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Shakespeare and the Victorians
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Professor of English Literature, Oxford, gives a talk for Shakespeare Oxford 2016 series. When the tercentenary of Shakespeare's birth was celebrated in 1864, Robert Browning observed that he and his contemporaries had Shakespeare 'in our very bones and blood, our very selves'. In this talk, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst explores some of the ways in which the Victorians tried to keep Shakespeare alive in the nineteenth century: through theatrical revivals and literary allusions; through paintings and photographs; and especially through their fascination with the idea that, as Tennyson put it in his poem Vastness, 'the dead are not dead but alive'.