The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0001  Tuesday, 1 January 2013

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

Date:         Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Subject:     New Year’s Greetings for 2013


Dear SHAKSPER Subscribers:


Happy New Year to all and welcome to volume 24 of SHAKSPER.


Ken Steele, then a graduate student at the University of Toronto, founded SHAKSPER on July 26, 1990: But volume numbers are associated with years, so SHAKSPER enters its 24th year of service today. 


Many of you know the story; a few have even been around since the inception or near the list’s commencement. Yet the story bears repeating.


I met Ken Steele at the 1990 Shakespeare Association of America annual meeting in Philadelphia where he shared with me his ideas about founding an electronic conference dedicated to Shakespeare on the model of HUMANIST, the prototype for all academic e-mail distribution lists. We were both members of a seminar on computing approaches to Shakespeare as were Michael Best (founder and Coordinating Editor, Internet Shakespeare Editions) and James L. Harner (World Shakespeare Bibliography Online).  


About a dozen Shakespeareans including myself formed the core of founding members. On February 21, 1992, I became SHAKSPER’s co-editor, at first being responsible for the file server.  On March 25, I took over the editing of the daily submissions into the digests.  On June 3, Ken decided to take a leave of absence from his graduate studies, and I became SHAKSPER’s owner, editor, and moderator. 


The list’s more than 1,100 members have joined from 70ish countries. These members include prominent Shakespearean academics and theater practitioners, and students and teachers from across the educational spectrum as well as just interested participants. 


The SHAKSPER homepage concisely describes the conference:  


SHAKSPER, now in its twenty-fourth year of serving the academic community, is an edited and moderated, international, e-mail distribution list for discussion among Shakespearean scholars, researchers, instructors, students, and anyone sharing their academic interests and concerns. In addition to regular mailings to members, anyone can use the Internet to access the archives and other SHAKSPER materials from the SHAKSPER web site SHAKSPER strives to emphasize the scholarly by providing the opportunity for the formal exchange of ideas through queries and responses regarding literary, critical, textual, theoretical, and performative topics and issues. For readers’ convenience, these messages are lightly edited and grouped in separate digests according to topic, and then e-mailed to subscribers in a daily compilation digest with a table of contents for ease of reading. Announcements of conferences, of calls for papers, of seminars, of lectures, of symposia, of job openings, of the publication of books, of the availability of online and print articles, of Internet databases and resources, of journal contents, of festivals, and of academic programs of study are a regular features as are reviews of scholarly books, of past and present theatrical productions, and of Shakespeare and Shakespeare-inspired films—in addition to “popular” culture references to Shakespeare or his works. SHAKSPER also provides occasion for spontaneous informal discussion, eavesdropping, peer review, and a sense of belonging to a worldwide scholarly community. The SHAKSPER web site has a number of special features, including periodic Roundtable discussions, concentrating on significant topics derived from issues of current interest in the discipline. SBReviews, highlights book reviews of books vetted by the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel and reviewed by peers selected by the Panel. These reviews first are distributed as regular digests and then are mounted in the Scholarly Resources section of the SHAKSPER web site.


To the above, I would like to add that SHAKSPER’s original web site was designed by Eric Luhrs; the current one, by Ron Severdia, founder of, which hosts SHAKSPER. My debt and gratitude to both these extraordinary individuals cannot adequately be measured.


My SHAKSPER’s New Year’s resolutions are to revise my “Selected Guide to Shakespeare on the Internet” (suggestions are welcome and will be judiciously considered) and to investigate the ongoing viability of the SBReviews and SHAKSPER Roundtables in their current configurations.


Organizations periodically require new members to re-energize themselves. If you find SHAKSPER useful, please recommend it to your colleagues, students, and friends. Information about subscribing can be found here: Further information about the list itself is here:  


Now for the REALLY hardcore fans, below is a Bibliography of three essays I have written about SHAKSPER and links to download pdf versions of those essays.


Cook, Hardy M.  “Behind the Scenes with SHAKSPER: The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference.”  College Literature 36, no. 1 (2009): 105-20. Available at Behind the Scenes with SHAKSPER.


---.  “Shakespeare on the Internet. ” Shakespeare in the Media: From the Globe Theatre to the World Wide Web. Second Edition.Eds. Stefani Brusberg-Kiermeier and Jörg Helbig. Berlin; Bern; Bruxelles; New York; Oxford; Wien: Peter Lang, 2009. (Second Edition online  Shakespeare on the Internet (331.27 kB)).


---.  “SHAKSPER: An Academic Discussion List.”Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation. 2.2. Winter/Fall 2006.  <> Available at SHAKSPER Academic List


Best wishes for the New Year,



PS: Donations to support SHAKSPER can be made through the link on every page of the SHAKSPER web site:


PPS: Below is a charming note I received that shows the often hidden value of SHAKSPER:




I just wanted to take the time to contact you and let you know that my classmates and I have really enjoyed using your page ( for our Shakespeare projects and presentations. My tutor, Mrs. Walker, thought it would be nice if we wrote you a thank you note (using her email) to let you know that it’s been such a great help :)


As a thank you, we all thought it would be nice send along another helpful resource that we came across during our project: It has some helpful information and resources to learn all about Shakespeare and his works (biography, his tragedies, comedies, poems, etc). We thought it might help out other students too.


And if you decided to add it to you other resources, I’d love to show Mrs. Walker that the site was up to share with other students as well learning about William Shakespeare :)


But thank you! And I hope to hear back from you soon.



Emma Kendall (and the rest of Mrs. Walker’s students!)

Elmgrove Community Center

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