From TLS: Shakespeare’s kind of play?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.318  Wednesday, 28 September 2016


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

Date:         Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Subject:    From TLS: Shakespeare’s kind of play?


[Editor’s Note:  As many of you know, I have had a challenging first seven months of this year with an ongoing but less painful issue. I only just started catching up with my TLS editions. The following and subsequent posting that will appear over the next few days all appeared in the April 20, 2016, TLS. I will provide excerpts here; and if anyone wishes the entire article and does not have access to TLS, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. -Hardy]


Shakespeare’s kind of play?



Peter Kirwan


Negotiating the boundaries of the dramatic canon

257pp. Cambridge University Press. £54 (US $95).


[ . . . ]


William Shakespeare comes into this story in 1664, when Philip Chetwind reissued the third Folio and opportunistically “added seven Playes, never before Printed in Folio”. Previously published as single-play quartos, they included one genuine claimant, Pericles, co-authored with George Wilkins, two plays now ascribed to Thomas Middleton (A Yorkshire Tragedy and The Puritan), and Sir John Oldcastle – for which, as Edmond Malone discovered in the manuscripts kept at Dulwich, Philip Henslowe had paid Michael Drayton, Anthony Munday, Richard Hathway and Robert Wilson in 1599. The remaining three were an odd jumble: The History of Thomas Lord Cromwell, The Tragedy of Locrine, and The London Prodigall. What they have in common is that the original publishers adorned them with the initials “W. S.”, or in one case gave Shakespeare’s full name.


All seven were included in the Fourth Folio (1684) and in Nicholas Rowe’s first modern edition (1709), but Pope described them as “wretched plays”, omitting them from his edition (1725), as did Theobald from his (1733). Apart from rival editions by Jacob Tonson and Robert Walker at the lower end of the publishing market, the “doubtful” plays ascribed to Shakespeare were generally discredited, as we see from an essay in The Adventurer (1753) – not by John Duncombe, as Peter ­Kirwan thinks, but by George Colman, as I showed in Shakespeare, The Critical Heritage, Volume IV (1976). Colman describes a vision in which writers ancient and modern were summoned by Fame to “sacrifice upon the altar in this temple those parts of their works which have hitherto been preserved to their infamy, that their names may descend spotless and unsullied to posterity”:


[ . . . ]


Peter Kirwan’s book, Shakespeare and the Idea of Apocrypha, a revision of his 2011 Warwick doctoral thesis, takes issue with any criticism of these plays, not always successfully. In the passage just quoted Kirwan misreads the term “natural parents” as if it “suggested a blemish in Shakespeare’s exemplary moral reputation”, linking him with “discourses of illegitimacy”. But while the word “natural”, when applied to children, designates bastards, “natural parents” are not bastards (well, they could be but that would be a different issue). Kirwan devotes most of a page to this misreading, not seeing that Malone, applying eighteenth-century expectations that authorship would be acknowledged, thought the actual writers of these plays had “disowned” them, not Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s parentage was “imputed” by the publishers who claimed that they were “by W. S.”, another topic where Kirwan’s scholarship is somewhat lacking.


Sixty years ago Baldwin Maxwell showed that “never did the initials ‘W. S.’ appear on authentic work by Shakespeare”, a judgement recently endorsed and expanded by Lukas Erne, who made the same observation concerning the spurious signature “W. Sh.”. ­Kirwan thinks that the mere presence of these initials on a title page constitutes “external ­evidence” or “information” about Shakespeare’s authorship. He includes in this category The Birth of Merlin, published by Francis Kirkman in 1662 as by “William Shakespear and William Rowley”, and thinks that it might be included in “a notional Complete Works of Shakespeare based on rigid bibliographic principles”, along with Middleton’s Yorkshire Tragedy and George Peele’s Troublesome Reign of King John. Kirwan seems unaware of Nigel Bawcutt’s discovery in 1996 that The Birth of Merlin was licensed in 1622, six years after Shakespeare’s death. In these and other invocations of “bibliographic” criteria Kirwan is confusing two different categories. A strict bibliography will indeed list under the author’s name all publications attributed to him: so Donald Wing’s Short Title Catalogue lists several spurious works attributed to ­Francis Bacon without comment. But Kirwan is a literary critic, not a strict bibliographer, and cannot have it both ways.


Kirwan’s stated aim is to rehabilitate the apocryphal plays, as his subtitle puts it, by “negotiating the boundaries” of the canon – perhaps “beating the boundaries” would have been more appropriate. His book “is not concerned to establish the authorship of these plays . . . but rather to establish what is at stake in the arguments”. This is to limit yourself from the outset to shadow-boxing, or air guitar. Kirwan complains that in evaluating the apocryphal works “internal evidence” plays the predominant role (how can it not?) and he attacks anyone who judges the apocryphal plays to be “qualitatively inferior” or who makes “subjective aesthetic judgments”, a fault of which he is never guilty. Although the scholars who work in the field of authorship attribution have closely studied the plays’ dramaturgy (plot structure, characterization, staging) and language (vocabulary, rhetoric, phraseology, prosody), Kirwan claims that the division into authentic and inauthentic does not conform to “modern scholarly standards” (where “modern” means “those who think like me”). His modern arguments include the clichés of yesteryear: “the indeterminacy of the canon”, “the unstable nature of the text”, “authenticity itself . . . an unstable concept”. He says that he has “argued for the historical and theoretical spaces of ambiguity”, with some success, praising the “oppositional critical movements [that] interrogate and attack the concept of the canon itself”. But it is hard to know what they would replace it with. John Jowett proposes that “the dichotomy of ‘canon’ and ‘apocrypha’ can be replaced with a gradualist model”, recognizing that any play “is susceptible to minor modifications on the part of . . . actors, playbook annotators, scribes, stationers, and compositors”. It is true that all those agents affected the text, but that is a long way from creating an apocryphal play, and there can hardly be a continuum between the authentic and the inauthentic. A woman can’t be a bit pregnant.


[ . . . ]


Kirwan’s wish to boost the apocryphal plays will, I fear, have the opposite effect. The book’s unrelenting tone of complaint is accompanied by repetitive and obvious ­comments, such as “The establishment of an identity not only involves defining oneself positively according to one’s own distinctive characteristics, but also defining oneself ­‘negatively’: that is, by what one is not”, or “The question is now whether it is reasonable, or even desirable, to continue to extract individual authorial contributions from an historically and theoretically socialised text”. Kirwan’s word choice is not always felicitous. He describes the Chamberlain’s Men as the first professional company that “employed an embedded playwright”, as if Shakespeare had joined an advanced US position in Iraq. He writes “Critical Biography” when he means “Bibliography”. He strives for authenticity by reproducing title pages using the long “ſ” form, which results in such solecisms as the “Moſt Pleasſant Co-medie” of Mucedorus, including “The merie conceits of Mouſe”, as if the text had a lisp. He adds an appendix listing all the plays that have “borne an attribution (however speculative) to Shakespeare”, some of which he has taken from Ludwig Tieck, who suggested in 1821 that the canon be extended to sixty-seven plays, and some from A Note on the Shakespeare Apocrypha by Lindley Williams Hubbell, published in Japan. Kirwan is “indebted” to this slim pamphlet, listing ­seventy-three titles, although he finds it ­“riddled with errors”.


What he doesn’t disclose is Hubbell’s motive for compiling what he called a “monument to human folly”: “In the bright nimbus of lunacy that surrounds the head of the gentle Shakespeare, the attribution to him of plays he could not possibly have written has proliferated no less than the ascription to others of plays that he did write”. That may seem a harsh judgement but some modern scholars have made some wild attributions to him, while others – to use a coinage by Pat Rogers – are trying to “de-attribute” large parts of the Henry VI plays. With major editions from Norton and Oxford in production, Shakespeareans are in the position of the old sheriff in No Country for Old Men, wondering what’s coming down the line to us next.





From TLS: Boy-girl meets boy-girl

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.317  Wednesday, 28 September 2016


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

Date:         Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Subject:    From TLS: Boy-girl meets boy-girl


[Editor’s Note:  As many of you know, I have had a challenging first seven months of this year with an ongoing but less painful issue. I only just started catching up with my TLS editions. The following and subsequent posting that will appear over the next few days all appeared in the April 20, 2016, TLS. I will provide excerpts here; and if anyone wishes the entire article and does not have access to TLS, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. -Hardy]


Boy-girl meets boy-girl



Of all of Shakespeare’s essentially ­fictitious characters only one – Sir John Falstaff – has leapt successfully from stage to page and then back again. Around 1600, in the immediate aftermath of performances of the Henry IV/V trilogy, his name and character became widely celebrated. Among much else, Shakespeare’s new-minted “Falstaff” was especially noted for his friendship with the young Prince of Wales, to whom he was an entertaining but essentially unworthy companion. The associated adjective “Falstaffian” continues to be widely understood. It is applied freely to large, fat, witty, bibulous and altogether rather shameless – yet charming – elderly men. In modern adaptations the Shakespearean character’s ultimate fall from royal favour is generally overlooked. Even if we leave Giuseppe Verdi’s glorious opera Falstaff entirely aside, the total number of books, plays and essays in which Sir John is the amusing focus of attention runs to well over a hundred. Edmond Malone, the most magisterial of Shakespeare scholars, found it virtually impossible to do full justice to the fat knight: “Falstaff, unimitated, unimitable ­Falstaff, how shall I describe thee? Thou compound of sense and vice; of sense which may be admired, but not esteemed, of vice which may be despised, but hardly detested”.


Falstaffian spin-offs are manifold, and many of them are quite well handled. For example, in 1796 James White, a friend and schoolfellow of Charles Lamb, composed The Falstaff Letters. These were addressed to Mistress Quickly, and offer reasonably good pastiche:


[ . . . ]


James White also had some success in mimicking Fluellen and Ancient Pistol. Leaping almost to the present day, as recently as 2009 Bert Cardullo edited two substantial Falstaff spin-offs. One is based on Orson Welles’s glorious and recently remastered film, Chimes at Midnight (1961); the other is ­Fernand Crommelynck’s even more ambitious play The Knight of the Moon, or Sir John Falstaff, translated from the French original of 1954.


Angela Thirlwell makes only a single allusion to Falstaff, in which she quotes a provocative and self-indulgent fantasy of Harold Bloom’s. Apparently Bloom would have been greatly pleased if, contrary to Shakespeare’s own narrative, “Falstaff did not allow himself to be done in by his murderous adopted son, the dreadful Prince Hal, and instead Shakespeare let him wander off to the Forest of Arden. There he sat on one end of a log, with the beautiful Rosalind on the other, and the two matched wits”.


This paints a striking scene, and one which perhaps lends some timely support to Thirlwell in her valiant and often highly ingenious attempts to promote Shakespeare’s Rosalind to world-class status comparable with Falstaff’s, even at the price of removing her from the context of the play – As You Like It – in which she originally appeared. Thirlwell doesn’t make very much of the fact that this charming boy-girl appears in only one of Shakespeare’s plays, nor that Shakespeare’s “Rosalind” has never – until now – experienced much life beyond that play, even though it is almost always enjoyed in performance. It was a lasting disappointment to Ellen Terry that she never got to play that enchanting role. Had she done so, it would surely have become one of her ­notorious solo turns, and could have gone on to enjoy further theatrical life through Eileen Atkins’s brilliant re-enactments of Terry’s monologues, some of which were to be enjoyed at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre earlier this year.


[ . . . ]


Speculation connecting the boy-girl-boy with the female monarch is then carried a great deal further. For example, we learn that “The Queen could have watched Rosalind achieve public resolution during Act 5 of a royal command performance”. Theoretically, it’s just about possible that Elizabeth could have called for a special performance of As You Like It at court – that is, in the presence of the Queen. But as it happens there is ­absolutely no documentary evidence that she ever encountered this particular play, let alone called for a performance of it. In any case, proposals for plays to be performed at court were under the control of the Lord Chamberlain, with support from the Master of the ­Revels. Although the Queen is shown as requesting a “command performance” at the end of the film Shakespeare in Love (1998), this is pure hokum. All that we know for sure about early performances of As You Like It – not visible in print until the First Folio of 1623 – is that, as Martin Wiggins writes in his ongoing catalogue of British Drama 1533–1542, Volume IV, “music for the first production was composed by Thomas Morley . . . tradition has it that an early cast included William Shakespeare (as Adam, in a long beard)”.


The strength and originality of Thirlwell’s book lie elsewhere. She has evidently attended many productions of As You Like It, and has also interviewed numerous directors and performers, thus making a useful contribution to stage history. There are wise words from Janet Suzman, Vanessa Redgrave, Judi Dench and Michelle Terry, among others. She has also read adventurously and attentively, for example in her observation that Anthony Trollope – always sensitive in his portrayals of young women – sprinkled The Duke’s Children with allusions to As You Like It. It is also good to be reminded of the interest taken in the play during the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries –­ partly, perhaps, because of its undercurrent of fashionable “decadence”. J. M. Barrie’s curious marriage “to the actress Mary Angell . . . who eventually ran off with a much younger lover” is briefly chronicled. Curiouser and curiouser, Barrie in his eighties “fell in love with Elisabeth Bergner who starred as Rosalind – with Laurence Olivier as Orlando – in her husband Paul Czinner’s 1936 film of As You Like It”.


[ . . . ] There is a distinctly interesting book here struggling to get out. It could have benefited hugely from skilful editing.




From TLS: From Globe to globe

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.316  Wednesday, 28 September 2016


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

Date:         Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Subject:    From TLS: From Globe to globe


[Editor’s Note:  As many of you know, I have had a challenging first seven months of this year with an ongoing but less painful issue. I only just started catching up with my TLS editions. The following and subsequent posting that will appear over the next few days all appeared in the April 20, 2016, TLS. I will provide excerpts here; and if anyone wishes the entire article and does not have access to TLS, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. -Hardy]


From Globe to globe



Did any special Shakespeare events happen in 1966? If so, I missed them. But I’m old enough to remember 1964, when I was young enough to respond uncynically to the 400th anniversary celebrations of his birth. Coming out of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre after a performance of 1 Henry IV, I saw the Avon reflecting the fairy lights in the trees and the illuminated pavilion that housed the Shakespeare exhibition. Earlier that day, in what I remember (perhaps wrongly) as the last room of the exhibition, I had heard the recorded voice of Sir John Gielgud reading “Our revels now are ended” as stars swirled in an artificial sky. That voice, those lights, the lights dancing on the Avon, and the words I had just been hearing brought me as close to Wordsworth’s daffodil experience (also combining starry lights and dancing water) as I am ever likely to get. I now think that it resulted from the realization of the breathtaking scale not only of the playwright but also of his afterlife.


But 1964 pales beside the non-stop commemorations of Shakespeare’s birth and death from 2014 to 2016. The most obvious difference is their global scale. A century earlier, the opportunity for a large-scale commemoration coincided with a war between the two countries that would have been most likely to create an international celebration. They are making up for it now. The sheer extent of creativity inspired by the occasion is bound to encourage an oceanic sense in some and in others the urge to demystify it. The three publications under review are characteristic of this period in their awareness that they can only gesture towards a Shakespeare who is their invisible centre.


Katherine Duncan-Jones’s Portraits of Shakespeare, an attractively produced and priced Bodleian Library publication, is a serious as well as pleasant survey of the subject. The portraits of other writers at the Bodleian (and elsewhere) are the starting point. Comparison with other examples of the genre reveals that the 1623 Folio frontispiece is unusual in its failure to provide a laurel wreath for Shakespeare’s balding head; the lack of shading may result from its having been copied from a miniature. Similar contextual analysis throws light on the Stratford-upon-Avon monument by comparison with the sculptor’s other tombs. A final chapter looks at other candidates for authentic likenesses (Duncan-Jones does not share the recent excitement about the Cobbe portrait) and at later interpretations of the seventeenth-century images. Duncan-Jones thinks it likely that early portraits of Shakespeare once hung in homes and in taverns, though perhaps they were so unlike the existing images as to be unrecognizable to later ages.


The book’s most important argument (already aired in the TLS, April 25, 2014) is that the Chandos Portrait was not the work of John Taylor, a painter-stainer of the next generation who could not have known Shakespeare personally, but of Joseph Taylor, born in 1586, the leading tragedian of the King’s Men after the death of Richard Burbage and intimately connected with both the author and his plays. This attractive hypothesis depends on the unprovable assumption that “Joseph” was once abbreviated to “Jo” and then misread as “John”. That two successive tragedians should also have been painters seems improbable, but there is one possible piece of evidence for it. The “Character of an Excellent Actor”, attributed to John Webster and first published in 1615, states, “He is much affected to painting, and tis a question whether that make him an excellent plaier, or his playing an exquisite painter”. This sentence has always been taken to refer specifically to Burbage, about whose painting there is other evidence, but if Webster knew of Taylor’s talent his Character might have been, as Characters were supposed to be, a generalization about a professional type. Taylor was already a star at this time (Duncan-Jones convincingly argues that Bartholomew Fair, performed in 1614, contains a pun on his name that puts him in the same category as Burbage and Field). It is unlikely that we will ever know how good a painter he was, since the Chandos Portrait (a name that many would like to change) seems to have suffered from considerable tampering both before and after it reached the National Portrait Gallery.


In The Shakespeare Circle, Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells have collected verbal portraits of everyone who might have hung in Shakespeare’s picture gallery if he had had one: family members, friends, colleagues, business associates. The twenty-five contributors have been encouraged to take “a range of different perspectives” and these range from strictly ­factual (Cathy Shrank and Katherine Scheil carefully analysing the evidence about Shakespeare’s sister and his wife’s family) to wildly speculative (Germaine Greer thinks that Judith’s marriage with Thomas Quiney was instigated by Quiney’s mother Bess, who “may have known for years that Judith was in love with Thomas” and wanted to get him away from another woman). As a result, we get three different interpretations of the scene between Susanna Hall and the physician Cook (René Weis) or Cooke (Lachlan McKinnon and Greg Wells), in which she apparently failed to recognize her late husband’s handwriting. Some authors try to relate their subject to the plays (did Shakespeare’s depiction of doctors change after John Hall came into his life?); others rigorously avoid it. Some engage in myth-busting. David Fallow argues that John Shakespeare was never poor, but passed onto his son the ­ability to cover his tracks; it’s possible that “business, not plays or poems, first took William Shakespeare to the capital”. Catherine Richardson is uncertain whether the Gilbert Shakespeare found as a haberdasher in London can be the Gilbert who spent most of his life in Stratford. Susan Brock points out that Francis Collins, who drew up Shakespeare’s will but didn’t make his own until the day before his death, was often careless and inaccurate; presumably people kept using him because he was a friend. Greg Wells has looked at John Hall’s own notes, fuller than those published in the seventeenth century, and notes that his Latin often borrows expressions from others. John Astington thinks that the “Burbage” portrait at Dulwich College is unlikely to be either of or by Burbage. Carol Rutter describes the probable layout of Richard Field’s print shop, too crowded for Shakespeare to wander in and read the publications that may have been among his sources.


There is less new material in the essays on other writers and actors, but it is very useful to see Thomas Middleton, George Wilkins and John Fletcher (discussed respectively by Emma Smith, Duncan Salkeld and Lucy Munro) as figures in their own right as well as collaborators with the great man. The collaboration with the shady Wilkins, soon to be in trouble over violence towards prostitutes, is often explained by the naive assumption that Shakespeare needed someone to tell him what brothels were like. Salkeld complicates this idea by suggesting that Shakespeare may have known Wilkins not only through the Mountjoys (discussed by David Kathman) but also through Wilkins’s printer, William Jaggard.


Like Charles Nicholl in The Lodger, he thinks that Wilkins may at one time have seemed a promising writer. David Riggs and Andrew Hadfield give excellent contextualizations of Shakespeare’s relations with Ben Jonson and the lesser writers who wrote encomiums on him. Paul Edmondson has found interesting evidence that Condell at first had some opposition when he became a churchwarden, “he being a player”, but was well reputed by his neighbours. Stanley Wells clarifies the nature of the different members of the Combe family; unfortunately, the one Shakespeare seems to have liked best comes across as the least pleasant of them. Alan Nelson is sure that most of Shakespeare’s literary relationships weren’t personal or sexual but is willing to make an exception in the case of Southampton.


The subtitle, An Alternative Biography, ­suggests that the editors concur with Stephen Greenblatt’s famous comment that we need to use our imaginations in order to understand Shakespeare, and with Graham Holderness’s desire for something that transcends both ­conventional biography and fictitious speculation. But instead of letting us use our imaginations to fill the void at the centre of this book’s wide circle, the related website (www.­ moves the whole project in the direction of a novel about Shakespeare. It is not surprising that Margaret Drabble, in her afterword, is particularly taken with Mackinnon’s lively chapter on Susanna Hall, which is both scholarly (he gives excellent translations and discussions of all the Latin epitaphs) and wildly fanciful. He suggests a parallel between Miranda in The Tempest, who must have learned chess from her father, and Shakespeare’s clever daughter. Drabble, who likes this idea, adds that “you need a good education to be able to play chess”. In fact, seven-year-olds can play chess, but the claim supports the view, suggested by several writers, that Susanna composed the Latin epitaph on her mother and that her daughter Elizabeth composed hers. The fiction is taken even farther on the website, where you can hear the voice of Susanna herself revealing that all the Shakespeare women, including Anne, could play chess.


All the biographees of this volume, voiced by anonymous readers, are happy to talk about their relationships with Shakespeare, though they are only days away from their deaths – Marlowe (“That Will Shakespeare’s a very promising young man”) is off to Deptford in the morning and Judith Quiney (“My father? Yes, I suppose he was an important man”) is apparently talking in 1662. Edmondson must have enjoyed writing these pieces, but it is hard to see who their intended audience was and I wonder how the other authors liked having their essays trumped by these voices from the grave. For instance, Holderness shows how two contradictory accounts of the short-lived Hamnet Shakespeare (generally, healthy and loved; sickly and neglected) can be made from the available evidence, but the child’s voice gives the most uplifting possible version of his relationship with his father. It’s another alternative to the alternative biography.


If The Shakespeare Circle suggests that someone’s address book may be the best way of understanding his life, the new edition of The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, 15 years after its first publication, reflects the nature of the current celebrations in being as global as possible. It now contains entries on non-anglophone Shakespeare production and criticism from Africa to Wales (Africa is subdivided into East, Southern and West, because the North African countries have their own entries). This information will be genuinely new to most readers and a valuable starting point for researchers. What the volume gains in balance, it sometimes loses in style; a little more editing of the new contributions wouldn’t have hurt. But the lack of uniformity is part of the fun – compare Irena Makaryk’s untranslated “a mare usque ad mare” (in “Canada”) with Jonathan Hope’s statement (in “Electronic Media”) that many internet Shakespeare sites are “simply bonkers”. The inclusion of entries on the best-known living critics and performers of Shakespeare is bound to be controversial. They are of course already out of date: there is no entry for the most widely viewed Hamlet, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Michael Dobson’s claim that “It would still be hard to name a stage production [of The Winter’s Tale] that had been genuinely popular rather than not discreditable” seems contradicted by the recent sell-out production, admittedly star-driven, with Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh. Both of these productions belong to a new category – transmission of live stage performances to a cinema audience – which, again, has overtaken the compilers.


[ . . . ]





Shakespeare for Kindle

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.315  Wednesday, 28 September 2016


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

Date:         September 24, 2016 at 12:12:33 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: Q: Shakespeare for Kindle


In my experience, the New Folger Library editions are attractively formatted for the Kindle, and the hyperlinked notes work quite well. 


Tad Davis



Announcement: Shakespeare: explorations over time and across disciplines

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.314  Wednesday, 28 September 2016


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

Date:         September 27, 2016 at 11:17:07 AM EDT

Subject:    Announcement: Shakespeare: explorations over time and across disciplines


Special issue launch

Shakespeare: explorations over time and across disciplines


Palgrave Communications is a multi-disciplinary open access journal publishing peer-reviewed original research across all areas of the humanities & the social sciences.


To mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Palgrave Communications is pleased to announce the launch of a special issue on Shakespeare studies.


This special issue presents diverse scholarly perspectives that aim to illuminate academic thinking about Shakespeare, his writings, the social and political contexts that shaped him, as well the enduring cultural (and other) influences of his creative achievements to the present day.


Read all published papers in the collection:


Additional papers will be published in this collection over the coming months – sign up for our e-alerts to remain up-to-date:


About open access:


Best wishes,

Angelina Wangsha

Open Research Marketing Executive




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