The Story of English | A Muse of Fire

This is the story of the English language in the age of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible, and of how it was taken to the New World by the pioneering Elizabethans. A Muse of Fire explores Shakespeare's English in all its many colours: in the plays of the First Folio, on the lips of Shakespeare's contemporaries, and in the way that it influences people still. Filmed in some strange and isolated communities, both here and in North America, the programme shows how you can still find Shakespearian pronunciations in rural Warwickshire, and how the accents of the English West Country, still surviving on the east coast of the United States, provide the basis for American English today.


Licence: ERA Licence required

  • Type: Factual
  • Channel: BBC Two
  • Duration: 53'40''
  • Broadcast date: 1986

UK only
Staff and students of licensed education establishments only
Cannot be adapted

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  • Shakespeare Archive Resource