The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0354 Wednesday, 6 February 2002
Date: Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 08:51:03 -0500
Subject: CFP: Shakespeare in Popular Culture, 5/1 (journal)
A special issue of College Literature, examining Shakespeare's
relationship to contemporary North American culture
Heather: It's just like Hamlet said, "to thine own self be
Cher: No. Hamlet didn't say that.
Heather: I think that I remember Hamlet accurately.
Cher: Well, I remember Mel Gibson accurately and he didn't
say that--that Polonius guy did.
*Clueless* (Amy Heckerling, 1995)
The successful comic integration of Shakespeare's Hamlet with
Heckerling's popular teen comedy is an example of the familiar
relationship American culture has with the "shreds and patches" of this
complex tragedy, its strong identification with a collection of
cultural signifiers, often independent of any real understanding of the
play as a unified text. This conversation further demonstrates the
challenges of addressing a population that thinks they know Shakespeare,
from the intellectual Heather who makes authoritative pronouncements
based on misrememberings of classroom Shakespeare, to the more accurate
Cher whose knowledge is mediated through Mel Gibson and Franco
Zeffirelli. As Michael Bristol writes: " Shakespeare's name, together
with his image, has extraordinary currency at a time when the practice
of reading and careful study of his works appears to be in decline
(*Big-Time* 4)." For researchers and teachers, popular knowledge of
Shakespeare may be a double-edged sword--does this knowledge support the
canonical texts, does it represent a mangled Shakespeare, "bad
quartos" that must be controlled and discredited--or does Shakespop
represent new texts, a postmodern canon created collectively by American
This special issue of College Literature will examine and describe the
integration of North American culture, including but not limited to:
festivals, fiction, advertising, comic books, music, theatre, television
and film. Essays (8,000-10,000 words) should examine not only what
these appropriations and adaptations of Shakespeare say about the
influence of the Bard at the turn of the millennium, but also what these
appropriations say about North American popular culture. Essays are
also welcomed that examine the pedagogical issues of negotiating between
Shakespearean texts and popular interpretations. This special issue
will also consider notes (between 3,500 and 4,500 words) on individual
Shakepop texts and their relevance to teaching literature.
Please send submissions by May 1 to:
Elizabeth Abele; P.O. Box 60; Riverdale, MD 20738.
Papers submitted should use parenthetical or internal citations and a
works cited page following the conventions of The Chicago Manual of
Style, 14th ed. (see especially Ch. 16). Hard copies of essays should be
submitted in triplicate with a standard self-addressed envelope. Authors
names should appear on cover sheets only. We cannot be responsible for
returning manuscripts without return postage. Questions?
COLLEGE LITERATURE provides usable, readable, and timely material
designed to keep its readers abreast of new developments and shifts in
the theory and practice of literature by covering the full range of what
is presently being read and taught as well as what should be read and
taught in the university literature classroom. For more information,
check out COLLEGE LITERATURE on the web at www.collegeliterature.org.
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://www.shaksper.net>
DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.