SBReview_20: Antony Sher's Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.459  Friday, 9 October 2015


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

Date:         Friday, October 9, 2015

Subject:    SBReview_20: Antony Sher’s Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries




Sher, Antony. Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries. London: Nick Hern Books, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-18484-2461-6 189 pages.  £16.99


Reviewed by Kirk McElhearn


“Falstaff has never been a part I’ve remotely thought of as being mine,” says Sher on the first page of this new book explaining how he became Sir John. Nevertheless, he took on the role, to great acclaim, and wrote a book about the experience. 


He blames it all on Ian McKellan. Gregory Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Sher’s partner, had been trying to cast Falstaff for some time, considering actors such as Patrick Stewart, Jim Broadbent, and Brian Cox. When Doran asked McKellen, the latter replied, “But why are you looking for Falstaff when you are living with him?” 


After much thought and discussion, Sher finally acquiesced, and this book relates the process of his becoming Falstaff. Sher performed the role in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 at the RSC in Stratford-Upon-Avon, then in London. He is currently preparing to play the role again in London, in December 2015 and January 2016. 


Sher’s book is a diary, illustrated with a handful of his own sketches and paintings, in which he recounts the day-to-day process of becoming Falstaff. From the earliest casting choices through opening night, Sher gives a taste of what it’s like to be an actor in such a demanding role, and how he built up the part. The process was long and complex, even though Sher would have liked some more rehearsal time. He explains how he begins by learning lines, how the play is created in rehearsal, and how different actors use different techniques during the rehearsal process. For example, one actor tries different approaches each time they work on a scene; another always has his script in hand. 


Part of the process includes field trips – such as to the site of the battle of Shrewsbury – or visiting scholars, such as historian Ian Mortimer, who talks about the live of King Henry, or Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro, who examines the plays in the context of Shakespeare’s oeuvre. 


Sher says, in early January, “I’m still planning to play Falstaff as an alcoholic: I mean, explicitly. To do this, he not only researches alcoholism by reading books but also meets with a recovering alcoholic who explains what it’s like to need a drink first thing in the morning. As a result of this, Sher makes sure his hands tremble in the first moments he’s seen on stage as Prince Hal helps him take his first drink.


In between the first suggestion that he play Falstaff in February, 2013, and the play’s performances in the spring of the following year, Sher performed other plays, shot some scenes for The Hobbit in New Zealand (which were deleted from the final cut), and started thinking about playing Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, later that year, and King Lear, which he is to perform at the RSC in early 2016. 


The title of the book - The Year of the Fat Knight - highlights one of the more difficult aspects of the role. Falstaff is fat, florid, a bon vivant, prone to gluttony and bombast. A man of Sher’s physique needed some help to be able to exhibit these characteristics; help that came in the form of a “fat suit.” 


We take it for granted when we suspend disbelief for a couple of hours, we assume that the actor we see on the stage is the character, and often forget, in most cases, how much they need to alter their bodies. Sher goes into great detail about this transformation, not only with the suit, but also the wig and beard that he needed to make his face look fatter. It’s not easy performing with a fat suit, because of its weight, the difficulties one has in answering the calls of nature, and the amount of sweat generated. 


Sher’s book is interesting to the theater buff, but also to actors. He openly discusses his worries as he goes through the rehearsal process, thinking that only three months isn’t enough for the two plays. In late January, he wrote:


“I could do an impression of him - his voice, his character - but it was like an outline, a cartoon. I have to find the real man. It’s vital -otherwise the part can just consist of bluster.” 


I saw Henry IV Part 1 twice, and Part 2 three times. The first performance I attended of Part 1 on April 8, during the previews, was outstanding, and I was interested to read Sher’s comments on that specific evening in the book. He says:


“This evening’s audience - for Part I - was probably the best we’ve had: packed to the rafters and wild with enthusiasm. On occasions like this, I always say that the show flew, I flew - but tonight it was almost true. At one point I felt so exhilarated that I had a sort of out-of-body experience: it was as though I lifted out of myself, and saw the enormous theatre, filled with this joyful crowd, and there in the middle of it - there I was playing Falstaff. Now that wasn’t written into my destiny. And all the more fucking marvelous for it!”


Opening night, April 16, came, and Sher, like much of the cast, was stricken with a “terrible coughing illness which swept through the building.” Standing around Shakespeare’s grave in Trinity Church, in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the cast prepared to launch the play with the tension that is common on such evenings. It’s a tough day; the cast performs both of the plays to the press, and the anxiety one must have on such a day is doubled. Sher says, of Part 1, “after the interval, I start to get that press-performance feeling: just getting through it, no sense of enjoyment or inspiration.” And for Part 2, in the evening, the theater isn’t even full. “Then finally it’s over.” 


But Sher isn’t cynical for long. The context begins to take hold. A few days later, on April 23, Shakespeare’s 400th birthday, after a performance of Part 1, he writes: “How wonderful to be here, in this town, on this particular night. I have just played one of Drama’s classic roles in a production which Greg directed, in the theatre that he runs, and then we joined all those people to pay homage to the playwright who made it all possible, the local boy made good. It’s one of those moments when I realise I’ve been sleeping through my job, and then suddenly wake up, and see it for what it truly is, and it’s completely bloody amazing.” 


He concludes the book, saying “I have Falstaff inside me now - I can say it confidently at last - and that great, greedy, glorious bastard leaves no room for anything else at all.” 




SBReview_19: Women Writers of the Early Modern Period

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.458  Friday, 9 October 2015


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

Date:         Friday, October 9, 2015

Subject:    SBReview_19: Women Writers of the Early Modern Period




Bicks, Caroline and Jennifer Summit, eds. The History of British Women’s Writing 1500-1610. The History of British Women’s Writing, Volume 2. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0-230-21834-5; xxx + 346. US$30


Dowd, Michelle M. and Thomas Festa, eds. Early Modern Women on the Fall: An Anthology. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2012. ISBN-13 978-0-86698-458-4; 386.  US$60


Frye, Susan. Pens and Needles: Women’s Textualities in Early Modern England. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0-812-4238-6/ 978-0-8122-2252-4; xx + 302. US$65/27.50


Hodgson, Elizabeth. Grief and Women Writers in the English Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1-107-07998-4. 196.  US$90 


Knopopers, Laura Lunger, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Early Modern Women’s Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0-521-88527-0; xxvii + 306.  US$344.99


Reviewed by Annalisa Castaldo, Widener University


Scholarship on women writers of the early modern period continues to be a thriving and growing field. From collections of early modern texts to monographs on specific topics, new work is being published all the time. This review highlights the range of that scholarship over the last ten years. It does not aim for coverage; there have far too much published for that, but instead it aims to give a taste of the different ways scholars engage with women writers from the 16th and 17th centuries.


One major publishing trend has been collections about women writers designed to introduce teachers and students alike to the writers of the period. In the 1980s and 90s, these works tended to be straightforward collections of excerpts with brief headnotes about each writer: collections such as Moira Ferguson’s First Feminists: British Women Writers 1578-1799 (1985), Katharina Wilson’s Women Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation (1987) and James Fiztmaurice’s Major Women Writers of Seventeenth Century England (1997) fall into this category. A more recent example of this type of collection would be the 2004 Reading Early Modern Women, edited by Helen Ostovich and Elizabeth Sauer, which includes not only poetry and plays, but letters, legal documents, and medical manuals. Now, with the majority of these texts widely available in print and on line, publishers have shifted from simply providing editions of works by early modern women writers to collections that offer much needed context and background of these writers.


Cambridge and Palgrave have both come out with collections of essays about early modern women writing, and the differences are instructive. The Cambridge Companion to Early Modern Women’s Writing (2006) is specifically positioned as a teaching text, claiming to feature “the most frequently taught female writers and texts of the early modern period” (back cover). It does not focus on individual women but instead delivers a rich background on an array of genres as well on sites of productions, in six essays which discuss how women functioned as writers in a variety of spaces from the feminine (the household) to the masculine (the courts). Four other essays provide important information on reading, writing, manuscripts, and publishing. The editors, in taking this approach, join scholars who have “challenged or refined the essentialist assumptions . . . that took a largely biographical approach to women’s writing” (6). They seek to provide context for the women writers that students will read and scholars will study, and they even call into question the very idea that early modern women writers viewed themselves as women first: “Is the category of women’s writing a historical one?” (8)


Published just four years but a sea change later, The History of Women’s Writing 1500-1610 (2010) does not bother with the hand wringing evident in the Cambridge companion. Rather than consider whether or not “woman writer” is even a valid category, the series preface (of which 1500-1610 is volume 2) states, “As the research on women’s writing has moved from the margins to the confident centre of literary studies . . . no published series has taken on the mapping of the field.” This collection offers to do just that: “its ambition is to provide . . . a clear and integrated picture of women’s contribution to the world of letters within Great Britain from medieval times to the present” (viii-ix). The introduction to volume two picks up this claim “we propose a new approach to women’s literary history” (1).


For all of the boldness of this claim, the two volumes are actually rather similar. Both contain a chronology that lists major historical events matched with works by major women writers. Both have essays on reading and print culture; both recognize the value of looking at spaces. The difference lies in the way the editors of Plagrave’s The History of Women’s Writing confidently assume that women writers will be a central focus of study; none of the essays even considers that special pleading or arguments about relevance are even necessary.


One aspect of this explosion of research into women writers is works devoted not to an overview but to a specific topic-based slice. It is wonderful to see scholars engaging with women writers in a specific ways instead of lumping, together all women who put pen to paper in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. One of the most interesting of these collections is Early Modern Women on the Fall (2012), edited by Michelle M. Dowd and Thomas Festa. Dowd and Festa have collected a wide range of female voices, from Aemilia Lanyer in 1611 to Mary Chudleigh in 1701, all engaging with the religious question of what the Fall, and Eve’s part in it, means for women.  The book has informative footnotes and a valuable introduction, but considering it is positioned as a teaching text, the lack of headnotes situating each author historically and culturally is baffling. A less successful work is Elizabeth Hodgson’s Grief and Women Writers in the English Renaissance (2015). The problem is not with the research or the individual readings—Hodgson offers nuanced and interesting readings of works by Mary Sidney Herbert, Mary Wroth, Aemilia Lanyer, and Katherine Philips. But it is not until the postlude that Hodgson makes any specific argument for focusing on women writers. In the introduction, she states she will “examine four particular sites of this complex connection between the dead and the living who mourn them” (2). A fascinating idea, but a book titled Grief and Women Writers by its very nature suggests that there is something about the way women mourn that is different and worth paying attention to, a claim that is not convincingly explored.


In addition to collections of early modern writers, of course, scholars have continued to investigate the work from a variety of angles, analyzing rather than just presenting the primary materials. There are many more works than this review can hope to cover, so I will mention two that I feel deserve special attention. The first is Susan Frye’s Pens and Needles (2010). In this truly original piece of scholarship, Frye redefines what it means to be an author by considering the needlework women produced in this period as text and by demonstrating intertextual connections between written works and needlework creations such as samplers. 


Finally, a work that will appeal especially to those of us who are interested in early modern drama is Alison Findlay’s Playing Spaces in Early Women’s Drama (2006). The first task Findlay must undertake is demonstrating that women did create drama in any sustained way before the 17th century, which in itself might require a book length study. Even early modern scholars might not be faulted for thinking that very few women wrote and no women performed in plays before the Restoration. Findlay presents credible and engaging evidence that this is not true if we take as playing spaces the courts, gardens, and homes as well as the actual theaters. She then argues that fully understanding the importance of place allows us to understand how women participated much more fully in the dramatic tradition than has been understood.


These are only a few of the works published in the last ten years which tackle the topic of women writers in the early modern period. There are sure to be many more to come, with both pedagogical and theoretical approaches. The work of these and other scholars makes it possible for those who do not specialize in women’s writing to bring women into their work and their classrooms and for that we should all be grateful.




Play of Poore - Lost Plays Database

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.450  Thursday, 68 October 2015


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

Date:         October 7, 2015 at 11:37:25 AM EDT

Subject:    Play of Poore - Lost Plays Database



Play of Poore

Anon. (1616?)


The Part of Poore (Houghton Library, MS Thr 10.1)The actor’s part for the role of Poore, the main character of a lost play known to scholars as the “Play of Poore,” survives in Houghton Library, MS Thr 10.1. The manuscript contains actors’ parts from four different plays, all of which were performed at Christ Church, Oxford, in the first quarter of the seventeenth century. The part of Poore (ff. 21–46v) contains 1580 lines, including Poore’s speeches, brief cue lines spoken by other characters, minimal stage directions, and occasional act and scene designations. Also in the manuscript are parts for Antoninus (ff. 8v-19v) from the anonymous Antoninus Bassianus Caracalla (a play mostly preserved in Bodleian MS Rawlinson C.590); Polypragmaticus (ff. 48-56) from Robert Burton’s Philosophaster (preserved in an autograph manuscript, Houghton Library, MS Thr 10, and a copy, Folger MS V.a.315); and Amurath (ff. 57-71) from Thomas Goffe’s The Couragious Turke (published 1632). 


[ . . . ]




BSA Membership for 2015-16 and Upcoming Events

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.439  Monday, 5 October 2015


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

Date:         October 5, 2015 at 11:50:47 AM EDT

Subject:    BSA Membership for 2015-16 and Upcoming Events


Dear supporters of the British Shakespeare Association, 


We hope this email finds you well.


The 2015/16 year promises to be one of the busiest in the BSA’s history, with a broad range of events and initiatives taking place. As well as continuing to expand our Education Network and honouring new fellows of the BSA, this year will also culminate in the 2016 conference in Hull. 


We are now inviting renewal of memberships for the 2015/16 year. To renew your membership please visit http ://www . britishshakespeare . ws/members/join-the-bsa-or-renew-membership/ . Membership dues remain fixed at £25 (£15 concessions) with a further £15 to subscribe to the journal at an enormously discounted rate, including online access. Please be aware that login codes will be changing shortly for access to back issues of the journal – you must be in good standing to retain access. If you cannot remember your membership number, please contact the membership officer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a reminder. 


To attend the 2016 conference in Hull, members must be in good standing for the 2015/16 membership year, valid this year until September 2016. For information about the conference, please visit http ://www2 . hull . ac . uk/fass/bsa2016 . aspx . This major conference, which brings together practitioners, teachers and scholars, will be part of the run-up to Hull’s year as UK City of Culture in 2017, as well as celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. 


Membership continues to confer further benefits, including attendance at the Annual General Meeting, which will be held this year on November 7th 2015 at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon at 2pm. All members are invited to attend and contribute to discussion of the BSA’s objectives in the coming year. 


This year, the AGM will be followed by a special event at 3pm awarding Honorary Fellowships to Christopher Grace MBE, the creator of the Animated Shakespeare series and founder of Shakespeare Schools Festival, and Dame Janet Suzman, the performer, director and writer. This event will include a half hour interview with Dame Janet Suzman and an illustrated talk by Christopher Grace, and will be followed by a reception with pay bar. The event is free to current members (£5 for non-members). More details are available at http ://www . britishshakespeare . ws/agm-and-bsa-awards-ceremony/


We will shortly also be announcing a new competition celebrating the release of the Shakespeare documentary/travelogue MUSE OF FIRE. Giles Terera and Dan Poole embark on a global mission to find out what excites people about Shakespeare, meeting a range of Shakespeare luminaries along the way. Illuminations is offering a special edition slipcase of the DVD signed by participants Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench, with runner-up prizes of selections of Nick Hern Books and Illuminations DVDs. The competition will be open to all current members – please check your email for further details later this week.


We look forward to an exciting membership year and to continuing to work with our members on new initiatives. We hope to see as many as possible of you at the AGM, and in the meantime please do not hesitate to get in touch with any queries regarding membership. 


The British Shakespeare Association




CFP: South-Central Renaissance Society’s “Exploring the Renaissance 2016: An International Conference”

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.435  Saturday, 3 October 2015


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

Date:         September 29, 2015 at 2:05:07 PM EDT

Subject:    Call for Papers: South-Central Renaissance Society’s “Exploring the Renaissance 2016: An International Conference” 


Exploring the Renaissance 2016:

An International Conference


We welcome you to the 65th meeting of the

South Central Renaissance Conference

March 24-26, 2016 / St. Louis, Missouri / Parkway Hotel


Conference website: 2016conference.shtml


Local Arrangements: Tim Moylan

St. Louis College of Pharmacy


Program Chair: Christopher Baker

Armstrong State University 


William B. Hunter Lecturer

Robert C. Evans

Auburn University at Montgomery


Louis L. Martz Lecturer

Carlo M. Bajetta

Universita della Valle d’Aosta, Italy


Keynote Lecturer

Sara van den Berg

St. Louis University


Sponsored by:

The South Central Renaissance Conference

The Queen Elizabeth I Society

The Marvell Society

The Society for Renaissance Art History


Papers (15-20 minutes in length) are invited on any aspect of Renaissance studies (history, art history, literature, music, philosophy, science, theology). Abstracts only (400-500 words; a shorter 100-word abstract for inclusion in the program) must be submitted via email attachment no later than December 15, 2015 to Program Chair Christopher Baker (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Possible topics might include:

  • The intersection of art and science in the Renaissance
  • European influences in music and the arts
  • Painting of the Northern Renaissance 
  • Shakespeare and the classics
  • Women writers of the Renaissance
  • Literature and the Renaissance religious context

Sessions: sessions should be proposed no later than November 1, 2015 and e-mailed to the Program Chair (link given in contact info above). Abstracts of papers for approved sessions should be emailed to Baker, also.


Further 2016 Conference information will be available soon on the SCRC Website.


Program participants are required to join SCRC and are encouraged to submit publication-length versions of their papers to the SCRC journal, Explorations in Renaissance Culture. Shorter papers (up to 3,000 words) are invited for submission to the SCRC newsletter, Discoveries (updated website available soon).


A limited number of graduate travel fellowships are available; graduate students presenting a paper at the conference may apply to the program chair for travel assistance (maximum $300). Complete essays must be submitted electronically by February 1 to be eligible for consideration. Email abstracts to Christopher Baker (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Joan Faust

SCRC Executive Secretary-Treasurer


Department of English

Southeastern Louisiana University




SHAKSPER News: Facebook Subscribers

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.434  Saturday, 3 October 2015


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

Date:         Saturday, October 3, 2015

Subject:    SHAKSPER News: Facebook Subscribers


Dear Subscribers,


Please accept my apologies for the unexpected delay in my getting to submissions. It has been one of those weeks and more.


Some good news about SHAKSPER: Sometime ago, we set up a SHAKSPER Facebook page. I post the Table of Contents from all SHAKSPER Newsletters with clickable links to the articles there, along with occasional news stories and comics.


Currently, we have 515 Facebook subscribers in addition to the over a thousand subscribers who receive e-mail Newsletters. Many of the new Facebook subscribers are from places in the world that have recently gotten Internet access and I welcome them to our community.


Hardy M. Cook


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





CFP Ohio State, Shakespeare’s Day: Popular Culture 1616/2016

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.431  Monday, 28 September 2015


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

Date:         September 25, 2015 at 12:15:03 PM EDT

Subject:    CFP Ohio State, Shakespeare’s Day: Popular Culture 1616/2016


Colleagues in the Ohio area might be especially interested in the following CFP:


Shakespeare’s Day: Popular Culture 1616/2016


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


The submission deadline for abstracts and panel proposals is October 15, 2015. Submissions after that date will be happily received, but cannot be guaranteed full consideration. Abstracts may be submitted via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


On February 19-20, 2016, the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies will host its third annual celebration of popular culture and the deep past at the Ohio State University, with ‘Shakespeare’s Day: Popular Culture 1616 / 2016,’ an exploration of popular identities past and present with special attention to the world of Shakespeare's time.  As in past years, this event will feature a scholarly conference (featuring papers, round tables, and other academic events) nested inside of a Renaissance-faire-like carnival (featuring exhibits, gaming, contests, and activities of all kinds).


We invite proposals for papers, sessions, workshops, readings, re-enactments, and other presentations or activities, academic or non-academic.  Individual proposals do not have to address both 17th- and 21st-century issues, but we shall seek some balance of the two in the overall planning.  Proposals directly involving Shakespeare and his English environment are encouraged, but we also invite presentations on the broader world of his time and ours, ranging from Cervantes to commedia dell'arte, colonial life, and beyond.  Proposals should evoke or thematize the 'popular' in some way, with regard to literature and the arts, sports and gaming, food and drink, artisans and consumers, material, intellectual, and religious culture, or other dimensions of everyday life.  Please consult our website for further details (


Hannibal Hamlin

Professor of English

The Ohio State University




1616 Symposium (Rhodes College, April 21-22, 2016)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.427  Thursday, 24 September 2015


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

Date:         September 23, 2015 at 2:59:43 PM EDT

Subject:    1616 Symposium (Rhodes College, April 21-22, 2016)


Rhodes College, through the bequest of Dr. Iris Annette Pearce, observes the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death with three separate events, considering Shakespeare from the stage, from the screen, and from the intellectual history of the liberal arts.



• From September 28–October 23, acclaimed British actor and director Nick Hutchison will be in residence, visiting dozens of classes as well as working closely with students in rehearsal. His visit will culminate in a free public Symposium on Shakespearean Comedy (Friday, October 23, 2-5pm, McCoy Studio), co-sponsored by the Departments of English and Theatre:


In addition to Hutchison’s presentation of student scenes, Dr. Fiona Ritchie (McGill) will discuss “Gender, Shakespeare, and Emotion on the Eighteenth-Century Stage.” Her visit is co-sponsored by our Gender & Sexuality Studies program.



• On November 8, 2015 (1:00pm, Studio on the Square), the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment partners with the Indie Memphis Film Festival for a screening of Orson Welles’ classic “Chimes at Midnight” (a.k.a. “Falstaff”), celebrating the 50th anniversary of its 1965 release, as well as the 100th anniversary of Welles’ 1915 birth. The screening will be preceded by arias from Falstaff operas, and followed by a discussion with Welles scholars. Film Studies and CODA are co-sponsoring this event.



• On April 21–22, 2016 (Blount Auditorium), we will conclude the academic year with another free public symposium:


The 1616 Symposium will involve a keynote address (Thomas Christensen, author of 1616: The World in Motion), the regional premiere of a show based on the last days of Shakespeare′s life (by UK artist Gareth Somers), and lectures by scholars ranging across the liberal arts: 


Mark Algee-Hewitt (Stanford) on print culture c. 1616

Owen Gingerich (Harvard) on Galileo

Roland Greene (Stanford) on Cervantes

Heather Miyano Kopelson (Alabama) on the origins of slavery in the Bermudas

Michael Legaspi (Penn State) on the genesis of biblical hermeneutics

Gideon Manning (USC) on early modern medicine

William Newman (Indiana), on alchemy and chymistry

Catherine Swatek (UBC), on Tang Xianzu and Kun opera

Henry Turner (Rutgers) on the early modern corporation

Selected lectures will be published in The Hare, an online journal of Renaissance studies.
As part of the symposium, Barret Library will display 1616-related items from our special collections. At the University of Mississippi, a copy of Shakespeare′s First Folio will be on display from April 11–May 1, 2016.

The 1616 symposium is co-sponsored by Asian Studies, Barret Library, Biology, Chemistry, English, History, International Studies, Latin American Studies, Modern Languages & Literatures, Physics, Political Economy, Psychology, Religious Studies, and Theatre, as well as the Associated Colleges of the South, Communities in Conversation, and the Confucius Institute.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Yours sincerely,

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

Department of English

Rhodes College



Thanks to the generosity of the late Dr. Iris Annette Pearce, Rhodes College enjoys an unusually wide range of Shakespeare-related resources. The Pearce Shakespeare Endowment was established in 2007 to enrich courses in Shakespeare and support events for the entire campus as well as the greater Memphis community. Dr. Pearceattended Rhodes College in the 1940s, when it was named Southwestern at Memphis, before graduating from Vanderbilt University. During World War II, she joined the women’s corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve (WAVES). As a medical student, she followed a long-established path in her family, where four generations of physicians preceded her. Yet she was also breaking new ground as a woman: she was one of only two female students in her University of Tennessee class; she served as the first female internal medicine resident at John Gaston Hospital (The Med); and she eventually became the director of the City of Memphis Hospitals while serving as a professor at the University of Tennessee. Her bequest generously continues to support her lifelong enthusiasm for Shakespeare. The late professor of Shakespeare studies at Rhodes, Dr. Cynthia Marshall, was instrumental in establishing preliminary planning for this bequest.




UG and PG Students Vox Pop

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.420  Tuesday, 22 September 2015


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

Date:         September 22, 2015 at 12:36:15 PM EDT

Subject:    UG and PG Students Vox Pop


I’m trying to circulate, as widely as possible, this opportunity for UG and PG students to contribute to a vox pop on their experiences of studying Shakespeare for the British Shakespeare Association’s Teaching Shakespeare magazine (


Students don’t need to be in any particular discipline. However, they should have completed some school or university in a South East Asian country where English is not the main language of instruction. In return for completing the vox pop, students have the option to receive feedback from a native English speaker & university lecturer on the written English used in their answers.


I would be extremely grateful if you could pass this on through Shaksper, and if readers could pass it, in turn, to their students. Non-student Shaksper readers - who have completed some school or university in a South East Asian country where English is not the main language of instruction - are also very welcome to complete the vox pop, to broaden the feature's focus.


Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or for further information.


Many thanks and best wishes,

Sarah Olive,

Editor, Teaching Shakespeare 

Lecturer in English in Education

University of York




Student Questionnaire:  pdf SE Asia vox pop (528 KB)





Elsinore Conference 2016 - Shakespeare ­ The Next 400 Years


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.419  Tuesday, 22 September 2015


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

Date:         September 17, 2015 at 1:23:00 PM EDT

Subject:    Elsinore Conference 2016 - Shakespeare ­ The Next 400 Years


Elsinore Conference 2016

Shakespeare – The Next 400 Years

22-24 April, 2016

Kronborg Castle, Helsingør, Denmark


During his lifetime William Shakespeare was already being hailed as the greatest writer of his day, and the intervening 400 years have only increased his reputation. No other literary figure has affected world culture so profoundly, or has had such a widespread influence on other thinkers and artists. William Shakespeare is the most universally recognised, culturally iconic figure in the world. But why?


For three days in April 2016, on the 400th anniversary of his death, actors and academics, scholars and writers, historians, comic artists, game designers and film makers will be coming together from all over the world, meeting at Elsinore – ‘Hamlet’s castle’ – to discuss and debate the legacy, and the future, of Shakespeare’s work.


This conference/festival will explore two great questions: why, after 400 years, do we continue to read, study, perform, and enjoy the work of this playwright and poet, and how, in the next 400 years, will we continue to do so? Will we present Shakespeare in new ways? Will we use new technologies? New media? Will Shakespeare become a basis for further new works which use him as a launch pad, or even as raw material, or will we go back to the simplicity of his words themselves?


This historic conference truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, offering a chance to be part of a worldwide commemoration of the death of the writer who, ironically, more than any other, deserves the title of immortal. Participants and contributors from every corner of the globe have already signed up.



Confirmed keynote speakers include:

Professor Richard Burt (USA)

Professor Burt is Professor of Loser Theory at the University of Florida. He is the author of countless articles and book chapters, and the author of Unspeakable ShaxXxpeares: Queer Theory and American Kiddie Culture, Medieval and Early Modern Film and Media and Licensed By Authority: Ben Jonson and the Discourses of Censorship, the co-author (with Julian Yates) of What's the Worst Thing You can Do To Shakespeare, and the editor or co-editor of Shakespeares After Shakespeare, Shakespeare After Mass Media, two volumes of Shakespeare the Movie and Enclosure Acts: Sexuality, Property and Culture in Early Modern England.


Professor Judith Buchanan (UK)

Professor Buchanan is an academic and film maker, and Director of the Humanities Research Centre at the University of York. She is the author of Shakespeare on Film and the definitive Shakespeare on Silent Film: An Excellent Dumb Discourse as well as many articles and book chapters, and is the editor of The Writer on Film: Screening Literary Authorship. She is the screenwriter of a film version of Macbeth shot in the North of England.


Professor Alexa Huang (Taiwan)

Professor Huang is the founding co-director of the Digital Humanities Institute at George Washington University, where she is Professor of English, Theatre and Dance, East Asian Languages and Literatures and International Affairs. Co-founder of MIT's Global Shakespeare’s performance archive, Professor Huang is a prolific author and editor, with Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange, Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation, Shakespeare in Hollywood, Asia and Cyberspace, and Class, Boundary and Social Discourse in the Renaissance among others. She is co-general editor of the Shakespeare International Yearbook, performance editor of the Internet Shakespeare Editions and edits the Palgrave-Macmillan series on Global Shakespeares.


Professor Mahmood Karimi-Hakak (Iran)

An experienced director in both film and theatre, Professor Karimi-Hakak has directed productions both in Iran and America, where he is now Professor of Creative Arts at Siena College in New York State. He has authored seven plays, two volumes of poetry and many translations into Persian or from Persian into English. He has battled censorship over his Shakespeare productions in Iran, and won awards for his performances in Iran, Europe and America. He is currently director of Festival Cinema Invisible.


Panel topics

Panels/seminars include:

  • Global Shakespeare
  • Shakespearean Rediscoveries
  • Shakespeare, Saxo and Elsinore
  • Shakespeare in Translation
  • Shakespeare and the Internet
  • Shakespeare in Manga, Comics and Graphic Novels
  • Shakespeare in Animation and Game Design
  • Shakespeare and Technology
  • Shakespeare Director’s Forum
  • Twenty Minute Shakespeares
  • Shakespeare in the World’s Classrooms

In addition there will be two seminars aimed specifically at postgraduate students:

  • Shakespeare and Gender
  • Shakespeare’s Villains



Invitation to Apply for Chair, Dept. of English, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.418  Tuesday, 22 September 2015


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

Date:        September 18, 2015 at 1:53:32 AM EDT

Subject:    Invitation to Apply for Chair, Dept. of English, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Dear Fellow SHAKSPER Members, 


The University of Nevada, Las Vegas invites applications for a Chair of English at the rank of Full Professor with tenure (literary studies, field open) beginning July 2016.  Candidates should have a distinguished record of publication, teaching, and service.  We strongly prefer candidates with significant administrative experience as chair or its equivalent.  The position is full-time, twelve-month, with a 1/1 teaching load, and the salary is competitive.


The Chair will provide dynamic leadership by promoting professional excellence, maintaining high standards of instruction, and supporting curricular innovation. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to diversity, fairness, and inclusiveness; will foster collaboration and open communication; and will provide a breadth of leadership and vision for the department. The English department hosts 25 full-time faculty, and grants the BA with concentrations in literature, professional writing, and creative writing; the MA and PhD in literature as well as the MFA in creative writing; and through its affiliation with the Black Mountain Institute, the PhD with a creative dissertation. 


Candidates are asked to provide a cover letter, CV, and at least three letters of reference from colleagues who may be contacted by telephone.  Although this position will remain open until filled, review of candidates' materials will begin on November 16, 2015, and best consideration will be gained for materials submitted prior to that date.  Materials should be addressed to Prof. Timothy Erwin, Search Committee Chair, and are to be submitted via on-line application at  For assistance with UNLV's on-line applicant portal, contact UNLV Employment Services at (702) 895-3504 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. UNLV is an equal opportunity employer committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty and strongly welcomes applications from women and members of minority groups. To view a more complete description and to apply, see


All the best,

Evelyn Gajowski

Professor of English

University of Nevada, Las Vegas





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