Shakespeare and Bollywood Conference

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.089  Friday, 21 February 2014


From:        Koel Chatterjee <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 20, 2014 at 9:05:35 PM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare and Bollywood Conference


On 27 June 2014, Royal Holloway will host a one-day graduate conference on Shakespeare in Bollywood with the renowned critic Dr. Poonam Trivedi of Delhi University as keynote speaker. The day aims to bring together academics and practitioners in the field to gain a better understanding of the current state of research in this vibrant field. Organised by Koel Chatterjee and Preti Taneja in the English Department with the support of Dr Deana Rankin,Deputy Director of the MA in Shakespeare, with funding from the RHUL Research Fund and the English Department, this conference will, we hope, be the first of a series of events on Shakespeare and Indian Cinema culminating on a larger-scale conference and film festival in 2016.


Please find attached the CFP for the 2014 conference. 


The deadline for submissions of abstracts is 3rd March, 2014.



Koel Chatterjee

PhD Candidate

Royal Holloway, University of London 


Call for Papers

Shakespeare and Bollywood

27 June, 2014

Royal Holloway, University of London


Keynote Speaker: 

Dr. Poonam Trivedi, University of Delhi


Shakespeare has been a part of Bollywood since its inception – the Parsi Theatre tradition did much to shape the silent film era to the mid-1950s; vernacular translations resulting from the Bengal Renaissance influenced 1960s films first in Bengal and then in Bombay; and Hollywood remakes through the years have produced Bollywood remakes. This one-day conference seeks to gather graduate and early career researchers and practitioners together to discuss the relationship between Shakespeare and Hindi Cinema/Bollywood and to establish the state of current scholarship in the fascinating, under-examined field.


We invite proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspect of Shakespeare and Bollywood. Topics could include:

  • Prehistories
  • Commercial Hindi Shakespeare films
  • Economics – global and local
  • Gendering Shakespeare/ Gendering Bollywood
  • Hindi Art-House Shakespeare films
  • Shakespearean songs and Bollywood music
  • Shakespearean Actors and Film-makers
  • ‘Academic’ Shakespeare vs. ‘Popular’ Shakespeare
  • Translation theory and practice
  • Adaptation theory
  • Hybridity and (post)-colonial theories
  •  Art work and promotional material – posters, flybills, film trailers, coffee table books


Abstracts of 300 words (plus a 50 word bio) should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 3 March, 2014.


We will contact all those who send abstracts by 24 March, 2014.  


The conference fee is £25 (to include light refreshments).


This conference is planned as the first of a series of events culminating in an international conference and film festival on Shakespeare and Indian Cinema in 2016.


The organisers, Koel Chatterjee and Preti Taneja, wish to thank the Royal Holloway Research Fund and the English Department for funding the event. 


Charles Forker

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.082  Tuesday, 18 February 2014


From:        John Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 17, 2014 at 11:53:50 AM EST

Subject:    Charles Forker


I am sorry to inform the list that Shakespeare scholar Charles Forker died last Saturday in the intensive care unit at the Indiana University Cancer Center in Indianapolis, where he had been admitted two days before.


Charles taught for many years at Indiana University in Bloomington. He was a prolific scholar and a witty friend. 


John Cox

Hope College


NEH Seminar: Herbert and Dickinson

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.076  Wednesday, 12 February 2014


From:        Richard A. Strier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 11, 2014 at 7:49:43 PM EST

Subject:    NEH Seminar 


Dear SHAKSPER list,


Since folks are announcing NEH Seminars, let me announce to the list that I am offering an NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers on “GEORGE HERBERT AND EMILY DICKINSON” this summer at the University of Chicago. It will run from July 7 to August 8. Participants will receive a stipend of $3900. Housing on campus is available. Application deadline is March 4. For further details, please go to this website:


Richard Strier

Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus

Editor, Modern Philology

Department of English

University of Chicago

1115 E. 58th St.

Chicago, IL 60637 


NEH Seminar at Amherst Culture Application Deadline

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.073  Tuesday, 11 February 2014


From:        Megan Estes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 10, 2014 at 2:09:34 PM EST

Subject:    NEH Seminar at Amherst Culture Application Deadline




Amherst College will host a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for K-12 teachers and current full time graduate students who intend to pursue a career in K-12 teaching, from June 30-July 31, 2014.  The seminar will be directed by Austin Sarat of the Departments of Political Science and Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought. It will examine three questionsWhat is punishment and why do we punish as we do? What can we learn about politics, law, and culture in the United States from an examination of our practices of punishment? What are the appropriate limits of punishment? The application deadline is March 4, 2014.  Information is available at If you have any questions regarding the seminar or the application process, contact Megan Estes at (413)542-2380 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


*Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.*


Megan L. Estes Ryan

Academic Department Coordinator

Amherst College Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought

PO Box 5000, Clark House

Amherst, MA   01002

(413) 542-2380

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


"Tudor Books and Readers" 2014 NEH Summer Seminar

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.070  Monday, 10 February 2014


From:        Mark C Rankin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 9, 2014 at 9:37:55 AM EST

Subject:    "Tudor Books and Readers" 2014 NEH Summer Seminar


Dear colleagues,


The application deadline for the 2014 “Tudor Books and Readers” NEH summer seminar for college teachers approaches (March 4). Please do consider applying, and please also suggest the seminar to any others who might be interested. Full application details are available at the seminar’s website (see below). There is an online cover sheet which accompanies the application.


Thanks very much, 

Mark Rankin

Associate Professor of English

James Madison University

MSC 1801

Harrisonburg, VA 22807





John N. King of The Ohio State University and Mark Rankin of James Madison University will direct a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers on the construction and dissemination of books and the nature of reading during the era of the Tudor monarchs (1485-1603). In particular, they plan to pose the governing question of whether the advent of printing was a necessary precondition for the emergence of new reading practices associated with the Renaissance and Reformation. Participants will consider ways in which readers responded to elements such as book layout, typography, illustration, and paratext (e.g., prefaces, glosses, and commentaries). Employing key methods of the history of the book and the history of reading, our investigation will consider how the physical nature of books affected ways in which readers understood and assimilated their intellectual contents. This program is geared to meet the needs of teacher-scholars interested in the literary, political, or cultural history of the English Renaissance and/or Reformation, the history of the book, the history of reading, art history, women’s studies, religious studies, bibliography, print culture, library science (including rare book librarians), mass communication, literacy studies, and more.


This seminar will meet from 23 June until 26 July 2014. During the first week of this program, we shall visit 1) Antwerp, Belgium, in order to draw on resources including the Plantin-Moretus Museum (the world’s only surviving Renaissance printing and publishing house) and 2) London, England, in order to attend a rare-book workshop and consider treasures at Senate House Library of the University of London. During four ensuing weeks at Oxford, participants will reside at St. Edmund Hall as they make use of rare book and manuscript holdings of the Bodleian Library and other institutions.


Those eligible to apply include citizens of USA who are engaged in teaching at the college or university level, graduate students, and independent scholars who have received the terminal degree in their field (usually the Ph.D.). In addition, non-US citizens who have taught and lived in the USA for at least three years prior to March 2014 are eligible to apply. NEH will provide participants with a stipend of $3,900.


Full details and application information are available at For further information, please contact Mark Rankin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Applications must be postmarked by March 4, 2014.  


Ewan Fernie Inaugural Lecture

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.069  Thursday, 6 February 2014


From:        Julia Crockett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 5, 2014 at 4:34:09 PM EST

Subject:    Ewan Fernie Inaugural Lecture


University of Birmingham 27/01/2014 ‘Freetown! Shakespeare and Social Flourishing’:


Freetown! Shakespeare and Social Flourishing

Posted on Wednesday 29th January 2014

Professor Ewan Fernie delivered his inaugural lecture at the University of Birmingham on Monday 27 January 2014. A full video recording is available below.


Ewan Fernie’s inaugural took a fresh look at freedom in Shakespeare. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare slipped the idea of ‘Freetown’ into his great play about the struggle for free love. Prior to 1769’s first ever big Shakespeare celebration, David Garrick was made Freeman of Stratford. Viva la libertà!  James Boswell came to Garrick’s Jubilee in solidarity with the international liberation movement dressed in the costume of a Corsican chief. According to Hegel, Shakespeare’s characters are ‘free artificers of themselves’. But Tolstoy thought Shakespeare too free. And in our time the former Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, and the philosopher John Moriarty have presented Shakespeare as struggling to redeem the dark freedoms of a human creature whose hand is structurally homologous with the fin of a shark.


In his anniversary year of 2014 - with an even bigger one approaching - many will contend that Shakespeare is good for us.  Maybe, says Fernie, but in a way that really ought to shake us to the core.


British Council Lecture

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.068  Thursday, 6 February 2014


From:        Julia Crockett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 5, 2014 at 4:27:57 PM EST

Subject:    British Council Lecture 




Speaking the Bright and Beautiful English of Shakespeare 

Ben Crystal


Speaking the bright and beautiful English of Shakespeare 

Ben Crystal (London, UK) + LIVE VIA WEBCAST

English Language Council Lecture

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 from 18:30 to 20:30 (GMT)

London, United Kingdom


Wednesday 12 February 2014, 1830 - 2030

British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, London, SW1A 2BN



The English Language Council Lecture

Shakespeare and the English language

Presented by Ben Crystal


The English-Speaking Union and the British Council are partnering to present the third English Language Council Lecture, which celebrates Shakespeare and the English language. The lecture marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare in 2014.


The guardian of English poetry, the inventor of over 1,000 words still in use today, and one of the greatest players with our language, Shakespeare has given us a treasure trove of English to read - funny how so much of it doesn't make sense until it's spoken out-loud.


Actor and author Ben Crystal explores the accent, the theatrical conventions, and the world of Shakespeare, to reveal a bright and beautiful English.


What is this event, and how can I join?


This free event will be held at the British Council's headquarters near Trafalgar Square in Central London, and includes a canapé reception. The lecture will also be streamed live online and available to watch globally.


Who is Ben Crystal?


Ben Crystal is an actor, producer, and writer. He studied English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University before training at Drama Studio London. He has worked in TV, film and theatre, at the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe, London, and has been a narrator for RNIB Talking Books, Channel 4 and the BBC.

He co-wrote Shakespeare’s Words (Penguin 2002) and The Shakespeare Miscellany (Penguin 2005) with his father David Crystal, and his first solo book, Shakespeare on Toast – Getting a Taste for the Bard (Icon 2008) was shortlisted for the 2010 Educational Writer of the Year Award.


His productions of Simon Stephens’ One Minute in 2008 and Robin French’s Gilbert is Dead in 2009 were critically acclaimed.

In 2011, he played Hamlet in the first Original Pronunciation production of the play for 400 years with the Nevada Repertory Company.

In 2012 he was the curator for the first CD of extracts of Shakespeare recorded by professional actors in Original Pronunciation for the British Library, their best-selling CD to date, and his new series for Arden Shakespeare / Bloomsbury - Springboard Shakespeare was published in June 2013.


The event is free of charge. However, as places are limited, we advise booking early to avoid disappointment.


What was your first introduction to Britain's most famous playwright?

What is your favourite of Shakespearean words, puns, poems or quotes?


Join the conversation on Twitter #Shakespeare


BritGrad 2014

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.067  Thursday, 6 February 2014


From:        British Graduate Shakespeare Conference <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 5, 2014 at 10:44:08 AM EST

Subject:    BritGrad 2014


The registration for BritGrad 2014 is now live!


Call for Papers

Sixteenth Annual British Graduate Shakespeare Conference

5th – 7th June 2014

The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham


We invite Graduate students with interests in Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies to join us in June for the Sixteenth Annual British Graduate Shakespeare Conference.


This interdisciplinary conference, celebrating its sixteenth anniversary in 2014, provides a friendly and stimulating academic forum in which Graduate students from all over the world can present their research and meet together in an active centre of Shakespeare scholarship in Shakespeare’s home town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Undergraduate students in their final two years of study are also invited to attend the conference as auditors.


The conference will feature talks by David Crystal (University of Wales, Bangor), Ewan Fernie (Shakespeare Institute), Tony Howard (University of Warwick), Grace Ioppolo (University of Reading), and Simon Palfrey (University of Oxford), among other plenary speakers. A round table discussion about Shakespeare’s collaborative plays will be led by Peter Kirwan (University of Nottingham) and Will Sharpe (University of Birmingham).


Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend two RSC productions: Henry IV Part II, directed by Gregory Doran, and starring Antony Sher as Falstaff, and The Roaring Girl, part of the Roaring Girls season, both at a group-booking price. Lunch will be provided on each day, and we will be hosting a party and a reception for the delegates.


We invite abstracts of approximately 200 words for papers twenty minutes in length (3,000 words or less) on subjects relating to Shakespeare and/or Renaissance studies. Delegates wishing to give papers must register by Friday 25th April 2014; auditors by Friday 23rd May 2014. Due to the growing success of this annual conference, we strongly encourage early registration to ensure a place on the conference programme.


For more information on the conference and registration, visit:


Find us on Facebook and on Twitter, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Sixteenth British Graduate Shakespeare Conference

The Shakespeare Institute

Mason Croft, Church Street


CV37 6HP



BritGrad 2014 CFP:  pdf  Bitgrad_CFP


BritGrad 2014 Poster:  pdf  Britgrad_Poster

Shakespeare’s the Thing

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.062  Monday, 3 February 2014


From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Monday, February 3, 2014

Subject:    Shakespeare’s the Thing


[Editor’s Note: The following is taken from the Fogler Library Web Site. –Hardy]


“My idea was that it ought to be fun. It’s like opening up the Folger vault, all of the weird, funny, wonderful stuff as to how people related to Shakespeare. You can open it like opening a birthday present. What’s inside?” 


--Georgianna Ziegler, curator of Shakespeare’s the Thing, a new exhibition opening Jan. 28 at the Folger Shakespeare Library


Shakespeare’s the Thing

January 28 - June 15

Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm

Sunday, Noon to 5pm


Free admission

Georgianna Ziegler, curator


Kick off William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday year with this wide-ranging, often unexpected display drawn from our unequalled Shakespeare holdings.


From Russian and Czech translations to a musical score by Felix Mendelssohn, from centuries-old printed editions to Salvador Dali set designs, Shakespeare’s the Thing offers a wealth of responses to Shakespeare’s genius. Join us in exploring four frequent ways of encountering the Bard: fixating on Shakespeare, printing his works, performing his plays, and depicting the man and his characters, from Falstaff to Cleopatra.


Georgianna Ziegler is the Louis B. Thalheimer Head of Reference at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

After receiving a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania in early modern English and French literature, Georgianna taught at Davidson College and Wofford College in the Carolinas. She then returned to the University of Pennsylvania where she served as Curator of the Horace Howard Furness Shakespeare Library in the Rare Book Department, while also teaching classes in English literature and pursuing a library degree at Drexel University.

In 1992, Georgianna came to the Folger where, in addition to her reference and teaching work, she has curated several exhibitions, notably Shakespeare’s Unruly Women, Elizabeth I: Then and Now, and Shakespeare’s Sisters: Voices of English and European Women Writers, 1500-1700, as well as co-curating exhibitions on mapping, on Shakespeare in children’s literature, and on the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery.

Georgianna is an active member of the Renaissance Society of America and the Shakespeare Association of America where she served as president. She has published on Shakespeare’s heroines, on Elizabeth I and Elizabeth of Bohemia, and on the calligrapher Esther Inglis. She has recently finished a book manuscript, Domesticating the Bard: Women and Shakespeare 1790-1890.


“We wanted to do something special for 2014 to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday,” says Georgianna Ziegler, curator of Shakespeare’s the Thing and the Louis B. Thalheimer head of reference at the Folger Shakespeare Library. “My idea was that it ought to be fun. It’s like opening up the Folger vault, all of the weird, funny, wonderful stuff as to how people related to Shakespeare. You can open it like opening a birthday present. What’s inside?” The exhibition, she says, is also a look at “Shakespeare through things—the things that people have created about him and their ideas of him.”


Those things, of course, are wide-ranging. Among other examples, Ziegler points to the forger William Henry Ireland’s faked love letter from Shakespeare to Anne Hathaway, complete with a lock of real hair; a Shakespeare-themed Barbie; the Seven Ages of Man cards once given out by a soap company; early Shakespeare editions, beginning in 1709; and several translations, including Hamlet in Sanskrit and "beautifully illustrated" Shakespeare plays in Russian and Czech.


The iconic 1623 First Folio appears here, too, with a focus on the title-page portrait of Shakespeare. While the First Folio was being printed, the engraving was repeatedly adjusted, creating four distinct variations, or states. “In all the time I’ve been here,” says Ziegler, “we’ve never shown all four states before. We used two First Folios and two single leafs for the exhibition, all originals.”


To assemble and shape this diverse mix, Ziegler and exhibitions manager Caryn Lazzuri began with suggestions from the Folger staff. “It was crowd-sourced,” Ziegler says. “We asked what items they were fascinated by in the collection.” Replies came from the specialists who work with the collection every day, and from other staff members as well. Their proposed selections inspired the exhibition’s four themes: fixating on, printing, performing, and depicting Shakespeare. Each is identified with a banner in the exhibition hall. “You can do them in any order,” says Ziegler, “or wander at will.”


Where possible, Ziegler favored “things that were eye-catching,” she explains, including designs by Salvador Dali for As You Like It and works by Wyndham Lewis for Timon of Athens, a suggestion by Folger development director Essence Newhoff. “We paired that one with Frank Mowery’s book binding for the Folger 60th anniversary in 1992, which is also in a geometric, modernist style. They seemed to go together, and they look well.”


Folger Theatre artistic director Janet Griffin proposed “the Jean Hugo designs for a French production of Romeo and Juliet in the 1920s,” Ziegler says. “I had shown that book when Janet had visitors to the library.” In the exhibition audio tour, Griffin describes the stunning 1924 Paris production, “just eight years before the Folger opened,” in which costumes with “iridescent linear designs glowed under what I suspect was the equivalent of black light—quite a psychedelic experience.”


Ziegler also notes the special appeal of a copy of an 1886 Paris edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which watercolors cover the text. “It’s an amazing book; every page is painted. It’s really quite beautiful.” The artist Pinckney Marcius-Simons “was fascinated by Wagner’s idea of uniting music, literature, and the arts,” she explains, so he painted directly on the printed play. The art book has been fully digitized for the exhibition, so that visitors can explore the pages through an on-site display. “We wanted to look at the whole book. I think ‘luscious’ is the word for it,” Ziegler says. “It’s really a luscious book.”


Spring 2014 Hudson Strode Lectures at U. Alabama

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.060  Saturday, 1 February 2014


From:        Jennifer Drouin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 31, 2014 at 12:41:21 PM EST

Subject:    Spring 2014 Hudson Strode Lectures at U. Alabama


Hello all, and Happy New Year,


I hope this message finds you easing rather than bolting into the New Year!  A consummation devoutly . . .


At 5 pm, on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014, in 301 Morgan Hall on the University of Alabama campus, Professor Jason Powell, of Saint Joseph’s University, will present a lecture entitled, “Rediscovering Thomas Wyatt: the Perils and Problems of a New Scholarly Edition.”


We will also be live video-streaming this talk at 5 pm Central via this link:


Jason Powell is Assistant Professor of English and Co-Director of Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Studies at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. The first of two volumes in his edition of Thomas Wyatt’s complete works will be published by Oxford University Press in summer 2015. He is also contracted by Oxford to edit the poetry of Henry Howard, earl of Surrey. A recipient of one-year fellowships from the NEH and the Harrington Faculty Fellows Program at the University of Texas, he has recently co-edited Authority and Diplomacy from Dante to Shakespeare (Ashgate, 2013), with William T. Rossiter, and his essays have appeared in Huntington Library Quarterly, Sixteenth Century Journal, English Manuscript Studies and Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, among other venues. 


Coming up:


As part of the Hudson Strode Lecture Series in Theory and Criticism: On Thursday, February 13th, a lecture by Professor Kevin Gilmartin, of the California Institute of Technology, entitled, “William Hazlitt’s Dissenting Memory: Criticism, History, Revolution”


As part of a series of talks and readings by women who have written novels to rewrite Shakespeare: On Monday, February 17th, a lecture/reading by Professor Grace Tiffany, of  Western Michigan University, entitled,  “Shakespeare Adapted: A reading of Paint and The Turquoise Ring."


All lectures are free and open to the public.


For more information, please visit our homepage at or join our Facebook group for the latest live streaming links at .


Sharon O’Dair, Director

Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies

University of Alabama


Freedom, Freetown and Fernie’s Fiery Feast

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.059  Friday, 31 January 2014


From:        Jeannette Webber <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 30, 2014 at 9:14:38 AM EST

Subject:    Freedom, Freetown and Fernie’s Fiery Feast


[Editor’s Note: The following appeared in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Blogging Shakespeare site. The author is Annie Martirosyan, a SHAKSPER Member. –Hardy] 


You do not expect a critic of Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard and other geniuses of human depth and intellect to be as good as Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky or Kierkegaard. Fair enough. But not when the critic’s name is Ewan Fernie. I had never before heard the author of what I consider to be one of the most terrific books ever written, live. So his inaugural lecture entitled “Freetown! Shakespeare and Social Flourishing” at the Barber Institute of the University of Birmingham on 27 January was something to look forward to.


Fernie started his talk with a rhetorically powerful interpretation of the concept of Freetown in Romeo and Juliet. From a more immediate expression of Freetown in the “fair assembly” in Capulet’s household ball towards a broader prospect of freedom and liberty, Fernie invited us to ruminate about the double-edgedness of these concepts: how the universal as well as social understanding of freedom can stem from an individual’s excessive possession of it. Fernie implied that by amplifying the youthful love of Romeo and Juliet into an “oceanic feeling”, Shakespeare reveals, breaks through and redefines the boundaries of a single person’s human capacities as “a teenage girl’s amorous enthusiasm becomes universal”.


“Romeo and Juliet attain their tragedy”… “We pity them but they make it that far.”


Following up on the idea of an individual’s ability to embrace universal and social freedom, Fernie moved from Shakespeare’s characters to Shakespeare enthusiasts and ultimately to Shakespeare as a universal incentive for freedom and reform on individual, emotional, social, political, historical and cultural levels. Fernie expanded on the unprecedented effect that David Garrick’s initiation of the Stratford Jubilee had on our conception, perception and observation of Shakespeare as “Garrick took Shakespeare out of the institutions literally to the streets”. The phenomenon of global and local Shakespeares is not as new as we think: the binarity of Shakespeare’s Britishness and universality dates back to 1769… for as Garrick’s own song line goes:


“the lad of all lads was a Warwickshire lad”.


Fernie showed that Shakespeare’s influence on individual fighters for freedom has not always been necessarily straightforward or even exactly positive. From Boswell’s costume of a Corsican chief at the Stratford Jubilee to Booth’s almost aesthetic assassination of Lincoln from the stage, the infective mind of the Elizabeth playwright reached far and beyond to interfere with the American struggle for independence, Garibaldi’s (ad)ventures and Wilkes’ radical acts for liberty.


When formally introducing Ewan Fernie to the audience, Michael Dobson joked about Fernie “writing The Demonic and growing a beard to match”. The grain of truth in this humorous metaphorical parallel is in fact transparent. With looks that would make him an ideal cover photo for a Roman Gods’ magazine, Fernie’s protruding individuality and phenomenal intellectual depth threaten to smash our outworn stereotypes of a thinker, academic, writer, lecturer, orator and author and make him a new blueprint for a socially and academically productive intellectual. He sang, he shouted, he used rhetoric and put on accents – it was an inaugural lecture that forever set the spirits of at least one audience member on fire…!


If you could not get enough of Fernie or missed his inaugural lecture, you should be looking forward to his plenary talk “Lighten our Darkness” at British Graduate Shakespeare Conference 2014.


You can view the whole of Ewan’s inaugural lecture clicking here.


Author: Annie Martirosyan has recently completed her Ph.D. in Philology at Yerevan State Linguistic University after V. Brusov in Armenia and is currently doing M.A. in Shakespeare Studies at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. Annie has contributed to various linguistic/literary magazines and also writes at the Huffington Post UK. She credits Professor David Crystal as a life-long inspiration for all her linguistic, philological and Shakespearean interests. 


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