Last month the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. officially opened “Churchill’s Shakespeare,” a new exhibition exploring the influence of William Shakespeare on the thought, writing, and statesmanship of Winston Churchill. The exhibition is a joint endeavor of the Folger and the International Churchill Society that features documents and artifacts from the Churchill Archives Centre, Chartwell, and the Folger. Much of this material can now be viewed online by those unable to visit the museum.
Churchill gloried in Shakespeare’s language and imagery and often quoted or referenced the Bard of Avon. During the Second World War, for example, Churchill showed his respect for United States Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall when he said of the general, “That is the noblest Roman of them all,” a reference to the words Shakespeare put into the mouth of Marc Anthony when speaking of Brutus in Act V of Julius Caesar.
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