Shakespearean Appropriations


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.020  Monday, 23 January 2012


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

Date:         January 21, 2012 11:50:19 AM EST

Subject:     SHAKSPER Discussion


As I looked at Hardy’s list of “wow” moments, what struck me is that we also have in the community of Shakespeare lovers a dichotomy between those who love the appropriation of Shakespeare’s characters and even words into settings and concepts foreign to the original (I’m not talking Shakespeare in language translation here) and those who find it annoying or deeply distressing or even sacrilegious.


Case in point: I truly loathed "Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet", in part because Luhrmann called it William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, which to my mind it most definitely was not, and in part because I found certain changes distortions beyond acceptability.


Yet I’ve seen excerpts of a Taming of the Shrew done in the Chicago area by director/choreographer David Bell set in the US gangster '30’s which seemed to me spot on and screamingly funny.


I’ve seen the same actor as Mercutio twice in the span of a couple of years, loathed him in the first production (jammed into Victorian England by the old Stratford CT theatre) and loved him in the second, indeterminate-setting production at Circle in the Square, NYC.  (Granted, that could easily have been directorial conceits.)


Taymor’s Titus blew me away . . . but then I don’t know the text of Shakespeare’s Titus well, as I do many of the other plays.  Is it a matter of beloved texts not honoring our own conception of them?

I’ve seen so many Hamlets, set in so many places, but the ones I liked least were the ones that put the issues of the play into some other, non-antique-Denmark/England political/social setting where to me they just no longer rang true.


I lean toward “I don’t like resetting and reconfiguring Shakespeare,” but perhaps its partly “I don't like doing so and calling it Shakespeare’s own work”?

 If you do not feel this is too trivial a topic, or too likely to descend into heat instead of light (I recall the fuming over a former list-member’s repeated contributions of pornographic “Shakespeare”!), perhaps we can have a lively discussion on this topic?


Name the version and defend/attack it based on texts?


Mari Bonomi

Hoping to get to Staunton VA this spring, at last . . .


CFP: ESSE Seminar: Shakespeare and Renaissance Period



The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.019  Monday, 23 January 2012


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

Date:         January 21, 2012 12:20:40 PM EST

Subject:     CFP: ESSE Seminar: Shakespeare and Renaissance Period


Prof. John Drakakis and Dr. Sidia Fiorato will host a seminar on the performances of the Body in the Renaissance Period during the next ESSE conference at Bogazici University, Instanbul, Turkey, from 4 to 8 September 2012.


Here is a brief description of the seminar


S3) Performances of The Body In The Renaissance Period


The seminar intends to analyze the concept of the "body" in the Renaissance period and its subsequent re-articulations and re-interpretations. Modernity considers the body as a place of regulation, shaped by social and political ideologies and specific networks of power; it is strictly connected with the representation of individual identity and the shaping of the juridical persona. Literature and the performing arts (through a language that is written on the body and with the body), can absorb and retain the effects of political power as well as resist the very effects they appear to incorporate in structures of parody, irony, and pastiche.


Please send your proposals for the seminar with a 200-word-abstract by January 31, 2012 to


Prof. John Drakakis (University of Stirling, UK)

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Dr. Sidia Fiorato (University of Verona, IT)

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This is the link to the conference:<http://www.e>

SHAKSPER Discussion


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.018  Saturday, 21 January 2012


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

Date:          21 January 2012

Subject:     SHAKSPER Discussion


Dear SHAKSPEReans,


As I was repairing digests in the Archive that were truncated during the transfer from the old site to the new, I was reminded that in the past SHAKSPER was a site of vigorous debate. In 2002, a decade ago, there were almost 2,500 yearly digests. Granted, at the time, frivolous discussions were in evidence, but I am afraid that in my quest to return SHAKSPER to its academic roots that some of the liveliness of the conference has become my victim. True, SHAKSPER has a number of new scholarly features—the Roundtables, the SBReviews (that’s SHAKSPER Book Reviews), and many additions to the Scholarly Resources section of the web site (—but a dearth of engaging exchanges is apparent of late. 


So let me attempt to prime the pump. 


I vividly recall the 1997 Washington, DC, Shakespeare Theater “photo-negative” casting production of Othello with Patrick Stewart, when the Duke played by Craig Wallace delivered the “I think this tale would win my daughter, too” line with a venom I had not previously thought possible. Before this production, I had considered the Duke one of the only characters in the play who appeared to be without racial hatred. Or my excitement when in 1999 I saw the opening 30 seconds of Julie Taymor’s Titus and knew immediately I was viewing one of the best Shakespeare films I had ever seen.


Have there been any performances on the stage (perhaps the Old Vic-BAM Richard III directed by Sam Mendes with Kevin Spacey, or film (The Tempest with Helen Mirren directed by Julie Taymor) that have suggested possibilities you had not previously considered? 


Have you recently, or not so recently, read a book or article that you found particularly thought-provoking? 


With some trepidation, I ask what effect would PIPA/SOPA have on academic Internet discussions like those on SHAKSPER?


I will stop my questions for now, but be aware that others will undoubtedly follow.


My best to all subscribers of the past 23 years who have made this electronic conference what it is.


Hardy M. Cook



ASC: Announcing our 2012-2013 Artistic Year


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.017  Saturday, 21 January 2012

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

Date:         Wednesday, 18 Jan 2012 13:20:10 -0500 (EST)

Subject:     ASC: Announcing our 2012-2013 Artistic Year


American Shakespeare Center 

Announcing the 2012/13 Artistic Year Line-up


View it in your browser.


The sixteen plays in rotating repertory feature nine plays by William Shakespeare:


  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Cymbeline
  • King John *
  • Julius Caesar
  • Henry VIII *
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen *
  • Twelfth Night
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost


ASC highlights Shakespeare's contemporaries in The Custom of the Country,* by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger, and The Duchess of Malfi, by John Webster.  You can also see The Country Wife,* a Restoration romp by William Wycherley, and The Lion in Winter,* a modern masterpiece by James Goldman that prefaces the action of King John.


The American Shakespeare Center announces the line-up for its 2012-2013 Artistic Year, which will include 16 productions presented over 52 weeks in 5 separate repertory seasons, offering the largest number of plays per year by Shakespeare and Early Modern playwrights of any theatre in the world.

The lineup features nine plays by William Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice; The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Cymbeline; King John; Julius Caesar; Henry VIII; The Two Noble Kinsmen; Twelfth Night; and Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Also included are two plays by contemporaries of Shakespeare: The Custom of the Country, by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger, and The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster; one Restoration comedy, The Country Wife by William Wycherly; and a well-known modern offering, The Lion in Winter by James Goldman. 


Our three holiday favorites - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris, and The Twelve Dates of Christmas by ASC actor Ginna Hoben - will be return in December.


Get more information and title listing by season HERE...


* indicates a Blackfriars Playhouse premiere


American Shakespeare Center 

10 S. Market St

Staunton, Virginia 24401

CFP: Shakespeare and the Italian Renaissance



The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.016  Saturday, 21 January 2012


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

Date:         January 19, 2012 2:38:52 PM EST

Subject:     Reminder Call for Papers


Dear Colleagues, 


This is a reminder of the Call for Papers for the collection of essays: 


Shakespeare and the Italian Renaissance: 

Appropriation, Transformation, Opposition 


Edited by 

Michele Marrapodi 

(General editor Ashgate's AIRS Series) 


This new collection of essays aims to place the works of Shakespeare within the context of the European Renaissance and, more specifically, within the context of Italian cultural, dramatic, and literary traditions, with reference to the impact and influence of both classical and contemporary culture. In contrast with previous studies, often characterized by a positivistic-deterministic hermeneutics and, consequently, by a largely passive analysis of source material or literary topoi, the new critical perspective pursued in this volume will take into account a wider European intertextual dimension and, above all, an ideological interpretation of the ‘aesthetics’ or ‘politics’ of intertextuality which will allow the analysis of the presence of the Italian world in early modern England not as a traditional treasure trove of influence and imitation but as a potential cultural force, generating complex processes of appropriation, transformation, and ideological opposition throughout a continuous dialectical interchange of compliance and subversion. 


Please send a 200-word abstract of the proposed chapter directly to the editor before 29 February 2012.


Best wishes.


Michele Marrapodi


Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia

Viale delle Scienze

90128 Palermo, Italy

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

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