Sally Barnden, in conversation with Emma Stuart, explores Shakespeare’s Second Folio, which was in possession of Charles I during his imprisonment.
One of the most prized objects in the Royal Collection is a ‘Second Folio’ edition of Shakespeare’s plays, first published in 1632. It contains handwritten annotations made by the deposed King Charles I in the final days before his execution on the orders of Parliament, during the English Civil War.
Nick Makoha’s ‘A Low-Pressure System’ moves through the past towards mythology; it is a personal journal that resists any fixity, but instead is a series, as Ivan Juritz Prize judge, Will Eaves notes, ‘perpetually in flight’. This retelling of the events related to the Entebbe hijacking in 1976 is paralleled against a series of flights from Nick’s own experience, and despite writing through dramatic historical events, his moving voice can be felt strongly throughout. This became particularly evident when listening to him read from Codex 2 during our prizegiving event at the end of June. Codex 2 is a poem about his father’s personal and political life; reading from it, we saw him half-smile as he came to the last line: ‘I had a small nonspeaking part’.
Dr Kirsten Tambling and Dr Sally Barnden, postdoctoral research associates on the AHRC-funded project ‘Shakespeare in the Royal Collection’, discuss their work and findings ahead of the launch of their online database and exhibition on the 15th of July.
Kirsten: In 2018, Cole Moreton wrote a piece for the ‘i’ on the ‘transformation’ of Prince Harry. Arguing that ‘Prince Harry’s transformation from wild child to hero is uncannily like that of Shakespeare’s warrior Hal’, Moreton traces the trajectory of the Prince of Wales’s second son from tearaway teenager – sent to rehab for smoking cannabis – to one of the royal family’s most popular members, alongside that of Prince Hal of Henry IV Parts 1 and 2.
It is a pleasure to announce to the KCL English community that the Scottish Association for the Study of America (SASA) has awarded the 2021 Ellen Craft Essay Prize to one of our PhD students, Katie Arthur, for her brilliant essay, ‘Arousing Disgust: Visceral Configurations of Obscenity through Literal, Literary, and Governmental Bodies in William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch (1959)’.