The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0561  Wednesday, 12 December 2013


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

Date:         December 11, 2013 at 4:29:13 PM EST

Subject:    Conference Announcement: “Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography”


The Folger Institute is pleased to announce that applications are now open for its spring conference, “Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography.”


Funding is available to qualified graduate students and faculty from U. S. institutions for travel and lodging through the Folger Institute consortium, and an NEH Collaborative Research grant. For those who do not wish to apply for funding, or for those who are interested in the topic, but not part of an academic institution, a registration form is available here.


I would be happy to answer any questions you or your colleagues may have.



Elyse Martin

Program Assistant

Folger Institute

(202) 675-0333


Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography

An NEH Collaborative Research Conference

Spring 2014




There is no more iconic figure with whom to push forward a fresh critical evaluation of the aims and methods of literary biography than Shakespeare. Within the academy, textual analysis often denies biography any explanatory force, while popular conceptions of Shakespeare look to biography precisely for insight into the works. In the standoff, the genre of literary biography is lost as a subject of serious inquiry. On the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth, the Folger Institute Center for Shakespeare Studies will undertake a rigorous investigation of the multiple—and conflicted—roles biography plays in the reception of Shakespeare today. A cadre of influential scholars, many of whom have written biographies of Shakespeare, will focus discussion on such topics as the distinctions between authorship and agency, the interpretations of documentary evidence, the impact of methods of dating texts on an understanding of Shakespeare’s life, the broadened context for that life of a more robust understanding of theatrical activity, and the possibility that biography is itself a form of historical fiction. The conference opens Thursday evening with a session that doubles as Shakespeare’s Birthday Lecture. In his presentation on “Shakespeare, Biography & Anti-Biography,” Brian Cummings will discuss the problem of writing the life of Shakespeare in terms of the documentary history and its haunting sense of missing links.


Organizers: Brian Cummings (Anniversary Professor of English, University of York), Kathleen Lynch (Executive Director, Folger Institute), and David Schalkwyk (Academic Director of the Global Shakespeare Project, Queen Mary University of London/Warwick University).


Speakers: Tarnya Cooper (National Portrait Gallery), Ian Donaldson (University of Melbourne), John Drakakis (University of Stirling), Katherine Duncan-Jones (Somerville College, Oxford), Lawrence Goldman (St. Peter’s College, Oxford), Stephen Greenblatt (Harvard University), Margreta de Grazia (University of Pennsylvania), Graham Holderness (University of Hertfordshire), Julia Reinhard Lupton (University of California, Irvine), Jack Lynch (Rutgers University), Lena Cowen Orlin (Georgetown University), Lois Potter (University of Delaware), Joseph Roach (Yale University), and William H. Sherman (Victoria and Albert Museum, University of York)


Schedule: Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon, 3 – 5 April 2014.


Apply: 13 January 2014 for grants-in-aid to support travel and lodging. A generous NEH Collaborative Research grant extends funding eligibility to qualified graduate students and faculty from U.S. institutions. Application form is available here.


Registration: For those not planning to request travel and lodging funding, a registration form is available here.


Please direct any further questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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