Welcome to Episode #020 of That Shakespeare Life, the podcast that takes you behind the curtain and into the life of William Shakespeare.

I believe that if you want to understand Shakespeare's plays, then understanding the life of William Shakespeare, the man, is essential. This podcast is designed to help you explore early modern England as Shakespeare would have lived it by interviewing the historians, performers, authors, and experts that know him best.

Phil Withington is here to talk about intoxicants of early modern England, the title subject of an article he wrote in 2011 and published in The Historical Journal. 

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Phil Withington is an author, professor, and Head of History at University of Sheffield. He trained as a historian in Cambridge, and is the former editor of ‘The Historical Journal‘ and Principal Investigator of the joint professional project ‘Intoxicants and Early Modernity‘. Phil joins us today to explain the everyday role of intoxicants in Shakespeare’s lifetime, as well as what we can tell about the use of alcohol and tobacco in Shakespeare’s plays when we understand what kind of reputation these new intoxicants held in the 16th century.

In this episode, I’ll be asking Phil about :

  • Were these substances part of Shakespeare’s everyday life? Would he have consumed chocolate and tea?
  • Did James I share Elizabeth I's interest in tobacco and it’s influence on society?
  • What was the reputation of intoxicants in early modern England?
  • …and more!

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