Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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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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Images from Broadway’s past

In Anything Goes, Broadway historian Ethan Mordden takes us on a tour of the history of Broadway musicals over the past 100 years. From classical shows to Bernadette Peter’s recent turn in the 2011 production of Follies, take a tour of the evolution of the musical through the years and “all that jazz” that is has captivated audiences for ages.

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Breaking Bad’s Faustian Cast

In a Reddit AMA session a few months ago, Bryan Cranston was asked when he thought his character on Breaking Bad broke bad. His response: “My feeling is that Walt broke bad in the very first episode. It was very subtle but he did because that’s when he decided to become someone that he’s not in order to gain financially. He made the Faustian deal at that point and everything else was a slippery slope.”

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Adapting Henry V

By Gus Gallagher
In the Autumn of 2011 I found myself at something of a loose end in the beautiful city of Tbilisi, Georgia, working with the Marjanishvili Theatre there on a production of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Unsure of what my next project might be, my attention turned to an old love, Shakespeare’s Henry V.

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Shakespeare’s hand in the additional passages to Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy

By Douglas Bruster
Why should we think that Shakespeare wrote lines first published in the 1602 quarto of The Spanish Tragedy, a then-classic play by his deceased contemporary Thomas Kyd? Our answer starts 180 years ago, when Samuel Taylor Coleridge—author of ‘Kubla Khan’ and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner—said he heard Shakespeare in this material.

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