Articles by Ed Simon

August 25, 2017

The Poetry of Subversion: On ‘Shakespeare in Swahililand’ 1

Shakespeare was often handmaid to the subjugation of people by English colonialists, who used the playwright as evidence of British superiority, while at the same time he was used by people across Africa in their own striving for national self-determination.

October 7, 2016

The Other Folio: On the Legacy of Ben Jonson 1

Outside of academic circles, where there has been a resurgence in interest, Jonson is a distant third in the contemporary popular imagination about the time period, after canonical William Shakespeare and sexy Christopher Marlowe.

July 1, 2016

Songs of Ourselves: Searching for America’s Epic Poem 5

For all of our tweedy jingoism, the United States seems rare among nations in not having an identifiable and obvious candidate for national epic.

June 10, 2016

Hell with the Lid Taken Off: A Pittsburgh Reading List 6

In the writing of Willa Cather, John Edgar Wideman, Michael Chabon, Stewart O’Nan, and Ellen Litman we see a fuller expression of the raw energy of Pittsburgh than one does in the simple platitudes of official civic boosters.

May 19, 2016

The Poetry of Small Things: On Ruth Goodman’s ‘How to Be a Tudor’ 1

You wouldn’t expect the intricacies of Tudor baking, brewing, ploughing, cooking, needlework, painting, dancing, and card-playing to hold an audience rapt, and yet Goodman makes the minutia of everyday life a half-millennia ago tremendously interesting.