winning actors such as Keith Hamilton Cobb, Kelly Hunter MBE, and Amanda Harris

What You'll Learn

  • The story of Shakespeare’s life and the key historical, religious, and cultural developments that shaped his world and work

  • The strategies that will help you understand and enjoy Shakespeare’s poems and plays from your very first reading

  • How to explore and reflect on the key questions raised by Shakespeare’s works


Shakespeare’s Life, World and Works
6 Episodes

Teaser: Shakespeare For All


1. Why Read Shakespeare?


Learn what makes Shakespeare’s writing pleasurable, unique, and newly relevant for every generation, and discover how Shakespeare invites us not only to watch but actually to take part in his plays.

2. Shakespeare’s World


Take a tour through Shakespeare’s era in history and the profound political, religious, and cultural changes that shaped his work, including the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, and the opening of the first-ever public theaters in London.

3. Shakespeare’s Life


Next, find out more about Shakespeare himself, including why people have debated whether William Shakespeare really wrote the plays, and how his early education prepared him to become the world’s greatest playwright.

4. Shakespeare’s Works


Follow the trajectory of Shakespeare’s career--the kinds of plays he wrote and how he developed as a dramatist over two decades of writing--and learn why your edition of Shakespeare is not the same as the text Shakespeare originally wrote.

5. How to Read Shakespeare


Discover student-tested strategies for understanding and enjoying Shakespeare’s plays from your very first reading, with insights into Shakespeare’s poetic language, his construction of character and plot, and the reason why there are always new meanings to discover in his work.

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