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image for Talk item typeSubverting Shakespeare at Gladstone's Library

Talk, Fri 10 - Sun 12 May 2019

Subverting Shakespeare

Subverting Shakespeare


In June 1594, in a gruesome public demonstration of state power, Elizabeth I’s personal physician, Roderigo Lopez, was hung, drawn and quartered. Lopez was a Portuguese Jew, and his grisly execution epitomised the atmosphere of zealous anti-Semitism which seems to have characterised Shakespeare’s England. But, in writing The Merchant of Venice, was Shakespeare joining in with the popular anti-Semitic clamour, or was he doing something far more subversive than that? And what does the play mean to us, in the post-Holocaust 21st Century? Whether you already love Shakespeare’s plays, or whether they’re a source of frustration to you, this will be a weekend of Shakespeare without fear, with just one play – The Merchant of Venice (c. 1597) – to read or watch in advance, and with all other materials provided for you.

Emma Rees was Gladstone’s Library’s Political Writer in Residence in 2016. She is Professor of Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Chester, and she has taught Shakespeare and Renaissance literature in universities for over 20 years. In May 2018 she led a weekend workshop, Taming Shakespeare at Gladstone’s Library, having, a year earlier, finally achieved her goal of seeing every one of Shakespeare’s 37 plays live on stage at least once.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email

Credit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPublic toiletsRegional Tourist Board MemberAccepts groupsFacilities for conferencingFacilities for corporate hospitality

Event details

Dates Times
Fri 10 - Sun 12 May 2019


Residential prices start from £235, non-residential from £160. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.


Church Lane,



Plan route to Gladstone's Library using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SJ 314659  Lat: 53.18576 Long: -3.02804

Gladstone's Library is easily accessible by road and rail, just fifteen minutes drive from the M56 and six miles from Chester where there are regular train connections to London and other UK cities. Both Liverpool and Manchester airports are within easy reach.

Parking: free

Accessible by Public Transport: 6 miles from Chester station


  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Regional Tourist Board MemberRegional Tourist Board Member
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Facilities for conferencingFacilities for conferencing
  • Facilities for corporate hospitalityFacilities for corporate hospitality