Folger Shakespeare Library: Shakespeare Unlimited

How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England

Oct. 30, 2018

What is a knave? How about a varlet? Did people in Shakespeare’s time really throw the contents of their chamber pots out of their windows? And was that, like. . . encouraged? If you’ve ever wondered about the naughty bits of early modern history and culture, Ruth Goodman’s book is for you. How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England: A Guide for Knaves, Fools, Harlots, Cuckolds, Drunkards, Liars, Thieves, and Braggarts covers all the things we don’t talk about in polite company, including dirty words, bad manners, criminal conduct, and sex. We talked with Goodman about what bad behavior can tell us about Shakespeare’s world and about our society today. Ruth Goodman is an author, historian of British social and domestic life, host of a BBC TV series, and an advisor to the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published October 30, 2018. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “My Speech Of Insultment Ended On His Dead Body,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Ben Lauer is the web producer. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano and Paul Luke at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California and Aidan Lyons at the Sound Company in London.

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