British Universities Film & Video Council

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Harold Holtzer on Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare

Synopsis
Lincoln historian Harold Holzer discusses Abraham Lincoln’s interest in the writings of Shakespeare and his penchant for quoting the playwright and attending his plays. President Lincoln carried a volume of Shakespeare’s plays with him around the White House, frequently reading aloud to family and staff, and purportedly outshining any professional of the day with his interpretation of Richard III’s opening soliloquy. Abraham Lincoln used the bard to win a court case, found solace in the speeches when his son Willie died, and analysed and critiqued the plays. Holzer provides the backstory to some of the president’s favourite selections, which were then read by actors. The programme "O, My Offence Is Rank": Lincoln’s Favourite Shakespeare Speeches: Excerpts from Hamlet, Henry IV, Julius Caesar King Lear, Othello, and other plays, held in the Bruno Walter Auditorium, is part of the series "Mystic Chords of Memory: Abraham Lincoln and the Performing Arts" presented by New York Public Library for the Performing Arts for the bicentennial of President Lincoln’s birth.
Language
English
Country
United States
Medium
Multimedia; Television; Video
Technical information
Colour / Sound
Transmission details
18 Mar 2009 (Channel: C-SPAN2)
Duration
55 mins

Credits

Contributor
Harold Holzer

Additional Details

Production type
Documentary/Educational/News
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Lincoln, Abraham; politics; Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)

Notes

Notes
The video and transcript are available at: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/286350-1 (accessed 5.2010).

Production Company

Name

C-SPAN

Online Retailer

Name

C-Span Video Library

Web
http://www.c-spanvideo.org External site opens in new window
Notes
The entire library of C-SPAN, totalling over 150,000 hours of video from 1987 up to the present day, is now available for free online viewing. C-SPAN, an abbreviation of Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, has been covering US government proceedings since 1979. Compilations of footage relating to particular themes or presidents are also available for sale on DVD.

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