Peter Medine

Peter E. Medine, Professor Emeritus, Department of English, UA

Monday, October 30, 2023,

2:20pm – 3:30pm,

ASA Koffler Great Room  and Zoom



Why is William Shakespeare, an actor and playwright from the last decades of the 16th century and the first of the 17th, whose work might never have come down to us at all had not a couple of his colleagues in the King’s Men acting company gathered together all the scripts they could find of his work after his death and published them for the first time in a folio edition in 1623–Why is this man regarded, not only in the English-speaking world but around the globe, as the greatest playwright who ever lived?

Professor Peter Medine proposes to answer that question through a close examination of specific passages from plays in each of the First Folio’s genres: comedy, history, and tragedy. He will focus on their language, observing how they realize key dramatic moments, providing a sense of the plays’ overall significance.  Passages from the comedy, As You Like It; from the history, Henry V; and from the tragedy, Macbeth, will explore “What makes Shakespeare ‘Shakespearean.’”

We will come to understand why, in a celebratory poem prefatory to the First Folio, Shakespeare’s fellow dramatist Ben Jonson wrote that Shakespeare was not “of an age but for all time.”  No surprise that Shakespeare wrote for the Globe theatre, whose name refers to the world and is a metaphor for all that the world contains.

Peter E. Medine is Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona, where he served in the English Department from 1969 to 2014. He has written, edited, or co-edited seven books in Early Modern English studies. His most recent co-edited book is Visionary Milton: Essays in Prophecy and Violence (2010). He is the recipient of several Humanities Seminars Superior Teaching Awards and the College of Humanities Award for Outreach Service.

Preview by Suzanne Ferguson, Academy Village Volunteer

You can connect to Zoom either by using the following URL: or by opening a browser to and typing in Meeting ID: 954 5651 1620 and Passcode: 85747 

Oct. 30: “What Makes Shakespeare ‘Shakespearean’”