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Shakespeare: As You Like It

6. Touchstone

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About this Lecture


In this section, we think about the character of Touchstone, focusing in particular on the kind of clown he is, his portrayal by the actor Robert Armin (a relatively new addition to Shakespeare's troupe), the character's engagement with the philosophy of Philip Sidney, and his interactions with Jaques.


In this course, Professor John Roe (University of York) explores Shakespeare's As You Like It – a play that was written in 1599, first performed in 1603, and first published in the First Folio, 1623. We begin by thinking about the sources of the play, focusing in particular on Thomas Lodge's 'Rosalynde, or Euphues' Golden Legacie' (1590), but also thinking about the genre of pastoral poetry more generally. After that, we summarise the plot of the play, before moving on to consider the extent to which the play engages with satire. In the final three modules, we focus on three characters in particular: Rosalind, Jaques, and Touchstone.


John Roe is a professor in Renaissance literature and a member of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS) at the University of York. He took a BA (subsequently MA) in English Literature at the University of Cambridge and an MA and PhD in Comparative Literature at Harvard University. Comparative Literature, mainly English and Italian, has remained a keen interest, which shows principally in his monograph Shakespeare and Machiavelli. He has taught at York since 1973. Before that he taught at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and at Harvard. During his time at York he has enjoyed long sojourns at universities in other countries, for example, at the University of the Saarland in Germany, at Kyoto University, Doshisha University, and Kobe Jogakuin, in Japan; and most recently a year as the visiting Gillespie Professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Roe, J. (2018, August 15). Shakespeare: As You Like It - Touchstone [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Roe, J. "Shakespeare: As You Like It – Touchstone." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,