The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1584 Tuesday, 14 September 1999.
Date: Monday, 13 Sep 1999 16:39:44 +0200
Subject: Conference Announcement
The Shakespeare Society of the Low Countries presents:
A one-day conference on
*SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE*
THE AUTHOR AS CHARACTER
organized by Ton Hoenselaars, Kristine Steenbergh, and Paul Franssen.
Utrecht, Saturday, 25 September
Kromme Nieuwegracht 80
This year's great Oscar winner was John Madden's Shakespeare in Love
with Joseph Fiennes as Shakespeare and Gwynneth Paltrow as his beloved
Viola. Few of those who have seen Shakespeare in Love will deny that it
presents a truly delightful picture of Shakespeare's early career,
although the film is by no means a historically reliable account of the
playwright's life and career in the 1590s. In fact, part of the film's
attraction is the creative interaction between the few facts we know
about Shakespeare's life and times on the one hand, and, on the other,
purely fictitious elements, mainly derived from the Shakespeare cult of
the past 300 years to which we have all contributed at one time or
The evocation of Shakespeare as a fictional character is not a recent
phenomenon. It may be traced to the seventeenth century. Since then
hundreds if not thousands of writers worldwide have created new,
imaginary characterizations of Shakespeare in plays, novels, poems,
paintings, and films. Of course, Shakespeare has not been the only
author to be elevated to this status. The phenomenon of the historical
author revived as a fictional character is at least 3,000 years old, and
it is truly international. Plato, Sappho, Virgil, Cervantes, Goethe,
Hemingway, and many others have all found a new lease of life as
characters on the pages of fictional writings. But no author has been
remade and restaged as often as Shakespeare.
The tremendous success of Shakespeare in Love, as well as the
publication earlier this year of The Author as Character, edited by Paul
Franssen and Ton Hoenselaars (Fairleigh Dickinson, ISBN 0-8386-3786-8),
together form an occasion to look again at the phenomenon of
fictionalized writers: at Shakespeare, of course, but also at others.
At this one-day symposium on *Shakespeare in Love& and the Author as
Character at Utrecht, Jean-Marie Maguin (author of William Shakespeare,
Fayard, 1997) discusses the challenge that Shakespeare in Love presents
to the Shakespeare biographer. Werner Habicht (author of *Shakespeare
and the German Imagination*, 1994) argues that a number of genres may be
distinguished in Shakespeare reincarnations, including the type that
focuses -like *Shakespeare in Love*- on the early years of the
playwright's career and his definitive breakthrough. Michael Dobson
(*The Making of the National Poet*, Oxford UP, 1992) sheds light on a
number of British traditions from a historical perspective. The
symposium should be of special interest not only to Shakespeareans, but
to all those interested in the fascinating intersection between
biography and fiction.
Admission is free.
10.00 Reception Kromme Nieuwegracht 80. Coffee and tea.
10.30 Paul Franssen (Utrecht University), "Appropriating Quills: Authors
as Characters in Western Literature"
11.30 Jean-Marie Maguin (Universit