Jonathan Bate

The play’s the thing

In Shakespeare’s time, say Jonathan Bate and Dora Thornton, you went to the theatre for your fix of news, politics and entertainment

History, geography, politics, news, entertainment: the world is at our fingertips, staged before our eyes through the click of a mouse. Before the age of the internet was that of television, and radio before that. In the 19th century, you went for your weekly fix of politics, news, opinion and enlightenment to papers such as The Spectator — its name a nod back a further 100 years, to the first of the great periodicals that emerged from the coffee-house culture of the early 18th century.

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