February 17, 2021

Emma Smith

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes EMMA SMITH—celebrated professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford—for the paperback release of her acclaimed book This Is Shakespeare. She will be joined in conversation by DAVIS MCCALLUM, Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.


A genius and prophet whose timeless works encapsulate the human condition like no other. A writer who surpassed his contemporaries in vision, originality, and literary mastery. A man who wrote like an angel, putting it all so much better than anyone else. Is this Shakespeare? Well, sort of. But it doesn’t tell us the whole truth. So much of what we say about Shakespeare is either not true, or just not relevant.

In This Is Shakespeare, Emma Smith—an intellectually, theatrically, and ethically exciting writer—takes us into a world of politicking and copycatting, as we watch Shakespeare emulating the blockbusters of Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd (the Spielberg and Tarantino of their day), flirting with and skirting around the cutthroat issues of succession politics, religious upheaval, and technological change. Smith writes in strikingly modern ways about individual agency, privacy, politics, celebrity, and sex. Instead of offering the answers, the Shakespeare she reveals poses awkward questions, always inviting the reader to ponder ambiguities.

About Author(s)

Emma Smith is professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University. She has published widely on Shakespeare and other early dramatists. She lives in Oxford, England.

Davis McCallum is the Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Garrison, NY, an hour north of New York City. For the company, Davis has directed The Winter's TaleMeasure for MeasureRichard IICymbeline, and the rolling world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will. He is currently leading the organization in establishing its first-ever permanent home on a spectacular 50-acre site, scheduled to open in the summer of 2022.