Harold Holzer on Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare

Lincoln historian Harold Holzer discussed the 16th president’s interest in the writings of William Shakespeare and his penchant for… read more

Lincoln historian Harold Holzer discussed the 16th president’s interest in the writings of William Shakespeare and his penchant for quoting the playwright and attending his plays. President Lincoln carried a volume of Shakespeare’s plays with him around the White House, frequently reading aloud to family and staff, and purportedly outshining any professional of the day with his interpretation of Richard III’s opening soliloquy. Abraham Lincoln used the bard to win a court case, found solace in the speeches when his son Willie died, and analyzed and critiqued the plays. Harold Holzer provided the backstory to some of the president’s favorite selections, which were then read by actors.

Harold Holzer is the author of numerous books on the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, including Lincoln at Cooper Union that was the recipient of the Lincoln Prize in 2005. Mr. Holzer is the co-chairman of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

The program “O, My Offense Is Rank": Lincoln’s Favorite Shakespeare Speeches: Excerpts from Hamlet, Henry IV, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Othello, and Other Plays, held in the Bruno Walter Auditorium, was part of the series "Mystic Chords of Memory: Abraham Lincoln and the Performing Arts” presented by New York Public Library for the Performing Arts for the bicentennial of President Lincoln’s birth. close

*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.

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  • Richard Easton Actor
  • Harold Holzer Senior Vice President Metropolitan Museum of Art->External Affairs
  • Alan Pally Manager New York Public Library for the Performing Arts ->Public Programs
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Harold Holzer on Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare

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Program ID:
286350-1
Category:
Public Affairs Event
Format:
Forum
Location:
New York, New York, United States
First Aired:
May 17, 2009
Last Aired:
May 18, 2009

Airing Details

  • May 17, 2009 | 11:01am EDT | C-SPAN 2
  • May 17, 2009 | 8:00pm EDT | C-SPAN 2
  • May 18, 2009 | 5:02am EDT | C-SPAN 2
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