Book Announcement: Shakespeare and the Shrew


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0496  Wednesday, 5 December 2012


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

Date:         December 5, 2012 12:11:33 AM EST

Subject:     Book Announcement: Shakespeare and the Shrew


Dear colleagues,


I am about as pleased as I ever have been about anything to let you know that my book Shakespeare and the Shrew: Performing the Defiant Female Voice is now in print, as part of Palgrave Macmillan’s “Shakespeare Studies” series.


Here is the link to Palgrave's site:



I have identified twelve characters in Shakespeare’s plays as being derived from the theatrical stock type, the ‘shrew’ (who is included and who omitted will most likely generate plenty of argument before we even delve into the content), and looked at both the text and how they have appeared in performances from around the last twenty years.


This is the dust jacket blurb:

Whenever Shakespeare wrote a ‘shrew’ into one of his plays he created a character who challenged ideas about acceptable behaviour for a woman. This is as true today as when the plays were first performed. A shrew is a woman who refuses to be quiet when she is told to be, who says things that people do not want to hear. She is constructed to alleviate male anxieties through ridicule, but like so many objects of comedy or derision, she is full of power because of her very ability to generate these anxieties. ‘Shrew’ is supposed to be an insult, but has often been used to describe women enacting behaviour that can be brave, clever, noble or just. This book marries an examination of Shakespeare’s shrews in his plays with their history in recent performance, to investigate our own attitudes to hearing women with defiant voices.


Best regards,

Anna Kamaralli

The Venus & Adonis Dedication


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0495  Tuesday, 4 December 2012


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

Date:         December 4, 2012 12:37:22 PM EST

Subject:     The Venus & Adonis Dedication


So far, there has been no overt response to the evidence that there are contrary themes in the V & A dedication—and that both were deliberate. Given that we have members who will leap with alacrity on any perceived weakness of argument (and thank God for them), we may take it that the premises are solid. Shakespeare was, in all probability, expressing personal grievances against Wriothesley and doing so with admirable panache.


However, it is strange that a punchy new example of Shakespeare’s wit and style is not of more interest to this forum (which professes to explore Shakespeare’s works). A private respondent has pointed me to an angle which perhaps I have not taken into account sufficiently—that the homophobia of many Shakespearean scholars may impede discovery which threatens their image of our hero.


Now, I don’t know whether this is true (though the revelations of an article brought to my attention were thought-provoking). Nevertheless, it prompts me to offer for consideration the following scenario. I imagine that it may offend homophobes and homophiles alike. If it does, I apologize—no offense is intended. 



In 1592 Shakespeare is a streetwise, ambitious author-showman, prepared to do what it takes to achieve his aims. The prolonged closures of the London playhouses are putting him in a perilous position financially and professionally.  He is attempting to cultivate the patronage of a narcissistic young aristocrat, Henry Wriothesley. 


The theatre-loving Wriothesley is, at this stage of his life, a catamite. As Earl of Southampton, he represents a potential lifeline (albeit that he is cash-strapped by his tendency to spend more than the allowance permitted by his guardian). Homosexual suitors attractive to the Earl will have an advantage. However, a heterosexual artist prepared to indulge in exaggerated endearments and (as necessary and if capable) homosexual dalliances, may secure sustenance and, hopefully, prosperity through Wriothesley's sponsorship.


Shakespeare is strongly attracted to, and experienced in, women. He is either fully hetero or thereabouts. He does his best to seduce Wriothesley emotionally, intellectually and physically. His wit flatters and engages. He tries (but over a period of time fails) to meet the sexual needs of the young Narcissus. Eventually he is supplanted in the latter’s esteem by a rival suitor for patronage. The rival provides sex, wit, flattery and poetry in a package which better appeals to the young Earl.


Shakespeare feels devastated and forsaken. He is about to publish Venus & Adonis, his first major tribute to Wriothesley. He has spent many a long hour applying his skills towards the gratification of the Earl—in the creation of that work, numerous private poems and other entertainment. Another long poem, Lucrece, is in its early stages of development. He has received much encouragement from the object of his attentions. Yet the prospects of reward and/or continued sponsorship are now vanishing. Is it fair that so much effort of cultivation will be rewarded by “still so bad a harvest”? He responds with his savage and wickedly witty dedication.



Are we interested in finding out more about Shakespeare and/or his works? If so, why does the V & A dedication convey veiled insults and rebuke? Is there any evidence which contradicts the above scenario? Is there any other scenario which better fits all the available evidence? 

Digital Album of Sonnet Setting


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0493  Tuesday, 4 December 2012


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

Date:         December 3, 2012 5:08:45 PM EST

Subject:     Digital Album of Sonnet Setting


I’d like to announce a newly released digital album (perhaps more like an EP), Sweet Will & the Saucy Jacks: five of Shakespeare’s sonnets, which I perform to musical settings in a range of pop modes. These versions were recorded with instructional uses in mind – focused on the words, with just a guitar or two for instrumentation. Follow the link for plays and downloads on a Name Your Price (including Free, if you choose) basis as classroom tools, supplemental materials, or simple diversion.




With many thanks,



Stephen M. Buhler

Aaron Douglas Professor of English

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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

Pop Culture References


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0494  Tuesday, 4 December 2012


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

Date:         Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Subject:     Pop Culture References


I saw Lincoln a few weeks ago and forgot to mention here that there are numerous quotes and references to Shakespeare in the film. 


A few days ago in The Washington Post, Robert Shrum, senior Democratic strategist, is quoted as saying, “Nothing so unbecame his campaign as his manner of leaving it.”




Book Announcement: Shakespeare and the Second World War


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0492  Tuesday, 4 December 2012


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

Date:         December 3, 2012 6:17:08 PM EST

Subject:     Book Announcement: Shakespeare and the Second World War


Hello, Fellow Shakespeareans,
 Marissa McHugh and I are delighted to share the good news that our multi-authored book, Shakespeare and the Second World War: Memory, Culture, Identity (University of Toronto Press) has just been published.


Here is the link:




and a description from the dust jacket:


Shakespeare’s works occupy a prismatic and complex position in world culture: they straddle both the high and the low, the national and the foreign, literature and theatre. The Second World War presents a fascinating case study of this phenomenon: most, if not all, of its combatants have laid claim to Shakespeare and have called upon his work to convey their society’s self-image.


In wartime, such claims frequently brought to the fore a crisis of cultural identity and of competing ownership of this ‘universal’ author. Despite this, the role of Shakespeare during the Second World War has not yet been examined or documented in any depth. Shakespeare and the Second World War provides the first sustained international, collaborative incursion into this terrain. The essays demonstrate how the wide variety of ways in which Shakespeare has been recycled, reviewed, and reinterpreted from 1939–1945 are both illuminated by and continue to illuminate the War today


Please share this information with interested friends, colleagues, and students, and especially with your university librarian!

With thanks,


Irene (Irena) R. Makaryk

Professor, Department of English

University of Ottawa

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

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