Review of Shakespeare Beyond Doubt
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0416 Tuesday, 27 August 2013
From: Annie Martirosyan <
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 2:57 PM
Subject: Review of Shakespeare Beyond Doubt
27 August 2013
Shakespeare by No Other Name
By Annie Martirosyan
Linguist, Shakespeare researcher, Lecturer in English language
I might have started my journey with Shakespeare as an anti-Shakespearean. Well, at least, that’s what anti-Shakespeareans believe will happen to you if only you open your mind and let the enlightening rays of truth in. I clearly remember the first lecture on Shakespeare at university. Open swung the door and in came the lecturer waving in her hands a journal with Shakespeare’s signatures and portraits and out flew, self-consciously, the first sentence: “Shakespeare never wrote those plays!” What followed was a dismissive rant about Shakespeare and Stratford-upon-Avon. Luckily, I never had enough imagination to be turned into an Oxfordian. I was bored at the lectures. Shakespeare’s creativity with language, the simpleness, subtlety and ludicity of his texture was what really tickled my mind.
The so-called authorship controversy has been around for a good while to annoy academics, confuse newcomers to Shakespeare and to promote tiring ideas about a hollow version of alternative history. Anti-Shakespearean theories make devout efforts to create an anti-historical truth where everyone else is worthy of being Shakespeare but Shakespeare himself. Where they preach about a “better” author with a better education, academics and Shakespeare professionals are dubbed “Establishment” protecting Shakespeare of Stratford. Reason and respect are expected for theories so utterly unreasonable and disrespectful.
Recently, a number of esteemed Shakespeare professionals have produced a comprehensive and informed book on the topic. Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy is edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells and published by Cambridge University Press.
The need for an organised response arose after the release of the widely sensationalised epic failure of a film called Anonymous which should fairly much irritate even the Oxfordians by its overdone distortion of history.
If it [Anonymous] had followed its own plot to its logical conclusion, then Oxford would have conducted a homosexual affair with the Earl of Southampton, Oxford’s own biological son by an incestuous union with his own mother. . . . these implied relationships do not prove that Oxford was William Shakespeare, but they do prove that he was John Milton, for how but by personal experience could Milton have conceived the variously incestuous trio in Paradise Lost, Satan, Sin and Death? -- Alan H. Nelson
Shakespeare Beyond Doubt consists of three parts. In “Sceptics”, the authors take a close look at the roots of anti-Shakespeareanism which started in 1856 when an American lady named Delia Bacon became determined to prove Shakespeare was, in fact, Francis Bacon. Like bubonic plague, the idea infected many others and today there are over 70 candidates promoted for a post they will never get. Among other prominent candidates are Marlowe, Edward de Vere - 17th Earl of Oxford, and Elizabeth I.
Mathematically, each time an additional candidate is suggested, the probability decreases that any given name is the true author. -- Matt Kubus
In “Shakespeare as Author”, the scholars expand on interesting topics like extant allusions to Shakespeare to 1642, Shakespeare’s collaboration with other playwrights, his schooling. The chapter by David Kathman on Shakespeare’s Warwickshire connections and the Warwickshire words in his plays is especially noteworthy.
In general, anti-Shakespearians’ depictions of sixteenth-century Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwickshire are rooted in distortions, driven by an irrational hatred of William Shakespeare of Stratford and all he represents. Those who would deny Shakespeare’s authorship and disparage his home town must turn a blind eye to a mountain of evidence showing that Stratford’s leading residents, including Shakespeare’s closest friends there, were educated and cultured by just about any standard. -- David Kathman
MacDonald P. Jackson shows how stylometric analysis of Shakespeare’s texture proves the collaborative nature of the works. Anti-Shakespeareans, instead, automatically deny this evidence by favouring a proposition that a single author with a better formal education penned the canon.
In the final part of the book, “A Cultural Phenomenon: Did Shakespeare Write Shakespeare?”, the scholars ruminate on the cultural, political, fictional treatments of Shakespeare’s authorship. Stuart Hampton-Reeves looks at the bombastically named Declaration of Reasonable Doubt which invites signatures from people doubting Shakespeare’s authorship. The website triumphantly lists the merely 470 people of “academic status” - whereas ironically, it is usually the academia which is under anti-Shakespeareans’ attack for supposedly deifying Shakespeare. The statistics Hampton-Reeves presents only go to show how few are the academics out there interested in promoting anti-Shakespeareanism in formal education.
The book ends with a logical and conclusive Afterword by James Shapiro. The selected reading list provided by Hardy M. Cook and the Notes speak about the highly professional level of the essays in Shakespeare Beyond Doubt.
Among other Shakespeareans, Paul Edmondson’s intelligent and organised regular responses to anti-Shakespearean (ad)ventures are particularly rewarding. I have repeatedly used the term anti-Shakespearean, and not anti-Stratfordian, throughout the review. The former is a more precise term which Edmondson has put into current use. As Edmondson similarly observes, to consider the playwright’s roots as unworthy of his creations is to deny Shakespeare himself.
Shakespeare Beyond Doubt shows, once more, that the fickle authorship controversy still exists not because there is no evidence that Shakespeare was Shakespeare but because anti-Shakespeareans refuse to acknowledge it and prefer the creative route of constructing an imaginary and speculative truth. History does not work like that. It is not a Hollywood movie.
Those who fail to be able, for snobbish or other ‘ignorant’ reasons, to locate the genius of the work in Shakespeare of Stratford, have failed to do what the editors of the First Folio in their prefatory epistle demanded: which is, that we should ‘Read him.’ -- Barbara Everett
. . . Time has passed. My former Oxfordian lecturer is a colleague today and, as I have discovered of late, favours Roger Manners - 5th Earl of Rutland, now. It speaks volumes about anti-Shakespeareanism, doesn’t it?
2013 Colloquium at Fairleigh Dickinson University
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0415 Tuesday, 27 August 2013
From: Harry Keyishian <
Date: August 26, 2013 9:20:52 PM EDT
Subject: 2013 Colloquium at Fairleigh Dickinson University
Julius Caesar will be the subject of the 2013 Shakespeare Colloquium at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. This annual gathering, now in its 21st year, will take place on Saturday, October 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in room S-11 of the Science Building. These colloquiums are free and open to the public.
Shakespeare’s Roman tragedy has always been important in American culture and in the school curriculum. Sometimes seen as a defense of rebellion, and sometimes as a critique, it will be discussed at this colloquium in its full complexity by four scholars who focus on the play’s rhetoric, its portrayal of women, its treatment of human agency, and its afterlife in adaptation.
Speakers this year are Eric Johnson-Debaufre (Harvard University), Naomi Liebler (Montclair State University), Hugh Grady (Arcadia University), and Iska Alter (Hofstra University). Coordinators of the colloquium are Harry Keyishian and Bianca Calabresi, both of Fairleigh Dickinson University.
New Jersey teachers may obtain professional development hours for their participation. Forms will be available at the colloquium.
Registration is not required, but is welcomed for planning purposes. To register, or for further information, write to Harry Keyishian at GH2-01, 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940, or by e-mail to
S-11 is handicap-accessible. Please contact the coordinators for further information or assistance. The colloquiums are supported in part by the Columbia University Seminar on Shakespeare. Additional contributions are welcome and may be made out to FDU-Shakespeare.
The George Washington University 2013 Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare Lecture
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0411 Monday, 26 August 2013
From: Emily Russell <
Date: August 26, 2013 10:08:59 AM EDT
Subject: The George Washington University 2013 Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare Lecture
We are very pleased to announce the launch of a new Digital Humanities Institute, co-founded and co-directed by Professors Alexander Huang and Jonathan Hsy. The inaugural Digital Humanities Institute Lecture and 2013 Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare Lecture will be delivered by Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, whose work on data-mining and literary analysis will provide an entry point into a discussion of some of the possibilities—and potential limitations—of large scale digitization projects. You are cordially invited to the talk and reception.
Addressing the Text: Reflections on Shakespeare, Digital Access, and Libraries
3 pm on Friday September 6 in Post Hall on Mt Vernon.
The talk will explore the ways in which large scale digitization projects have created new access problems while solving old ones; it will also show some underlying similarities between the physical codex and the digital surrogates that we are now creating for printed books: both are “massively addressable objects,” simply at a different scale. The plays of Shakespeare are only one place where this convergence can be explored; they will serve as a point of departure in this talk.
“Addressing the Text” is co-sponsored by the GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (GW MEMSI), the Digital Humanities Institute, the Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare, the Department of English, the Department of History, and the Gelman LIbrary.
Dr. Michael Witmore is Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library and author, most recently, of Shakespearean Metaphysics and Landscapes of the Passing Strange: Reflections from Shakespeare (with Rosamond Purcell). He is part of the Mellon funded digital research initiative Visualizing English Print, 1470-1800 and maintains a blog on digital approaches to literary studies (http://winedarksea.org/).
Free shuttle to Mt Vern: http://transportation.gwu.edu/mount-vernon-shuttle-vern-express
Event webpage: http://www.gwmemsi.com/2013/08/mike-witmore-addressing-text-gw-digital.html
Event flyer: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37548854/WitmorePoster2013.pdf
Witmore Poster: WitmorePoster 2013
Broadcast of Three Henry VI Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0406 Friday, 23 August 2013
From: Hardy Cook <
Date: August 22, 2013 3:30:44 PM EDT
Subject: Broadcast of Three Henry VI Plays
Shakespeare’s Globe and The Space to broadcast fourth and final open-air battlefield performance of Shakespeare’s three Henry VI plays live from Monken Hadley Common, near site of the Battle of Barnet, between midday and 10pm on 24 August 2013.
The Space, the digital arts service from Arts Council England, in partnership with the BBC, will present the live event from multiple different viewpoints. Aerial cameras will also capture the stage, audience and landscape from above. Filming will be undertaken by production company Sparkly Light, who were responsible for filming last year’s multilingual Globe-to-Globe Festival in its entirety, producing 37 films in 42 days for use on The Space. The event will be presented by stage and screen actor Jamie Parker, who played Prince Hal and then King Henry in the Globe’s productions of Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V in 2010 and 2012.
To complement the live stream of the Henry VI trilogy, The Space will offer an innovative digital programme giving audiences access to all the information available to a playgoer at the Globe and more. A rich resource of text and images – including cast biographies, rehearsal photos, interviews with director Nick Bagnall, interactive maps and historical material – will create an immersive and informative audience experience.
After the live broadcast, edited films of each of the three plays will become available on-demand on The Space’s website. These versions will be accompanied by a further series of exciting online features, including embedded hyperlinks allowing viewers to access biographies of characters as they enter the action, historical contexts for important speeches and the complete text of each play in synchronization with the action.
Four major battles of the Wars of the Roses are featured in the Henry VI plays: Towton, Tewkesbury, St Albans and Barnet. During the Battle of Towton alone 28,000 men died – the biggest loss of life on English soil in a single day in recorded history. The Battle of Barnet was one of the most decisive conflicts of the Wars of the Roses, and Edward IV’s brutal defeat of his erstwhile friend and ally the Earl of Warwick marked the beginning of fourteen years of Yorkist rule over England.
The Henry VI plays begin with the death of Henry V and together chart the entirety of his son’s turbulent reign. They encompass the stories of Joan of Arc, who is burnt at the stake at the end of Harry the Sixth, and Jack Cade, whose short-lived peasant rebellion is depicted in The Houses of York & Lancaster. The Henry VI plays were Shakespeare’s first blockbuster history sequence and established his reputation as one of the most popular playwrights of the Elizabethan age.
For further information contact Francesca Maguire or Emma Draper at Shakespeare’s Globe on +44 (0) 207 902 1491/1492 or email
The Space is a digital arts service, developed by Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC, designed to change the way people can connect with and experience the arts. It provides live, free and on demand access to the work of the UK’s greatest artists and arts organisations. Piloted from May 2012 until March 2013, The Space service was designed to build the digital skills of the arts and cultural sector, support creativity and experimentation and connect arts organisations with a wider audience. Arts Council England and the BBC are continuing to work in partnership to capture all the good practice and learning from The Space pilot to improve, develop and shape a future service. During this development phase, The Space will occasionally publish work from an arts organisation that enables it to test technical and creative concepts. The Space is available globally free of charge via the internet, on computers, smartphones and tablets.
Arts Council England
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.
Sparkly Light produces engaging, imaginative and inspiring films and video coverage. Care, commitment and creativity are integral to Sparkly Light’s approach to a project: capturing performance, promotional films, broadcasting, consultancy and events. Inventively streamlining production means every penny ends up where it should - on screen.
For more information on Sparkly Light, please contact Jen Stebbing
/ 07984 493661
The live broadcast will be between midday and 10pm, presented by Jamie Parker (Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V), captured from multiple viewpoints.
Follow @The_Globe and @thespacearts on Twitter for updates.
Watch the live stream
The plays which make up Shakespeare’s Henry VI create a world without ideology; a savage time, when the heroes are not kings, but formidable women, such as Joan of Arc, or rebels, such as Jack Cade.
Bold characterisation, black comedy, rhetorical power and, in the personality of Henry VI, touching pathos combine in Shakespeare’s powerful rendering of a country racked by civil war.
Harry the Sixth
Following the death of Henry V, celebrated for having united England and subjugated France, divisions appear at the highest levels – first between those around the infant Henry VI, later between the two great factions in English politics: the houses of Lancaster and York. Only the young Lord Talbot, locked in combat with the bewitching and enigmatic Joan of Arc, seems capable of redeeming a divided and dishonoured kingdom.
The Houses of York & Lancaster
The saintly Henry VI is undermined by his nobles, especially the ambitious Richard, Duke of York, and by the Kentish rebellion, led by the charismatic Jack Cade, popular champion and savage critic of England’s social inequality.
The True Tragedy of the Duke of York
A bloody power struggle opens up between the King’s party, led by the fearsome Queen Margaret, and the Yorkists, led first by Richard, then his sons Edward and ‘that lump of foul deformity’, Richard of Gloucester.
On Saturday August 24th, The Space will be live streaming Shakespeare’s Globe open-air battlefield performance of the Henry VI trilogy.
The Henry VI plays were Shakespeare’s first blockbuster history sequence and established his reputation as one of the most popular playwrights of the Elizabethan age. Starting with the death of his father Henry V, the trilogy charts the entirety of Henry VI’s turbulent reign, encompassing the stories of Joan of Arc and the peasant rebellion of Jack Cade.
Shakespeare’s Globe is staging Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 in the open air at the Wars of the Roses battlefield sites featured in the plays, which saw some of the bloodiest battles in the country’s history. On Saturday 24th August, the three plays will be performed at Monken Hadley Common, site of the Battle of Barnet, a defining conflict which saw Edward IV’s brutal defeat of his erstwhile friend and ally the Earl of Warwick, which marked the beginning of fourteen years of Yorkist rule over England.
You will be able to choose to watch a live mix from five cameras capturing all the action or decide to watch ThroneCam, an actor’s view live feed from a camera mounted on the imposing throne that occupies centre stage throughout the three performances.
Actor Jamie Parker, who is no stranger to the Globe’s stage having previously played Henry V, will be your guide for the day interviewing those who’ve helped stage this theatrical event.
The live stream begins at 1200 BST and runs until 2200 BST. The three plays will begin at the following times:
Part One – Harry the Sixth: 1230 BST
Part Two – The Houses of York and Lancaster: 1600 BST
Part Three – The True Tragedy of the Duke of York: 1930 BST
Each runs for approximately two hours 15 minutes including intervals.
To complement this live stream, we’re offering you an innovative digital programme consisting of a rich resource of text and images including historical context, rehearsal photos and behind the scenes information.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0399 Thursday, 22 August 2013
From: Alex White <
Date: August 17, 2013 9:49:01 AM EDT
Subject: Devon Made Macbeth
Devon Made Macbeth
By the pricking of my thumbs, something exciting this way comes! A local not-for-profit group of writers, performers, publishers and multi-media producers, known as Devon Made, is just embarking on their latest project – an audio production of Shakespeare’s famous supernatural tragedy, Macbeth. They are intending to bring this chilling story to life in time for Hallowe’en.
Devon Made’s previous projects include a free audio adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” and an e-book adaptation of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, both of which are available for download. With Macbeth, the group is hoping to take their work further and produce not only a high-quality audio version of the play, but also undertake a costumed photoshoot to illustrate the story.
Producer Alex White explained that the group is launching an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise funds for the project. “Everyone working on Macbeth is a volunteer, so we are looking for people to support us by making a small pledge in return for ‘perks’”, he explained. “We’re hoping to raise £1200. Half of this is for production costs and the other half will be used to produce the rewards for our supporters - we are offering some excellent rewards to anyone who can help us bring Macbeth to life.”
Contributors can make their pledge of £10, £20 or £50 on the group’s crowdfunding website http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/devon-made-macbeth
The campaign is time-limited and is due to end on 31st August 2013.
The perks include free digital downloads and CDs of Devon Made’s Macbeth, as well as a glossy, West End-style brochure to both accompany and enhance the production. The group is intending to include images in the brochure which are not usually seen on stage, such as the murder of King Duncan and the last moments of Lady Macbeth.
Alex explained that the Indiegogo campaign is being run on an “all-or-nothing” basis. “If we don’t raise the full amount, we get nothing,” he said. “That’s why we want to reach out to as many people as possible, so we have the best chance of funding our vision. I would appeal to anyone with an interest in local arts to support both Devon Made and Shakespeare’s superb play – and in return, we will give you a real treat this Hallowe’en.”
The group has assembled a stellar cast of Devon talent, including South Devon actor Lee Boyle as Macbeth (insert best known/most recent roles). His Lady Macbeth is Tracey Norman, who has over 25 years’ stage experience. They are joined by Macbeth’s manservant Seyton, played by Exeter-based actor James Cotter, most recently seen on tour in the South West with Transitions Theatre Group in “The Adventures of Mr Toad”. Sam Pike is Macbeth’s nemesis, Macduff.
Please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/devon-made-macbeth and
help us bring this project to life.
Shakespearean London Theatres (ShaLT)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0398 Thursday, 22 August 2013
From: Gabriel Egan <
Date: August 22, 2013 10:50:34 AM EDT
Subject: Shakespearean London Theatres (ShaLT)
The project ‘Shakespearean London Theatres (ShaLT)’ is a collaboration between De Montfort University in Leicester, England, and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, who are the custodians of the nation’s theatre-historical artefacts collection. The project, which is funded by the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), was launched at the V&A on 23 April 2013. At the launch, we showed off five of the six project ‘outputs’:
1) A free walking map (12,000 copies to be given away) showing a series of modern London walks within a two-mile radius of St Paul’s Cathedral that take in a number of early modern theatre-historical sites, and giving the walker some basic information about those sites. The locations and descriptions used here and in the other outputs are based on the latest archival and archaeological research. We are indebted to Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) for the precise coordinates of buildings whose foundations they have excavated.
2) A printed guidebook to the walks, available from the most widely used online booksellers as well as High St bookshops; just search for ‘Shakespearean London Theatres’.
3) A interactive map-based website at <http://shalt.org.uk> containing pictures and freshly composed descriptions of the various sites, and downloadable copies of all outputs.
4) A free smartphone app (iOS and Android) that guides you around the London sites and tells you about them.
5) A series of public talks by world-class theatre historians at the Victoria and Albert Museum across this summer (see the V&A website or ShaLT the website for details of remaining talks).
The sixth output has taken a little while to complete as it’s the most ambitious and expensive: four-and-a-half hours of documentary film about the theatres of Shakespeare’s time. The films include descriptions of the theatres, the playing companies, the audiences and the social contexts, with contributions by theatre historians including Andrew Gurr, Tiffany Stern, Grace Ioppolo, Michael Dobson, Martin White, Lucy Munro, Andy Kesson and Julie Sanders, and freshly shot illustrative excerpts (with professional casts) from the plays Sapho and Phao by John Lyly, The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd, Richard 3 by Shakespeare, Eastward Ho! by George Chapman, John Marston and Ben Jonson, and A Fair Quarrel by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley.
Like all the other outputs from the ShaLT project, these films are made available for anyone to use in any way they see fit, including research, teaching, and commercial exploitation. All ShaLT outputs are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike licence (CC-BY-SA) which means you can do what you like with our stuff but you must acknowledge that you got it from us and you mustn’t put on your reuse of it a more restrictive licence than the one we’re giving you. So, do what you like, just don’t pretend it didn’t come from us and don’t try to lock it up.
We’re going to launch the films in a series of thematically connected bundles over the new few weeks. The first bundle we’re calling ‘Beginnings’ and it comprises:
1) An introduction to the rise of theatre in the middle of the sixteenth century (10 minutes) http://youtu.be/ufkQk0E0SjY
2) An examination of the role of John Lyly in early theatre (10 minutes) http://youtu.be/mmCLHqjIGB0
3) A performed excerpt from Lyly’s play Sapho and Phao Act III Scene 4, first performed c.1583 (6 minutes) http://youtu.be/okYqncz1lxM
4) A research interview with theatre historian Andy Kesson on the subject of Lyly (20 minutes) http://youtu.be/6fZYY8UWBiw
5) A research interview with theatre historian Lucy Munro (30 minutes) http://youtu.be/ce4yFGZ136A
This first bundle, ‘Beginnings’, is now available on YouTube. The links to the YouTube films are also given on the ‘Films’ page of the ShaLT website at <http://shalt.org.uk>. We’ll also in a little while put the raw films themselves (in high and low-resolution formats) on the ShaLT website so you can download them directly rather than having to stream them from YouTube, and then of course you can edit them, put them into your own teaching materials, show them in any public or private venue, and so on.
The ShaLT project investigators, myself and Andrew Gurr, would like to thank the AHRC for funding this work and the Victoria and Albert Museum for a fruitful partnership.
Professor of Shakespeare Studies
De Montfort University
British Shakespeare Association Conference 2014, 3-6 July 2014
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0397 Thursday, 22 August 2013
From: Katherine Halsey <
Date: August 19, 2013 5:39:22 AM EDT
Subject: British Shakespeare Association Conference 2014, 3-6 July 2014
CALL FOR PAPERS
Sixth Biennial British Shakespeare Association Conference
Shakespeare: Text, Power, Authority
University of Stirling, 3-6 July 2014
Professor Margreta de Grazia (University of Pennsylvania)
Professor Andrew Murphy (University of St Andrews)
Professor John Drakakis (University of Stirling)
Dr Colin Burrow (University of Oxford)
Dr Michael Bogdanov (Director, The Wales Theatre Company)
In the four hundred and fiftieth year since Shakespeare’s birth, this conference seeks to explore questions of authority for Shakespeare, in Shakespeare, and about Shakespeare. It aims to investigate the relationship between text, power, and authority, both in the writing of Shakespeare and in writing about Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s works ask us repeatedly to think about what constitutes authority, about where authority lies, and about the performance of authority. Shakespeare has also himself repeatedly been used as a form of cultural capital and authority, and we therefore also welcome contributions that explore some of the different ways in which his plays and poems have been deployed in various times and places. Shakespeare’s works prompt us to think about textual authority, too. What is textual authority? What makes one text more authoritative than another? How have ideas of textual authority changed over time, and what, politically, is at stake in these changes?
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Shakespeare’s biblical and classical authorities
Monarchy and sovereignty in Shakespeare’s works
Democracy and Republicanism in Shakespeare’s works
The representation and performance of power in Shakespeare’s works
Shakespeare and politics
Shakespeare(s) past and present
Re-writing and adapting Shakespeare
Writing about Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s critics and readers
Shakespeare on stage and screen
Shakespeare and copyright
Shakespeare and nationhood/identity (in the year of the Scottish referendum on independence, we particularly welcome proposals on Shakespeare and Scotland)
Shakespeare and institutional power
The conference programme will include lectures, papers, workshops, seminars, performances, and excursions.
We welcome proposals for papers or presentations (20 minutes), panels (90 minutes) or workshops (90 mins) on any aspect of the conference theme, broadly interpreted. Abstracts (250 words or less) should be sent to
by 31 Jan 2014.
Participants must be members of the British Shakespeare Association at the time of the conference. Details of how to join can be found on the conference website: http://shakespeare.stir.ac.uk/
CFP: Shakespeare and Natural History
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0396 Thursday, 22 August 2013
From: Christopher Leslie <
Date: August 17, 2013 11:35:47 AM EDT
Subject: CFP: Shakespeare and Natural History
Panel 10: Shakespeare and Natural History
As a part of the Shakespeare 450 conference in Paris from 21 to 27 April 2014, this panel seeks to extend our understanding of how Shakespeare’s time was teeming with would come to be known as natural history. Today, 450 years after Shakespeare’s birth, we are the beneficiaries of more than just the poetry of the era. Shakespeare’s recognition of and interaction with the community of natural historians demonstrates the importance he and others of his time placed on this new field. At the same time we honor the legacy of his literary engagement, so too can we consider the impact that his generation had on the imminent scientific revolution and the interaction among science, literature and society that would follow.
A change in discourse is seen in the classification of strange beings around the time of Shakespeare’s birth, as documented by Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park. Elizabeth Spiller has extended this phenomenon to her analysis of The Tempest, explaining the connection to the unique characters in the play. Before the modern period, curious beings were appreciated as rare events. Wonders in the medieval period were collected but not organized; they were, as Daston and Park characterize them, not museums but thesaurus. By the early sixteenth century, groups of naturalists engaged in a collective enterprise to distinguish the inhabitants of the natural world, which had recently become larger with the discovery of varieties of plants and animals in the new world.
Thus, as described by Brian Ogilvie, an international community arose to ponder the legends, reports, and evidence of nature. The information that arose from a network of sailors, farmers, and merchants provided information to scholars, who then compared the reports with information from the ancients and published their own analyses. Starting shortly before Shakespeare’s birth in 1564, as described by Ogilvie, an international community arose to ponder the legends, reports, and evidence of the natural world as exact, historical facts. By 1590, as noticed by Ogilvie, the descriptive techniques used by the naturalists in Shakespeare’s time depended upon “a system of differences” – having a goal of helping other naturalists find continuity in the natural world and distinguish types from each other, rather than recreating a plant or animal as unique objects for contemplation. In the plays, certainly, we see characters who display this ethic, which should contribute to our understanding of their character.
This fomenting discipline of natural history was part of the environment into which Shakespeare was born and began his work. Some of the authorities consulted by Shakespeare are natural histories, like the catalogs of plant and animal life that became popular in his century. Some plays, like The Tempest, draw heavily upon the discourse about monsters in his lifetime; others are more subtly flavored with botanical knowledge. Astrology - a practice that led individuals to observe the heavens and became more mathematical in Shakespeare’s day - figures in the texts, and the communities of correspondents and travelers in which natural historians played a part are in evidence as well. A special double issue of South Central Review attempted to rectify the “relative neglect” of the works of Shakespeare in the history of science, even at the same time it noticed a long tradition of considering the intersection of these themes in his work. What is more, as suggested by Carla Mazzio, today more so than in the Renaissance, the arts and science are “interanimated” (11). This panel will be an opportunity to build on this study of the characters, settings, and allusions in Shakespeare’s work to help us understand the echoes, controversies, and premonitions of the natural historian in his work.
For this panel, I am seeking a multidisciplinary group of Shakespeare scholars, Renaissance literature experts, historians of science, and classicists to engage the theme of Shakespeare and science along broad lines. For instance:
1. What echoes or foreshadowings of the new natural history are found in Shakespeare’s work? What classical or contemporary scientific texts are particularly important for Shakespeare scholars? Which plays, poems, or even characters lead themselves to our greater understanding of the discipline?
2. How do Shakespeare’s gestures toward natural history differ from the way the practice develops? In particular, what does the way he engaged with sources tell us about the practitioners of and assumptions about early modern science? To what extent is Shakespeare supporting this new discipline? Is it fair to call Shakespeare a natural historian? A popularizer of science?
3. In what way do the communities that Shakespeare depicts reflect the mobility exploited by natural historians or provide contrasting examples from earlier times? Can a better knowledge of particular fields, such Renaissance findings in botany/zoology, anatomy/medicine/pharmacology, astronomy/alchemy, or geology/geography/cartography, provide us with a richer understanding of Shakespeare’s work? Which key figures or texts from these disciplines should be as well known as Plutarch’s Lives or Holinshed’s Chronicles to Shakespeare scholars?
4. How can the evidence of natural history in Shakespeare help us better understand the interaction between science and literature in general? Does it offer us evidence of the social construction of scientific knowledge?
Proposals for papers that address these or related topics are welcome. Proposers are encouraged to review the relevant articles in the Winter and Spring 2009 issue of South Central Review, in addition to the bibliographic notes about the contributors in Carla Mazzio’s editorial introduction to the special edition, before submitting. Send your name, email, affiliation, abstract (250 words) and presentation title with a brief CV to Chris Leslie by email (
) by the extended deadline of August 28, 2013. Participants in this panel will precirculate draft papers with each other by April 7, 2014 to ensure a lively discussion at the conference.
This conference is organized by The Société française Shakespeare and will take place in a variety of venues in the center of Paris. For more information, visit the Shakespeare Anniversary website: http://www.shakespeareanniversary.org/?-Shakespeare-450
Daston, Lorraine and Katharine Park. Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750. New York: Zone Books, 2001.
Mezzo, Carla. “Shakespeare and Science, c. 1600.” South Central Review 26.1&2 (Winter and Spring 2009): 1-23.
Ogilvie, Brian. The Science of Describing. Chicago: U Chicago P, 2006.
Spiller, Elizabeth. “Shakespeare and the Making of Early Modern Science: Resituating Prospero’s Art.” South Central Review 26.1&2 (Winter and Spring 2009): 24-41.
Christopher S. Leslie, Ph.D.
Instructor of Media, Science and Technology Studies
Department of Technology, Culture and Society
5 MetroTech Center, LC 131
Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Brooklyn, NY 11201
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0395 Thursday, 22 August 2013
From: Jeff Dailey <
Date: August 16, 2013 3:13:06 PM EDT
Subject: Shakespeare and Music
The fall meeting of the Greater New York Chapter of the American Musicological Society will take place on Saturday, October 26th, at the Metropolitan Opera Guild in Lincoln Center. The theme is Shakespeare and Music. Proposals on this theme (250 word maximum) may be sent to
by September 1st. Put “AMSGNY Fall 2013” in the subject line.
More information about the chapter may be found on its website:
BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Shakespeare, Cinema and Society
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0389 Sunday, 11 August 2013
From: John Collick <
Date: August 7, 2013 10:48:14 AM EDT
Subject: BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Shakespeare, Cinema and Society
Shakespeare, Cinema and Society
I’ve just reissued my book Shakespeare, Cinema and Society (Manchester, 1989) as an e-book for the Kindle. It was originally published as part of the Cultural Politics series, edited by Alan Sinfield and Jonathan Dollimore and was intended as the first truly radical analysis of Shakespeare movies. The idea for the book came from my own experience trying to reconcile Shakespearean analysis of films with the work of movie critics and the growing body of Marxist-based cinema studies. One particular film stood out as the point where everything seemed to break down – Akira Kurosawa’s film of Macbeth, Throne of Blood. The analyses that Shakespeare critics wrote about the film (Roger Manvell, Peter Brook) were often wildly at odds with those produced by film/Japan experts (Donald Richie, Ana Laura Zambrano) and this fascinated me. The Shakespeareans were clearly reading the film as a direct attempt at interpreting the play, and were judging it by Anglo-centric theoretical norms. For example, Peter Brook saw it as expressing the conflict between man and nature. Yet anyone with even a passing familiarity with Japanese culture (and I have the advantage of having lived and worked there, and speaking the language) would know that this opposition doesn’t exist. It became clear to me that the only way anyone could really start to understand a film like Throne of Blood was by analysing its position in Japanese society (and the role of Shakespeare in Japanese literature). Once you moved away from ‘is it a faithful adaptation of the play?’ and started to think about Shakespeare in Japan, Japanese history and notions of honour, Kurosawa’s own post-war liberalism etc. etc. then all the images and ideas that baffled Western critics started to make sense. Shakespeare, Cinema and Society is an attempt to apply this methodology to four groups of Shakespeare films – the silent movies, the Warner Brothers’ Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kozintsev’s Hamlet and Lear (analysed in the context of the crisis in Russian intellectualism in the 19th/20th century) and Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and Ran (Lear). It wasn’t intended to be a comprehensive survey of the field, and I haven’t included any of the vast array of post-Ran films in the new edition. It was written as a set of case studies intended to establish a methodology. In the new version, I’ve made some minor corrections and tried to make it a bit of an easier read. It also has the advantage of being a lot cheaper in this edition :) I’d be very interested to hear what people think of it after all this time, and whether the approach still has merit. The book is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk -
Amazon.com : http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Cinema-and-Society-ebook/dp/B00CQSYNHA/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1375886727&sr=8-20&keywords=collick