Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Why we watch the Tony Awards

By Liz Wollman
Awards season bring out everyone’s inner analyst. The moment that nominations are announced, everyone starts trying to figure out what the list of nominees says about the state of whatever medium is being lauded.

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Josephine Baker, the most sensational woman anybody ever saw

By Melanie Zeck
Perhaps Ernest Hemingway knew best when he claimed that Josephine Baker was the “most sensational woman anybody ever saw. Or ever will.” Indeed, Josephine Baker was sensational–as an African American coming of age in the 1920s, she took Paris by storm in La Revue Nègre and relished a career in entertainment that spanned fifty years. On what would be her 108th birthday, Baker’s fans on both sides of the Atlantic still celebrate her legendary charisma.

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Hasidic drag in American modern dance

By Rebecca Rossen
On February 27, 1932, the American modern dancer Pauline Koner presented a concert at New York City’s Town Hall. For the occasion, Koner, who was Jewish, premiered Chassidic Song and Dance, a solo in which she portrayed a young Hasidic Jew.

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Shakespeare’s 450th birthday quiz

William Shakespeare was born 450 years ago this month, in April 1564, and to celebrate Oxford Scholarly Editions Online is testing your knowledge on Shakespeare quotes. Do you know your sonnets from your speeches? Find out…

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Discussing Josephine Baker with Anne Cheng

By Tim Allen
Josephine Baker, the mid-20th century performance artist, provocatrix, and muse, led a fascinating transatlantic life. I recently had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Anne A. Cheng, Professor of English and African American Literature at Princeton University and author of the book Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface, about her research into Baker’s life, work, influence, and legacy.

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Plausible fictions and irrational coherence

By Joseph Harris
One of the most intriguing developments in recent psychology, I feel, has been the recognition of the role played by irrationality in human thought. Recent works by Richard Wiseman, Dan Ariely, Daniel Kahneman, and others have highlighted the irrationality that can inform and shape our judgements, decision-making, and thought more generally. But, as the title of Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational reminds us, our ‘irrationality’ is not necessarily random for all that.

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A day with Carol Channing in Disneyland

by Eddie Shapiro
When I began work on my book, I knew I would be fortunate enough to experience a few moments of “Pinch me. This can’t really be happening.” There were, as it turned out, so many that I’d be black and blue if there was actual pinching going on. But of all of those moments, I think the highlight would have to be spending a day at Disneyland with Carol Channing and her late husband, Harry, who were then 90 and 91 respectively.

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At the launch of Nothing Like a Dame

On Monday, 27 January 2014, the lobby of Oxford University Press’s New York City office was filled with Broadway fans, and a few stars, drinking champagne in celebration of the publication of Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations With the Great Women of Musical Theater by Eddie Shapiro.

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Happy Birthday, Carol Channing!

In recognition of the inimitable Carol Channing’s 93rd birthday, we have excerpted a portion of her interview from Eddie Shapiro’s forthcoming book of interviews with the leading ladies of Broadway, Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theater.

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Hal Gladfelder on The Beggar’s Opera and Polly

With The Beggar’s Opera, Gay invented a new form, the ballad opera, and the daring mixture of caustic political satire, well-loved popular tunes, and a story of crime and betrayal set in the urban underworld of prostitutes and thieves was an overnight sensation.

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Shakespeare in disguise

Celebrate Halloween with Shakespeare and Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (OSEO)! Test your knowledge on which characters disguise themselves, what the witches say around their cauldron, why ghosts haunt the living, and who plays tricks in the night …

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Romeo & Juliet: the film adaptations

By Jill L. Levensen
In its fall preview issue for 2013 (dated 2-9 September), New York magazine lists Romeo and Juliet with other films opening on 11 October 2013, and it comments: “Julian Fellowes (the beloved creator of Downton Abbey) tries to de-Luhrmann-ize this classic.” The statement makes two notable points.

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