Shakespeare and His World: Free Shakespeare Course Starts Today, During the 400th Anniversary of the Bard’s Death

Coinciding with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the University of Warwick (located just 16 miles from Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon) has teamed up  with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to run a free 10-week online course starting on April 18th. The course explores not only the great writer’s work, but his world too – you might even say it’s such stuff as dreams are made on.

Sir Jonathan Bate will introduce a new play each week, examining it in relation to cultural themes and treasures from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s archives. In fact this course offers unprecedented access to the famous vaults of the Trust where thousands of rare artefacts are kept.

Here’s a quick run through of what each week covers:

Week 1: An Introduction to Shakespeare and his World

Week 2: Shakespeare and Stratford – The Merry Wives of Windsor

Week 3: The Birth of Theatre – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Week 4: The World at War – Henry V

Week 5: Money and the City – The Merchant of Venice

Week 6: Witches and Doctors – Macbeth

Week 7: The Clash of Civilisations – Othello

Week 8: The Roman Example – Antony & Cleopatra

Week 9: O Brave New World – The Tempest

Week 10: The Cult of Shakespeare

You can find the free course Shakespeare and his World on FutureLearn. The last time this course ran it attracted over 40,000 learners around the world so it might be time to brush up on your Shakespearean lingo. The course starts today.

Jess Weeks is a copywriter at FutureLearn. Her favourite Shakespearean insult is ‘you egg’  because it’s both simple and strange.

Related Content:

Free Online Shakespeare Courses: Primers on the Bard from Oxford, Harvard, Berkeley & More

A 68 Hour Playlist of Shakespeare’s Plays Being Performed by Great Actors: Gielgud, McKellen & More

What Shakespeare Sounded Like to Shakespeare: Reconstructing the Bard’s Original Pronunciation


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  • Tom says:

    Brush up your Shakespeare… start quoting him now.

    This looks like a great course — thanks to Prof. Bate and the University of Warwick for offering it! And thanks to OpenCulture for letting us know about it.

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