Neil Rathmell – writer

100+ essays on literary topics

The comedy of Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida is sometimes thought of as one of Shakespeare’s Problem Plays, but I think of it as a comedy. Not a romantic comedy, like A Midsummer Night’s Dream … Continue reading

November 1, 2016 · Leave a comment

Macbeth and me

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is as much poem as play. The essence of the drama is not in the action but in the words and in the unfolding of metaphor. It begins … Continue reading

September 28, 2016 · Leave a comment

Shakespeare’s girls

Shakespeare’s girls have grown up too quickly. Juliet was only thirteen in 1595 when Romeo and Juliet was written. ‘She hath not seen the change of fourteen years,’ Capulet tells … Continue reading

September 14, 2016 · Leave a comment

Hamlet, a post-Reformation tragedy

Francisco, an ‘honest soldier’, has only eight lines, but he sets the tone for the whole play when he says, in Act I, scene 1 of Hamlet, that he is … Continue reading

August 31, 2016 · Leave a comment

Proust, Einstein and the modern European novel

In the hundred years or so since Marcel Proust wrote A la recherche du temps perdu, Time has become one of the dominant themes of European literature. Patrick Modiano, W.G.Sebald, … Continue reading

August 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

Film by Satyajit Ray, story by Rabindranath Tagore

For his first job, the postmaster came to the village of Ulapur. It was a very humble village. There was an indigo-factory nearby, and the British manager had with much … Continue reading

August 3, 2016 · Leave a comment

Aimez-vous Tremblay?

Among the many things monolingual Britain is unable to appreciate is the work of one of Canada’s best playwrights. Unlike the Canadian writers whose work we do know, Michel Tremblay … Continue reading

July 20, 2016 · Leave a comment

Was Shakespeare a Catholic?

Whether Shakespeare was a Catholic is and will always be a moot point. The only thing we can say with any certainty is that his grandfather was. The only way … Continue reading

July 6, 2016 · Leave a comment

We just don’t say that sort of thing

Philip Hensher begins his introduction to the Penguin Book of the British Short Story with the assertion that ‘the British short story is probably the richest, most varied and most … Continue reading

June 22, 2016 · Leave a comment

A short story by Giovanni Verga

A young Sicilian woman called Nedda declares, at the end of a short story by Giovanni Verga, that it is better to be dead than alive and thanks the Holy … Continue reading

June 8, 2016 · 2 Comments