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Hear her in conversation with Howard Jacobson and Alex Clark about the Hogarth Shakespeare project in more detail

It’s very odd. I mean you don’t go to Shakespeare to find out about life in Elizabethan England. You go to Shakespeare to find out about yourself, now. He has something to say for all emotional conditions, situations, circumstances, the changing fortunes of men and women, the interior world that we try and inhabit. The clash between the public and the private, between ambition and contemplation, between your own moral values and received authority.

So when people now say Shakespeare’s difficult, we shouldn’t read Shakespeare, it’s crazy, because all you need to do is immerse yourself in those plays and a whole new world begins to open up for you. It’s never a waste of time. But I think the best way to deal with Shakespeare, especially if you are young and growing up, is to go and see the stuff, because then you get a sense for the language, the action, the drama. It’s a bit like opera really, there are some things you ought to see happening before you read the text, but if you can’t do that then it’s worth risking it with the text even if the language seems difficult at some stages. We have to get over that and allow ourselves to connect, allowing it to happen in us.

  • The Gap of Time

    Hogarth Shakespeare

  • ‘A shining delight of a novel’
    New York Times

    'Clever and beautiful...it soars'
    Financial Times

    A baby girl is abandoned, banished from London to the storm-ravaged American city of New Bohemia. Her father has been driven mad by jealousy, her mother to exile by grief.

    Seventeen years later, Perdita doesn't know a lot about who she is or where she's come from - but she's about to find out.

    Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale vibrates with echoes of Shakespeare's original and tells a story of hearts broken and hearts healed, a story of revenge and forgiveness, a story that shows that whatever is lost shall be found.

    ‘Emotionally wrought and profoundly intelligent... A supremely clever, compelling and emotionally affecting novel that deserves multiple readings to appreciate its many layers’
    Mail on Sunday

    'There are passages here so concisely beautiful they give you goosebumps'
    Observer

    'Pulsates with such authenticity and imaginative generosity that I defy you not to engage with it'
    Independent

  • Buy the book

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