Friday 24 February 2012
Registration from 12.00 Conference Centre Lancaster University
Publishers’ Displays in Conference Centre and Faraday Lecture Complex
Plenary I: (1.00 pm, Bowland Lecture Theatre) Chair: Alison Findlay
Professor Andrew Gurr, University of Reading, the Globe Theatre and Rose Theatre.
With reference to reconstructions of the Globe and to the forthcoming reconstruction of the Blackfriars theatre, this paper will discuss the importance of thinking beyond the two-dimensional staging techniques which we have inherited as a legacy of proscenium arch theatres, in order to realise the depth in Shakespearean dramaturgy.
Panel 1: Shakespeare and Children (2.00-3.30 Conference Centre Room 1)
Chair: Sarah Olive
Shehzana Mamujee (Newcastle University)
The paper interrogates the principle of dual consciousness in relation to Marston’s and Jonson’s plays for the children’s companies. I clarify the ways in which these playwrights subvert dramatic illusion by emphasising the gap between the child actor and his role.
The paper argues that these dramatists repeatedly depict gender identity, whether masculine or feminine, as a function of performance. Furthermore, prologues and inductions reveal their attention to the agency of their boy actors. This agency contrasts with the boys’ established roles as subservient commodities in the early modern playhouse. Yet at the same time, the playwrights assert authorial control over the production and influence the spectators’ perception of the play. While Lyly desexualised his Ovidian source material to suit his boy actors’ elegant presentations, Marston and Jonson attempted to challenge the concept of dramatic illusion altogether: sexualising the child and revealing his disguise, exposing the boy who plays the part.
Lucy Munro, Keele University.
What does it mean to ‘speak like a child’ on the early modern stage? Powerful, but contradictory, conventions attached themselves to children’s speech in this period. While proverbial wisdom held that children, like fools, might have the power to ‘speak true’, children’s speech was generally characterised as fallible and immature, lacking true physical or rhetorical control. Children’s speech is marked by a lack of agency, and in addition, as Erica Fudge has argued, the child’s inability to speak properly might appear to put at risk his or her status as fully human. Like women’s speech, children’s speech was also subject to powerful decorums – the ideal child was either silent until spoken to, or was expected to regulate his or her speech from an early age, avoiding verbal violence or profanity. In addition, the issue of children’s speech in early modern drama also raises questions of identity and authenticity. Very few early modern plays were written by children – although examples do survive – meaning that the representation of children’s speech is coloured and complicated by the dramatist’s own adult status.
In this paper I will explore the tensions between these ways of thinking about children’s speech, exploring the incorporation into early modern drama of the speaking child as both character and actor. Particular attention will be paid to plays such as Chapman’s All Fools, The Gentleman Usher and The Widow’s Tears, and Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Perry Mills, King Edward’s School, Stratford-upon-Avon.
This paper will share some experiences of staging a selection of the repertoire of the Early Modern children’s companies with “Edward’s Boys”, an all-boy troupe from King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon (“Shakespeare’s School”).
The project began in 2003 by exploring how boys play female roles through the performance of extracts from both Shakespeare and Jonson. Subsequently, a company began to emerge which focussed on those plays written explicitly for the boys’ companies by dramatists such as Lyly, Marston. Middleton and – this year - Dekker and Webster. As well as providing the opportunity to see productions of these rarely-performed scripts, players and audiences gain occasional ‘glimpses’ into the dynamics of an all-boy company. The paper will offer a sense of the challenges, practical solutions and pleasures available to both the boys and their audiences. Critical reception has suggested some unexpected responses and insights.
Panel 2: Water – Surface, Depth, Meaning (2.00-3.30 Conference Centre Meeting Room 3) Chair: Steve Longstaffe
Sara Trevisan, University of Warwick.
Using as a basis the studies of G. Wilson Knight and Caroline Spurgeon, I shall show how maritime images play an essential role in the characterization of Antonio, the Venetian merchant in question. Antonio is enlivened through references to the sea that relate to his professional worries concerning trade, on which his material life – as well as the outcome of the play itself – depends. But, beside representing Antonio’s commercial interests, such marine images often also mirror his emotions in various circumstances. This paper suggests that this multi-layered connection between Antonio and the sea, which recurs only in relation to him, constitutes a formula capable of reflecting not only the character’s own tempestuous feelings, but also contemporary attitudes towards the storm-threatened nature of international trade.
Jemima Matthews, Nottingham University
The early modern riverfront unsettled stable notions of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ space. Through privies, river stairs, and Bankside lodgings, the lived spaces of London extended into and physically entered the water. Simultaneously through the labour of riverine trades and the flow of commodities the river, its waters and associated products and processes entered the city in various guises.
Through an examination of both dramatic and archival sources, this interdisciplinary paper will attempt to challenge simplistic constructions of riverine spaces. The immersion of Falstaff in the Thames in Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor will be analysed alongside contemporary maps and plans of the riverfront. The paper will consider how the surface and depth of the river emerge on stage through the processes of craft, labour, and dwelling. I argue that, through the concertinaing of spaces and processes, the Thames is continually turned inside out and outside in.
Maria Shmygol, Liverpool University.
Taking Perdita’s adoption of a boyish disguise when sailing back to Bohemia in The Winter’s Tale as a starting point, my paper reads the problematic practice of women’s encounters with the sea against such plays as Lyly’s Gallathea and Heywood’s Fair Maid of the West, Part I. These plays reveal the different ways in which the surface of femininity can be hidden and disguised under male attire in order to successfully ‘navigate’ the seas, which subsequently become spaces where gender fantasies and cultural ambitions can be traversed and played out. I root my discussion of the plays in their historical context, namely James I’s ‘Proclamation touching Passengers’ and chapbooks such as ‘Long-Meg of Westminster’ in order to better illuminate how the turning inside-out of women’s identities and donning of an superficial surface disguise opens up deeper questions pertaining to gender and cultural identity.
Panel 3: Shakespeare’s Inside-Out Communities (2.00-3.30 Conference Centre Room 4)
Chair: Hilary Hinds
Joseph Sterrett, Aarhus University, Denmark.
In Act three, scene three of Hamlet, the Prince forgoes an opportunity to take revenge upon his uncle Claudius because he believes he has come upon him in prayer. Claudius's prayer, whatever its efficacy, is recognised in the play as a space of limited immunity . This paper will compare this scene with two other literary representations of prayer as immune space, a space of liberty recognised and perhaps contested by an otherwise fractious community. George Herbert's 'Prayer (1)' and John Donne's 'La Corona' sonnet series both present prayer as a place of refuge--one an active military citadel, the other a cloistered place of withdrawal. Each offers an imaginative image of how prayer could be conceived both consistent with and stretching beyond theological diktat. I will draw upon social theories of immunity and sanctuary still extant in the seventeenth century as well as more recent emphases by Jacque Derrida and others to explore how the act of prayer itself could be a vital site of social exception.
Katie Knowles, University of Liverpool.
When Henry V banishes Falstaff he commands him ‘Not to come near our person by ten mile’, an image which suggests quarantine and fits with the play’s conflation of physical and moral disease. Yet the expected image is turned inside-out: it is not the ‘contagious’ Falstaff who is isolated, but the king. Henry creates a protected space around himself which is not geographical but relational; a circle of sterile immunity he will carry with him. This paper will argue that 2 Henry IV interrogates the idea of spaces of liberty and that Henry’s exclusion zone is one of a series of diverse and equivocal spaces – including the battlefield at Gaultree and the crown itself – which engage with but ultimately exclude outlaw practices. Thus the play mirrors the geography of Elizabethan London in which playhouses and hospitals, threatening subversion and contagion respectively, were often consigned to the Liberties, outside the city limits.
Anne Sophie Haahr-Refskou, Aarhus University, Denmark
This paper will approach the concept of immunity in relation to the actor’s body on Shakespeare’s stage. It argues that a particular notion of immunity is useful, when decoding the bodies of Lavinia and Cordelia, who, after the processes of violation and death, seem to achieve a heightened symbolical status that ultimately places them outside and above the rest of the action. In both cases the violated and dead body is metamorphosed into a display of silent corporeal signifiers that firmly enclose and protect the interior self of the character. Rather than being reduced to mute props tossed about by the other characters, Lavinia and Cordelia are here seen as entering a sanctuary of silence, which lends great force to their presence on the stage. Thus, immunity is here understood both metaphorically and materially with the presence of the actor’s body as an important link between the two.
Panel 4: Shakespeare and Music (2.00-3.30 Conference Centre Room 2)
Chair: Alison Findlay
Composing and Historical Performance at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
William Lyons, The Guildhall School of Music & Drama and The Royal College of Music.
This paper aims to examine the way music is interwoven into performances of Shakespeare’s plays as performed at the reconstructed Globe Theatre in London. It will compare the received application of music in productions as opposed to what is known of original practice. How was music used in Shakespeare’s time? Who composed and who played it? Where did musicians play? What instruments were played? Was music used in a ‘filmic’, descriptive way, or did it have a purely realistic function? What do modern audiences expect from and how do they react to the music and musicians as seen in period productions?
The paper will examine the evidence to be found in the rubric of the plays, and also at social convention and the use of descriptive music. As well as examining the music as provided at the Globe Theatre, the paper will consider any contrasts to be found from accounts of music as performed in the Blackfriars Playhouse.
Helen Wilcox, Bangor University, Wales and Allan Wilcox (jazz bassist)
This session will explore the relationship between Shakespeare’s words and the jazz that they have inspired. What could an early modern English poet-dramatist and syncopated improvisatory music originating in twentieth-century North America possibly have in common? We will attempt to answer that question by exploring meanings, structures and modes of expression, listening in particular to the work of Duke Ellington and the collaboration between singer Cleo Laine and jazz saxophonist John Dankworth. Can jazz settings enhance the impact of Shakespeare’s language, revealing and developing meaning, or do they turn the words inside out to negative effect? The discussion will be illustrated with readings, recorded musical examples and live improvisation.
Panel 5: Romeo and Juliet – Open Rehearsal and Discussion (Bowland North Seminar Room 5) Helen Tozer, Lancaster Girls Grammar School.
This practical session, with room for observers, will offer conference delegates the chance to watch and comment on the work of pupils rehearsing a scene from Romeo and Juliet as part of the production they are preparing for a performance at the Duke’s Theatre, on 7-10th March. The rehearsal process will show Shakespeare in action, looking at how the students have been trained to speak blank verse and bring it to life. It will explore the value (and the difficulties) of producing Shakespeare for performance as a means of learning for pupils, teachers and spectators.
3.30-4.00 Tea / Coffee Faraday Lecture Complex
Plenary II: (4.00 pm Faraday Lecture Theatre) Chair: Peter J. Smith
Professor Bob White (Winthrop Professor in English and Cultural Studies and co-director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions in Europe 1100-1800)
In The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton, no less observant than Shakespeare of the smile, feigned or ingenuous, wrote suggestively that The eye is a secret orator, the first bawd’, and he amplifies:
[Eyes] reveal our thoughts … I may say the same of smiling, gait, nakedness of parts, plausible gestures, &c. To laugh is the proper passion of a man, an ordinary thing to smile; but those counterfeit, composed, affected, artificial and reciprocal, those counter-smiles are the dumb shows and prognostics of greater matters, which they most part use, to inveigle and deceive; though many fond lovers again are so frequently mistaken, and led into a fool's paradise.
The smile as gesture carrying meaning to witnesses, and as an agent of change in others, recurs throughout Shakespeare, sometimes in the form of a lover’s guileless manifestation of inner pleasure, at others a proof of Duncan’s astute observation, ‘'There's no art / To find the mind's construction in the face’ since as Hamlet reflects, 'one may smile and smile and be a villain'. And then of course there is the most famous but incongruously smiling man in all drama, Malvolio:
… he does smile his face into more lines than is in the new map with the augmentation of the Indies: you have not seen such a thing as 'tis. I can hardly forbear hurling things at him. I know my lady will strike him: if she do, he'll smile and take't for a great favour.
In this paper I aim to explore the smile as raising profound questions and paradoxes about ‘depth-surface-meaning’ in Shakespeare’s plays.
Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts Building (LICA)
Welcome by Professor Bob McKinlay (Deputy Vice-Chancellor)
Launch of the Britich Shakespeare Association's 'Teaching Shakespeare': see our 'Shakespeare Festival and Schools' page for further details.
6.00 p.m. Coaches depart from outside the LICA building for Lancaster City Centre
7.30 pm: Performances
Much Ado About Nothing at Lancaster Castle
Love’s Labour’s Lost Northern Broadsides, Duke’s Theatre, Lancaster.
Saturday 25 February 2012
Plenary III: (9.00 am – 10 am, Faraday Lecture Theatre)
Professor Kate McLuskie, Emeritus Professor, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
This paper will explore the critical and performative strategies for making meaning out of The Tempest that remain available in the first decade of the 21 century. It will argue that this question of meaning is central to the contested cultural-value of Shakespeare in the new century and that new theatrical forms present considerable challenges to the critical alignment of meaning and performance on which that value increasingly depends.
10-10.30 Tea / coffee Faraday Lecture Complex
Panel 6: Picturing Shakespeare (10.30 am – 12.00 pm Conference Centre Room 3)
Chair: Stuart Sillars
Alan O’Cain (artist and designer)
What insights can a visual artist bring to interpretations of a play? If the artist is an expressionist he will aim to capture the direct personal emotional impact of what he sees before him. In 2006-2007 Lancaster alumnus and professional artist Alan O’Cain worked in an official collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company producing fourteen artworks based on its Complete Works Festival production of The Tempest starring Patrick Stewart as Prospero and directed by Rupert Goold. In this illustrated paper he will discuss how unexpected stimuli from both rehearsal and performance led to a creative connection (as artist Francis Bacon also sought) directly with the painter’s “nervous system”. Paintings from the series will be exhibited at the Duke's Theatre gallery in Lancaster throughout the conference and a digital slideshow along with original project sketchbooks will be on display in the Rare Book Archive in Lancaster University Library. Visit the Artworld of Alan O’Cain at www.aoart.co.uk
Siri Vevle, University of Bergen.
There is a previously unnoticed iconographic parallel between William Blake’s Fiery Pegasus, illustrating 1 Henry IV, and an interlinear horse in plate 14 of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The horse as symbol is important throughout The Marriage, in which Blake emphasises horsemanship as revolutionary energy and intellectual control. The paper explores this parallel and what it conveys about Blake’s reading of Prince Hal’s function in the play. The reference also sheds light on whether Blake’s image anticipates the Prince’s development in the two later plays 2 Henry IV and Henry V.
Sylvia Morris (Head of Library and Archive, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
In this seminar paper I’ll look at the importance of stage costume in productions of Shakespeare’s plays, and how the surviving documentary evidence of these costumes can be used to indicate the director’s and designer’s intentions for the production.
The importance of the costuming of theatrical productions is not always recognised. When and where it is set, and how the characters are presented and clothed, gives emotional depth to the superficial details, and contributes to the production’s success or failure.
What sorts of documentary evidence exists to tell us how a production looked and felt, and how can we use this evidence to build up a picture of the production’s effectiveness? Do costumes and designs show attention to the detail of Shakespeare’s text? What does a designer intend to indicate by his or her designs: period, the mood for a scene, character, relationships, the importance of colour and texture?
I’ll illustrate my paper with a powerpoint presentation looking at costume designs and photographs of finished costumes from productions by the RSC and its predecessor, the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre.
Panel 7: Teaching Shakespeare Inside-Out (10.30 am – 12.00 pm Conference Centre Room 2) Chair: James Stredder
Sarah Olive, Lecturer in English in Education, University of York.
Sarah will demonstrate that juxtaposing the work of popular artists today alongside Shakespeare allows students and teachers to observe the way in which Shakespeare’s craftsmanship – in terms of his use of sources, word play and themes – is part of a rich and continuing tradition (while avoiding platitudes about universality, relevance or transcending history). Having established some similarities, flipping over to focus on the differences between Shakespeare’s inventiveness and that of contemporary artists forms a spring board for exploring historical context, literary theory and concepts from intellectual property to national identity. Teaching such as this can achieve specific requirements of the National Curriculum and A-level syllabi while also challenging notions of canonicity, literacy and text – the unfinished business of cultural materialism, cultural studies and progressive education.
Peter Kirwan, University of Nottingham.
In the ongoing debate over declining standards of literacy and composition, blogging has come under attack as a medium seen to perpetuate careless and confessional writing habits. Yet the practice of blogging – increasingly common practice among young people – offers a natural forum for the development of other kinds of skill, including self-reflection, peer review and ownership of argumentation.
This paper focuses on the teaching of contemporary Shakespearean performance, exploring
the possibilities for pedagogic attention to the authority and purpose of blogs. It confronts the importance of helping students navigate myriad online discourses critically, seeing the web revolution as an opportunity to critique and utilise non-academic as well as academic resources. Drawing on practical examples to illustrate the theoretical questions, this paper suggests that the development of blogs and wiki technology as learning tools enables the compilation and sharing of research, fostering a collaborative and reflective academic mindset that prepares students for wider interaction with researchers.
Kathryn Westwood, University of Manchester.
This paper will show how the ways in which Shakespeare is adapted in theatre and film for young audiences can be applied to television, and in turn will show how Shakespearean drama and television can have a symbiotic relationship, not a conflicting one.
The question firstly necessitates an understanding of how a TV audience is defined in theory, as this informs the demographic producers aim for. Fiske’s, Bordieu’s and Morley’s research (amongst others), provides this definition of television audiences – what they use the medium for and what they expect of the programming. Through interviews with BBC and ITV producer John Forrest, we can investigate how far these theories of television audiences are true, and whether the techniques he uses when making programmes for young audiences are informed by these theories.
By comparing the adaptation techniques he uses to engage young audiences in television with the ways the Royal Shakespeare Company adapt Shakespearean drama theatrically for workshops in schools, the practical ways different media adapt Shakespeare for young audiences will be elucidated. Through an analysis of these workshops and the responses of the audiences to various adaptations of Shakespeare on television, a precise knowledge of what it is about Shakespeare young audiences find difficult or boring is revealed, and in turn how these difficulties are directly combated by adaptation. It can then be shown whether the techniques of the RSC can be applied effectively to television for young people, and whether these techniques can be implemented in education.
Panel 8: Screenings (10.30 am – 12.00 pm Conference Centre Room 4)
Chair: Liz Oakley-Brown
Erica Sheen, University of York.
In a paper on Shakespearean material in French New Wave cinema presented at the Shakespeare: Sources and Adaptations conference, I proposed a concept of ‘cryptic’ reference: minimal references such as single often unexplained citations of Shakespeare’s name or ‘Works’, or almost completely decontextualised quotations. Shakespearean references of this kind were particularly common during the Cold War, when the idea of Shakespeare was intensely and pervasively activated as a marker of ‘universal’ values in almost every political arena. Diplomat William C. Bullitt’s book The Great Globe Itself (1947) begins with the quotation from The Tempest to which its title refers and proceeds to a discussion of the apparently very real possibility, after Hiroshima, that the world would indeed ‘dissolve/And like this insubstantial pageant faded/Leave not a rack behind.’
My use of the term ‘cryptic’ carries connotations associated with Abraham and Torok’s concept of the crypt, described in The Wolfman’s Magic Word (1976) as a ‘forum, a place where the free circulation and exchange of objects and speeches can occur’ within which there is ‘another, more inward forum like a closed rostrum or speaker's box, a safe: sealed, and thus internal to itself, a secret interior within the public square.’ In my forthcoming study, Cold War Shakespeare, based on major new research into Cold War archives, I examine the way the idea of Shakespeare acted within the post-war international sphere both as an open forum and as a closed secret. In this paper, I will consider cryptic Shakespearean references in American polemical writing between 1945 (Hiroshoma and Nagosaki) and 1952 (the first hydrogen bomb), and show how they work to contain and to circulate the emotional fall-out associated with the threat of nuclear war.
Kaori Kobayashi, Nagoya City University, Japan.
Asian productions of Shakespeare have gained international recognition for their role in producing new artistic modes in the global age. Asian directors experiment with new combinations of traditional and contemporary performance, new strategies for working across languages and genres, and new ways of reaching diverse audiences. Their productions are not only changing the way we understand Shakespeare’s plays but also foreground such contemporary issues as the emergence of cultural, national and Asian identities in a global economy, while reshaping and diversifying older notions of the relation of east and west.
A|S|I|A, short for Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive, aims to encourage these debates and provide resources for creating new knowledge about Asian Shakespeare intercultural studies through new digital media. An extensive on-line archive of Asian Shakespeare productions now offers an opportunity to watch full-length productions online accompanied by original and translated scripts and allows an interactive, and in-depth, search of production data. This presentation illustrates how A|S|I|A may be used for research and in the classroom, and, by exploring 'the deep value of surfaces’ in a selection of clips from intercultural Shakespeare productions in Asia, shows how the archive will eventually extend and alter existing scholarship and pedagogy in Shakespeare performance studies.
Kevin Murray, Queen’s University, Belfast.
My paper concerns the interplay between original and adaptation, tradition and innovation, which lurks just beneath the formal edifice of Kenneth Branagh’s six Shakespeare adaptations. Critics have described at length the nexus of influence and anxiety which ties Branagh’s 'Henry V' and 'Hamlet' to Laurence Olivier’s earlier filmic adaptations of these plays. While not altogether ignoring this particular intertextual relationship, my paper attends to the equally rich, though largely hitherto unexplored, veins of intertextuality which render Branagh’s cinematic relationship with the Bard closely linked both to diverse cultural forms—most obviously cinema, but also theatre, dance, vaudeville—but also, significantly, to other adaptors of Shakespeare on stage and screen. The radical adaptations of Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski and, of course, Laurence Olivier, have all demonstrably affected Branagh’s own cinematic appropriations of Shakespeare. The cinematography and thematic emphases of such films as 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1993), 'Love’s Labour’s Lost' (1999) and 'As You Like It' (2006) reveal these films' consanguinity with prior incarnations of film-Shakespeare. Although they are implicated in a decades-old genealogy of influence, Branagh's adaptations are not, however, entirely in thrall to their noted predecessors, for, even as these films borrow heavily from previous adaptations (and, more generally, redeploy various generic codes and tropes), they are consistently branded (textually, but also extra-textually, in criticism and commerce) as works which are distinctive, personalised and unique.
Hence, while my paper attends to the formal threads of affiliation which exist between the work of prior auteur-Shakespeareans and Branagh, it also highlights how Branagh's adaptations are at pains to assert themselves as component texts of an auteur's cinema. Branagh’s various Shakespeare adaptations are united by their incorporation of the signature aspects of the Branagh style; at the same time, however, this mode of film authorship is revealed to be dependent not just on stylistic inscription, but also commercial, extra-textual and para-textual branding operations. The image of Branagh's authorship is, in fact, sustained by an array of supplementary discourse forms: other films (famous and less well-known, and cross-references between them), plays, paintings, poems, biographies, autobiographies, published screenplays, press releases, filmographies, interviews, documentaries, advertisements and so on. Film authorship, I therefore argue, is manifest in the auteur’s own inscribing of stylistics, but also in the post hoc appropriation of such functions under an auteurial name or brand. Advancing an argument indebted to recent work by such film scholars as Timothy Corrigan and Yannis Tzioumakis, then, my paper also highlights how Branagh’s auteurial brand name—reinforced by the institutional apparatuses of cinema and criticism—emerges as an intertextual (and intratextual) anchor and guarantee of authorial newness.
Panel 9: Bodying Forth (10.30 am – 12.00 pm Conference Centre Room 6)
Chair: Hilary Hinds
Dr. Matthew Wagner, University of Surrey.
HAMLET: And do you see nothing there?
QUEEN: Nothing at all, and yet all that is I see.
How does Shakespearean theatre allow us to ‘see’ what isn’t there? In what ways does this specific convention of stage work generate surfaces and material presences out of what Theseus called ‘airy nothing[s]’ (MND V.i.16)? In this paper, I propose to explore the issue of theatrical ‘surfaces’ by interrogating recent and current critical understandings of the notion of stage materiality. In fact, I wish to use this paper to suggest a new theory of stage materiality that will bring into relief a kind of ‘hidden’ surface that, I argue, was in operation and in full view on Shakespeare’s stages. This theory argues that the spoken word, counted as a material entity in its own right, works in concert with the physical presence of the actor to allow the stage to create what we can call a haptic materiality: a palpable presence of otherwise abstract or ‘absent’ ideas, beings, forces, or concerns. This presence, this ‘haptic materiality’, does not operate directly, or solely, on the senses of sight, hearing, or touch (those senses that we would traditionally associate with the perception of surfaces or material things); rather, it arises out of a conflation of, and often tension between, those modes of sensory experience.
Clearly, this theory will draw heavily on a Deluezian paradigm, but it also draws upon other work which interrogates the way we might ‘see’ what isn’t there and/or ‘feel’ with our eyes – John Berger’s seminal Ways of Seeing is significant here, as is Bruce Smith’s much more recent look into historical phenomenology, Phenomenal Shakespeare. Equally important to the theory is a grounding in the early modern understanding of what Martin Elsky has called the ‘material underpinnings of language’ (245), alongside a consideration of the actor’s body as a kind of profound materiality of the Shakespearean stage. The human body, in other words, served as an example to the viewer of the theatre’s capacity to turn an absence (the long-dead Henry V, for instance, or an abstraction such as Time, or Rumour) into an inescapable presence. Indeed, these two notions – words as material ‘things’ and the body as prima materia – are crystallized in one of Shakespeare’s characters who we might think of as the most superficial (and certainly as having the most surface-area): Falstaff. That ‘huge hill of flesh’, as Prince Hal calls him (1HIV, II.v.224-225) who speaks of honour as nothing ‘but a mere word’ (1HIV V.i.129-139) will serve as my primary case-study. Viewed in the reflecting glass of ‘the fat knight’, the seemingly diverse theoretical paradigms I mention above can help us to re-imagine the very notion of materiality – and, in turn, of surfaces and depths – on the Shakespearean stage.
Kathleen O’Leary, St. Helens College.
This paper will consider specific moments in a selection of Shakespeare’s plays where the physical embodiment of an idea is so arresting that its full power can be relayed only in live performance. Such a moment is, of course, when the statue of Hermione comes to life at the close of The Winter’s Tale. Its authority as a piece of theatre lies not only in the extraordinary moment of revivification, which is part of the miraculous that the play explores, but also in the striking visual spectacle of the still actor gradually regaining movement and speech. It is a moment that examines the identity of art but also the nature of acting and mimesis. Cordelia’s death, Katherine’s submission to Petruchio and Macbeth’s imagined dagger will also be considere
David Margolies, Goldsmiths University.
Measure for Measure usually leads audiences and readers to sense a sour note in the ending. This characteristic of the Problem Plays is not an incidental feature: Shakespeare constructs a plot in which the form and the content are at odds. In Measure formally happy marriage is undermined by the negative character of the specific relationships. Othello, written in the same year as Measure, displays a similar kind of construction where an abstract vision is in conflict with experiential understanding and the tragic form is undermined by a content that does not quite fit. The power of the form-content contradictions is emotional, not intellectual, and because it is the abstract ‘official’ vision attached to the form that is destabilised by the dramatic experience, the plays have a subversive potential.
Panel 10: Intertexts (10.30 am – 12.00 pm Conference Centre Room 5) Chair: Kerry Gilbert
Cathleen McKague, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham
Scholars have long considered Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare's erotic epyllion, primarily indebted to Ovid's tale of the goddess and mortal in his Metamorphoses, and have even propounded Titian's painting of the same name, completed and sent to London in 1554, as one of Shakespeare's sources. However, less critical attention seems to have been invested into the correlation between Shakespeare's piece and the tale of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, also recorded in Ovid. Salmacis and Venus are both persistent, single-minded, 'masculine' women, while Hermaphroditus and Adonis figure as passive 'effeminate' men. These hermaphroditic figures evoke ambivalent reactions of comedy and repulsion—hence, the literary grotesque—as well as a sense of wonder through divinity, thus evincing the two inimical Renaissance perceptions of androgyny. From a feministic perspective, it is striking—and encouraging—that in Shakespeare’s version it is Venus who survives instead of Ovid’s double-sexed but undeniably masculine Hermaphroditus.
Katherine Heavey, Newcastle University.
Shakespeare’s willingness to transform older texts in his creation of original works is well-documented, and, of course, entirely typical of Elizabethan literature. This paper constitutes a light-hearted look at the way that this propensity to transform manifests itself in different ways in his works, and in two very different Shakespearean plays: the early comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the late “problem play” The Winter’s Tale. Specifically, it looks at how and why Shakespeare transforms a classical source (Ovid’s Metamorphoses) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and an Elizabethan source (Robert Greene’s Pandosto) in The Winter’s Tale. In the case of the former, the paper will look at Shakespeare’s precedents for rewriting an esteemed and well-known classical tale, the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, in such an audacious way. In the case of the latter, the paper will highlight the obvious changes Shakespeare made to his source text, but also the more subtle distinctions between the two, for example how Greene and Shakespeare use Ovidian mythology very differently, in their two tales of jealous kings and falsely accused wives. The paper will explore issues such as how a story transforms in its move from page to stage, how the Elizabethans reused classical myth, and how literary and dramatic fashion, as much as individual genius, informed Shakespeare’s craft, both at the beginning and the end of his career.
‘Theatre’, remarks New Zealand playwright Jean Betts, is ‘chucking stuffy things out of the window’. Such an attitude is enacted in her own playful and political pieces Revenge of the Amazons (1984) and Ophelia Thinks Harder (1993): theatrical rewritings which perform just such a desacralisation of Shakespearean texts – and the attitudes which accompany them. These two plays are what we might call ‘deeper’ adaptations than many versions produced in New Zealand; that is, they resituate large portions of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream into new narrative frameworks explicitly produced by their own contemporary moment. Nevertheless they share several concerns – notably gender equality – with more surface-level reworkings such as Geraldine Brophy’s sex-switching play Leah (2002). This paper explores the recent landscape of adaptations within New Zealand with reference both to their classification and to the ways in which, by turning Shakespeare inside out, they extend his ‘meanings’ - in the context of a former settler colony with a history of strong cultural ties to Britain alongside resurgent indigenous practices. Following M.J. Kidnie’s designation of the Shakespearean text as a ‘work’ that is a constant ‘dynamic process’ (Kidnie 2009), it will advocate the extent to which such adaptations can deepen our understanding of the plays’ resonance for local theatre-makers. Plays such as Betts’ both turn us inward towards the Shakespearean fragments at their heart, and open out as a gateway into other cultural contexts.
Panel 11: Shakespeare and Language (10.30 am – 12.00 pm Conference Centre Room 1)
Chair: Jonathan Culpeper
Paula Blank, College of William & Mary.
When scholars talk about “Shakespeare's language," they are generally referring to the linguistic and rhetorical resources of Renaissance English, as Shakespeare found them and made use of them. To "explain" Shakespeare's language to modern readers has always meant to return it to its original linguistic contexts. My talk advances a new approach: that we explore, self-consciously and deliberately, how we hear, understand, fail to understand, are amused by, disturbed by, intrigued by, bored by, and/or moved by Shakespeare's language specifically as speakers of modern English. I introduce three theoretical frameworks for this approach. The first is an adaptation of translation theory. Understanding Shakespeare’s early modern English involves a translative process that is neither quite interlingual (operating between two different languages) nor intralingual (operating within the same language). The second is the theory of "interlanguage" as the term is used in second language acquisition studies. An "interlanguage" is an emerging, implicit linguistic system created as one is approximating a new or unfamiliar language. Performance-oriented approaches to Shakespeare's language provide a third theoretical framework. Actors and directors, in contrast to literary scholars, engage Shakespeare’s language with a kind of double consciousness -- of what it was then, but also how it is or how it could be experienced now. Although it may seem anachronistic to foreground the “interference” of our own linguistic expectations in our apprehension of his early modern English, I argue that this approach may be more fully historical, in that it resituates Shakespeare’s language in a story of English that includes us.
Katie Wales, University of Nottingham.
Epigraph: 'Let me entreat, and beseech, and adjure, and implore you not to write an essay on 'Hamlet'' (H.H.Furness, 1908)
Stylistics characteristically analysyes the 'surfaces' and the mechanics of texts, in order to learn more about 'deeper' issues such as interpretation and affective meaning. In this paper I shall be looking particularly at the rhetorical tropes and structure of Act I of 'Hamlet' in an exploration of the 'un-natural': the encounters between Hamlet and the Ghost, and between Hamlet and himself. Critics have obviously much discussed the Ghost in 'Hamlet' since the end of the nineteenth century, if not earlier (cf. Spalding 1886, Moorman 1905-6, Stoll 1907, Greg 1917, Dover Wilson 1930, Garber 1987, Greenblatt 2001); mostly in relation to Elizabethan beliefs about the supernatural and the dramatic revenge tradition; but very few have written much at all about the discourse of the Ghost, except to make comparisons with Senecan hyperbole. There has been little stylistic, rhetorical and semiotic analysis which attempts to show how the textures of the 'super-natural' and the 'un-natural' are constructed and staged; and why Act I in particular has aroused strong emotions in spectator and reader through the ages.
Gemma North, Richard Hand and Sue McCormick (Demi-Paradise Productions)
In this practical workshop, delegates will work with two actors from the Demi-Paradise Production at Lancaster Castle, directed by Sue McCormick. Gemma North (Beatrice) and Richard Hand (Benedick) will workshop short sections of dialogue between Beatrice and Benedick in order to explore the 'skirmishes of wit', and developing relationship between them. Use of poniards will be limited to the realm of metaphor to ensure the workshop will be safe for all ages and abilities. All delegates are welcome to join, regardless of any previous / lack of experience in verbal fencing on your feet.
12.00-1.30 LUNCH – Hot and Cold buffet served in the Conference Centre
Panel 13: Shakespeare Human Surfaces and Depths (1.30 pm – 3.00 pm, Conference Centre Room 1) Chair: Andrew Hiscock
Erin Sullivan, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
This paper investigates renaissance ideas about human life and experience by exploring the relationship between animal and human existence in King Lear. Employing both historical and literary approaches, the paper considers how Shakespeare’s play examines what it means to be human by probing the connections contemporary natural philosophical theory posed between human and animal forms of life. It will address the ‘surfaces’ and ‘depths’ of historicized human experience , focusing primarily on renaissance theories of embodiment and ‘ensoulment’, but it will also attempt to question the relevance of such theories to more modern readings of the play and considerations of human experience today. One of the key points of focus will be how historical ideas about the superficial and deep links between humans and animals relate to and potential inform modern readings of Lear and subsequent philosophical and existential discussions of what it means to be human.
Ewan Fernie, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
This paper will be about making more space for the ways in which Shakespearean drama, and especially language, bears on experience, and constitutes it. It draws on John Dewey’s 1934 Art as Experience and John Russell Brown’s 1974 Free Shakespeare, as well as from more recent initiatives in the author’s own co-edited Shakespeare Now! Series: Shakespeare Thinking, Shakespeare and I, The Life in the Sonnets. It is, however, mostly an experiment in experientially susceptible and alert close reading. Partly because it looks forward to a larger project (called Shakespeariance), it takes two problematical speeches where one male and female character anticipate the sexual experience they are yet to have. It dwells and lingers in these speeches in order to show how their complexity produces prismatic, sometimes conflicting (pre-)experiential meanings, both in the reader or audience member and in the character, in such ways as intimate, reveal and even, to a certain extent, create*the depths in the surface* (to riff on the conference terms). It will be about reading as process rather than product, and as, at least potentially, experientially exciting, adventurous and even treacherous and confusing. Experience here is creative as much as already there to be discovered. The paper will end by suggesting that such an approach might help develop a language and method which readers, critics, writers, actors and directors alike could share and participate in, with a view to regenerating Shakespeare beyond segregated and reified professionalism.
Andy Mousley, De Montfort University.
Depth of reflection and subjectivity are attributes most teachers of literature probably aim to encourage in their students, yet 'depth' is a term which is rarely conceptualised explicitly, this despite the fact that its opposite, depthlessness, has often been used to characterise our so-called postmodern condition. Taking depth to mean, the expansion of our affective, cognitive and ethical repertoires, this paper will explore (1): how Shakespeare’s plays routinely provoke thoughtful refection upon emotion: what does an emotion like jealousy, for example, do to the relationship between mind and word, and between consciousness and consciousness? Conversely (2), Shakespeare also turns thought itself into emotional experience. Ideas are made to ‘live’ because they are incarnated in the sensate lives of entities we recognise as human beings, even as those human beings put their human-ness at risk. Thus if the human is lost, or in dispute, then that loss or contestation is never purely cognitive, but a visceral and emotionally charged experience. Lear’s question – ‘Who is it that can tell me who I am?’ – is not a disembodied and disinterested philosophical enquiry, but an agonising question, felt upon the pulse.
Both the provocation to thought elicited by Shakespeare’s representation of emotion, and the representation of thought as emotional experience, bring another tier of questions into play: namely (3), reflection on the nature of reflection, and in particular, the balance that might be struck between the ‘pre-reflective’ and the ‘over-reflective’.
All three qualities outlined above generate ‘depth’ and invite depth of engagement on the part of the reader/audience. And they are why we still bother with Shakespeare.
Panel 14: Shakespeare in Performance (1.30 pm – 3.00 pm, Conference Centre Room 2)
Presenters: Jami Rogers, Darren Tunstall and Stephen Purcell.
This seminar brings together three scholars from ‘Shakespeare in Practice’, an international network of academics who are exploring new ways to engage with Shakespeare-in-performance from the point of view of practitioners in a way which is informed by advances in performance studies. All three presenters are professional practitioners as well as academics and their study of Shakespeare-in-performance draws on their experiences of working with Shakespeare in the rehearsal room and on stage. The Shakespeare in Practice group has sought to reposition to focus of Shakespeare-in-performance studies away from ‘text into performance’ issues to look instead at the work of theatre practitioners as a subject for critical study in its own right. The group’s first book, Shakespeare and the Making of Theatre, will be published by Palgrave in 2012 and heralds a series of book length studies under the title Shakespeare in Practice. Tunstall and Purcell will be presenting early research for this book series. Tunstall will speak about his book in the series, on Gesture, and talk about the use of motion capture technology in researching early modern gestures. Purcell is writing about Audience and will discuss a case study of Tim Crouch’s I, Malvolio. Jami Rogers will speak about scenography and the changing ways in which props have been used onstage over the last century.
Panel 15: Radical Politics (1.30 pm – 3.00 pm, Conference Centre Room 5)
Chair: Liz Oakley-Brown
Christian Smith, University of Warwick.
The relationship between the surface and depth in Shakespeare’s plays can be foregrounded when analysing their intertextuality with subsequent texts. An analysis of Karl Marx’s use of quotations from and allusions to Shakespeare’s plays shows that Marx was aware of a significant and meaningful relationship between their surface and their depth. His readings, depicted by his use of Shakespeare’s texts to explain his philosophical and economic theories, frequently see two levels to the plays, and the relationship between these levels is used to construct the meaning of Marx’s metaphors. This paper will report and analyse the evidence gathered from a close reading of Marx’s use of Shakespeare in his 1867 Das Kapital. The twelve quotations and allusions from seven of Shakespeare’s plays that have been found in Das Kapital reveal this relationship between the surface and depth of the plays. Marx finds tragedy in the comedies Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In Marx’s quotations from The Merchant of Venice, Shylock stands for both the capitalist, wanting to cut the heart out of the working class, and the proletariat, robbed of their means whereby they live. Marx’s quotations from and allusions to the histories Henry IV, part 1 and Henry V foreground the contradictions that Shakespeare depicts in those plays. Marx uses lines from the tragedy Timon of Athens as a heuristic device to discover the multiple levels of his theory of alienation. His reading of Timon uncovers a depth in this often misunderstood and overlooked play. An understanding of the relationship between the surface and depth of these plays, seen through the eyes of Marx’s engagement with them, brings to the field of Shakespeare studies a fresh analysis that has hitherto not been present in Marxist interpretations of Shakespeare. In these times of global economic and ethical upheaval, these readings become vitally relevant.
Dr Adam Hansen, Northumbria University.
Shakespeare is deeply embedded in Britain’s education system. Why? Partly because, at various times and in various places, critics and commentators from all sections of the political spectrum have cast Shakespeare as England’s (or Britain’s) national poet. Given the rise to mainstream prominence and electoral significance of the British National Party (BNP), and the burgeoning power of their violent offshoots like the English Defence league (EDL), it is vital we discuss how deep a role, if any, Shakespeare plays in current constructions of and struggles with far-right, nationalist politics. Throughout the twentieth century, fascists evoked Shakespeare as an icon of the nations they purported to defend, and as spokesman for the supposedly deeply-rooted values they thought would help defend it. Until recently, the BNP continued this tradition. Yet the far-right’s use of propaganda with high-cultural and Shakespearean connotations seems to be waning. Why this ambivalence, this only superficial embrace?
This argues that Shakespeare is often but not easily co-opted into extreme nationalist projects. His complex, multicultural, morally ambiguous plots and characters problematise the kinds of skin-deep, simplistic, discriminatory, understandings of the past and present that flourish at moments of political and socio-economic crisis. In other words, perhaps Shakespeare can battle the BNP.
Sam Haddow, University of Nottingham.
Edward Bond argues that Shakespeare ‘did not answer his questions because historically they were unanswerable at that time, and art is prescribed by [its] political situation...’ This assertion motivates Lear, his dramatic ‘argument’ with King Lear, in which he insinuates a correlative political purpose underpinning both texts which has been conditioned by their respective contexts – contexts understood as demarcating their respective capabilities. Bond takes pains to argue his own as a privileged position from which to tackle questions unanswerable for Shakespeare, but in doing so risks patronising the past as a place of comparative blindness.
Through an analysis of the relationship between the two texts, this paper suggests a way of resolving this problem whilst preserving the urgency of their dialogue. Rather than retroactively transcribing history as a narrative – a process which I argue jeopardises its political objectives by endangering its own analytic integrity – I consider history as a grouping of “presents”, each possessing distinct, illimitable series of contemporaneously ingrained perspectives. My argument corresponds with Bond’s in emphasising the necessity of theatre that engages with the present, but opposes his assumption that ‘our understanding of the art of the past is often better than the artist’s contemporaries’. Instead, I regard that understanding as similarly grounded in the specificities of its contextual environment, employing interpretative tools imparted by that context in order to unearth an historical text’s contemporary resonance.
This destabilises Bond’s historical narrative (and its awkward conception of the past) by asserting the relevancies of both Shakespeare and Bond’s texts as contingent upon contextual ratification. The political resonances of both, I conclude, lie in their exploration of issues which are universal only when appropriated by the present into which they are brought into being.
Panel 16: Shakespeare, Children and Pedagogy (1.30 pm – 3.00 pm, Conference Centre Room 4) Chair: Sarah Olive
Kate Harvey, Trinity College Dublin.
This paper will discuss the implications of the use of cel animation in the episodes of Shakespeare: The Animated Tales (BBC, 1992-94) which use this technique, with particular emphasis on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (dir. Robert Saakiants) and ‘Romeo and Juliet’(dir. Efim Gamburg). In each of these episodes, the properties of cel animation—in particular its layering of two-dimensional surfaces and its propensity for spatial and temporal distortion—are exploited in order to bring out the self-reflexive aspects of the plays. Cel animation uses the necessary abridgement of the plays to its advantage, by literally flattening the characters visually, just as the reduced text flattens them emotionally, which serves to draw attention to their archetypal nature. Omitted sections of dialogue are replaced by a series of visual signs, allowing the animators to play with familiar genre and character tropes to produce multiple layers of meaning.
Kate Chedgzoy, Newcastle University.
This paper considers how children are represented and addressed in A Tale for Winter, an adaptation for young audiences of The Winter’s Tale written by Nona Shepphard and staged by the long-established touring company Quicksilver Theatre. A Tale for Winter, which toured Britain in 2007, recasts the core themes of The Winter’s Tale from the perspective of its youngest characters - in a drama of ‘misplaced jealousies, secrets and lies, and of children lost - abandoned, or even dead - because their parents failed them utterly’. Shepphard has articulated a vision of Shakespeare as above all an entertainer and communicator, and a playwright who addressed audiences of both adults and children together; her adaptation of The Winter’s Tale is a theatrical realisation of this vision.
A key early exchange foregrounds both the particular dramatic strategies of children’s theatre and the themes of this play:
CLOWN Your baby’s very quiet.
MAMILLIUS It’s dead.
CLOWN Oh no!
HE LOOKS HORRIFIED
MAMILLIUS It’s not a real baby. It represents a real baby. Just like I represent a Queen
As this passage suggests, A Tale for Winter was scripted and performed in a presentational, non-naturalistic style often employed by the typically low-budget touring productions that make up much of the theatre produced for children in this country. Imagined as children, the three main roles - Perdy (played by Kananu Kirimi), Clown (Caolan Byrne) and Mamilius (Daniel Naddafy) – are nonetheless played by adults and we also see these children imitating the adult characters of Shakespeare’s play, in a complex and richly satisfying layering of cross-generational performances which gives powerful theatrical expression to The Winter’s Tale’s interest in relationships between adults and children.
In this paper, I consider how Shepphard’s adaptation deploys specific dramatic strategies in order to speak to its youthful audience by engaging an experience of childhood which may be historically specific – family break-up doesn’t take the same forms in contemporary Britain as among the royals of Shakespeare’s Sicily – but which also transcends that historical specificity to offer a deeply moving representation of childhood encounters with family crisis, loss and mourning.
Chloe Stopa-Hunt (poet and critic)
In this paper, I will examine some of the ways in which children's Shakespeare fictions (historical novels set directly within the Shakespearean milieu) generate ideologically-driven and prescriptive readings of the plays. This is a sub-genre caught between education and entertainment, and one which readily serves as “first contact” with Shakespeare for child readers; in addition to re-visioning and adapting popular mythos about Shakespeare-the-man, it interprets the texts directly through allusion, quotation, and commentary. Existing analyses of the use of Shakespearean text in juvenile fiction have focused largely on the borrowing of plots, with much commentary informed, as Erica Hateley has observed (in Shakespeare in Children's Literature, 2009), by the assumption that such adaptations are inherently desirable – that there is a pressing need to “keep re-imagining Shakespeare for a new audience” (Marcia Williams, “Bravo, Mr. William Shakespeare!”, 2003). Yet the interpretive lens provided by novels depicting Shakespeare, the playhouse, and in particular the experience of boy actors, is often a highly traditional one, orienting the child reader toward Shakespeare's plots and away from deeper, more subjective and experimental engagements with the text.
The chief focus of my paper will be an author who represents an unusual departure from this norm: in the historical novels of Antonia Forest (The Player's Boy and The Players and the Rebels, published in 1970 and 1971), the author – herself profoundly conservative in both politics and religion – constructs Shakespeare's plays as the chief currency of feeling in an explicitly homosocial world of players and soldier-courtiers. Her Shakespeare fictions admit dissonant, even transgressive readings (particularly given the uncertain status of queer themes in children's fiction), treating play-texts as a fluidly available mode of language, an expression for the deepest affective experience of the characters, and by extension the child reader.
Panel 17: Much Ado About Nothing (1.30 pm – 3.00 pm, Conference Centre Room 6)
Chair: Eleanor Rycroft
Editors of Shakespeare's Much Ado have assumed that the figure of Innogen who appears in the stage directions at the beginning of acts 1 and 2 is a ghost character whom Shakespeare did not intend to include. She appears nowhere else in the first quarto of 1600 whose status is generally regarded as emanating from Shakespeare's 'foul papers'. Innogen is given no lines to speak in the two scenes in which her name appears, and this has generated the view, even amongst those critics who are generally sensitive to the significance of female silence, that she is an unrealised intention. This paper will argue that the silent Innogen is a 'real' dramatic character whose silence thorughout, and in the face of a dramatic action that seeks to police female speech within the institution of marriage, actually speaks. This raises the question of what Innogen 'thinks' since she never utters her thoughts, or indeed, is it legitimate to accord her an inner life?
Paul Innes, Glasgow University.
Much Ado About Nothing is layered with multiple incidences of perception. These take several forms, the most well known of which are various visual and auditory manipulations. Characters repeatedly deceive one another by staging moments that are deliberately designed to make other figures misunderstand what is going on. A good example is the series of machinations that results in Beatrice and Benedick becoming lovers once again. However, the play contains many more instances in which the truth is played with by means of misrepresentation. The fact that the supposed seduction of Hero takes place offstage is a signal to the audience that what this unseen (to them) event means will be crucial. This makes the audience focus upon the meanings given to the event by the characters. Criticism has often noted that the young noblemen get it wrong, and that the play then ironically counterpoints this by making the useless constabulary get it right by apprehending the culprit. I wish to take this commonplace a stage further by linking it in with the role of audience perception and the play’s ending, which undercuts any easy assumption of audience omniscience by means of the surprise. In the Introduction to her Arden 3 edition, Claire McEachern fortuitously notes that the play’s multiple puns on “nothing” include a sense of “noting”. The many layers of representation and misapprehension in this play dramatise the difficulty of perception as knowledge.
Julie Raby, York St John University.
In this paper I will explore the idea of a concept production and whether this brings depth or surface meaning to the text. My paper will focus on the recent production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Wyndham’s Theatre. I will consider the idea of a ‘concept’ production and what might be meant by museum Shakespeare. In the paper, I will analyse the effect of the 1980s setting within the context of ‘West End’ Theatre. What I am particularly interested in is the fusion between Shakespeare’s text and popular culture such as the references to Wham, the cult of Princess Diana, and Star Wars. In the paper, I will consider the impact of celebrity casting and the impact of this on the audience’s response to the production. At a time when the Globe also put on a production of Much Ado About Nothing, I will posit the question whether the ‘concept’ approach to the text brought new readings of Shakespeare’s text, or whether the production’s relationship to other media is a more interesting area to explore.
Panel 18: 'Unlocking Shakespeare Unlocking Prisoners - Macbeth becomes 'Mickey B' in maximum security' (1.30 pm – 3.00 pm, Conference Centre Room 3)
I first read Shakespeare in prison. It gave me a headache. It was hard to get past the words but I recognised something true in the motivations feelings and responses of Iago that was also true for me. I was jealous of many people who had what I didn’t have, self-confidence, belief, and self-esteem. That’s why I ended up in jail as a violent criminal. On release, I became an actor and used each role to help me understand myself better. I reckoned if that process could help me, it could help others like me. So I created Mickey B in Maghaberry maximum-security prison. I wanted to give prisoners an opportunity to unlock the guilt they feel about the crimes they have committed. On the outside, they are hard men but inside, they are suffering for the pain they have caused. Making Mickey B helped them gain understanding of themselves.
3.15-4.00 Tea / Coffee Faraday Lecture Complex
Plenary IV: (3.30 pm – 4.30 pm, Faraday Lecture Theatre)
Cicely Berry in Conversation with Dr Alycia Smith-Howard , author of Studio Shakespeare: The Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place (Ashgate, 2006).
To commemorate the RSC’s 50th birthday, the legendary RSC Voice Director, Cicely Berry, Hon.D.Litt, OBE, CBE will share her thoughts on the RSC’s success at ‘making meaning’ in the theatre for the last half-century, and the process of exploring Shakespeare from the inside out. Cicely Berry, renowned around the globe for her work on voice and text, joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s, and has been a source of inspiration, guidance and direction throughout the Company’s remarkable history of producing Shakespeare. Under discussion will be a choice selection of landmark RSC productions from the Company’s remarkable catalogue of theatrical productions of Shakespeare plays from 1960-2011. Cicely Berry will be joined in conversation by RSC performance historian, Alycia Smith-Howard, and their engaging dialogue will be accompanied by slides of production stills, photographs from rehearsals, images and clips from various, key RSC productions.
5.00 pm Coaches leave from outside the Conference Centre to transport delegates to Storey Creative Industries Centre, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1TH
5.30 pm – 7.00 pm: Reception
(Storey Creative Industries Centre, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster)
British Shakespeare Association's 10th Anniversary Celebrations
6.30-7.00 The Tempest, dir. Marion Plowright, Ripley St. Thomas School, Lancaster (Auditorium, Storey Creative Industries Centre)
Entry by ticket (free but as seating will be limited, only by advance reservation by emailing the conference organiser email@example.com)
Sunday 26 February 2012
Plenary V: (9.00 am – 10.00 am, Faraday Lecture Theatre)
Professor Stuart Sillars, University of Bergen.
While paintings of the plays are becoming better known, the issues that they raise about their status and identity remain uncertain. How far do they intersect with, or record, practices of performance or editing? To what degree are they to be understood only within the artistic styles and conventions of painting and criticism of their own time? How may they be woven into larger processes of interpretation? This lecture will explore these and other questions, addressing the relation of paintings to wider practices of perceiving, reading and configuring the plays and attempting to define more fully the generative ambivalences that such images offer.
Steve Tomlin (Producer); Sue McCormick (Director); Jude Glendinning (Musical Director).
(10.00-11.00 Conference Centre Room 4) Chair: Alison Findlay
Producer Steve Tomlin, director Sur McCormick and musical director Jude Glendinning will discuss some of the decisions they made in the Demi-Paradise's production of Much Ado About Nothing. They will address the benefits and the problems involved in staging Shakespeare at Lancaster Castle and site-specific theatre more generally. This question and answer session, led by Alison Findlay, will allow time for questions – spontaneous or in written advance - from the floor (written questions can be deposited in the box at the Conference Desk).
Panel 21: Screening the Surface (10.00 am – 11.30 am Conference Centre Room 3)
Chair: Becky Coleman
Liz Oakley-Brown, Lancaster University.
Shakespearean criticism in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries has scrutinized, with great enthusiasm, fragments of the body which reside under, or within, the skin. Yet the corporeal surface itself has been neglected. Part of a larger project, by way of Tanya Pollard’s materialist reading of sixteenth-century somatic discourses (2010) and Laura Marks’ theory of ‘haptic visuality’ (2000), this short paper explores theatrical and cinematic adaptations of
As You Like It (c.1600), a play in which hirsute skin becomes a visible sign of gender difference.
Specifically, I examine Touchstone’s direction to Rosalind and Celia, ‘Stroke your chins and swear by your beards [...] (1.2.59-60). According to Juliet Dusinberre, ‘The absence of a beard announces that Rosalind and Celia are women. Yet it also draws attention to the bodies of the boys playing them […]. The boy’s hand strokes a smooth chin, where bristle would be at present unwelcome – here he is with a woman’s part to perform – but ultimately welcome […]. (2006, p. 11). While studies such as Will Fisher’s Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (2006) have expertly shown how Shakespeare’s comedy engages with the sexual politics of boys, bodies and beards, in its focus on this fleeting cutaneous caress – an action magnified on screen - Dusinberre’s analysis foregrounds the complex relationship between skin and spectator, embodiment and the senses.
In 1996, Keir Elam concluded, ‘Where lies your text? In the performer’s bosom’ (p.163, my emphasis). By contrast, I ultimately argue that the Shakespearean text rests on the performers’ skin.
Xavier Aldana Reyes, Lancaster University.
Titus Andronicus, much-maligned and even ignored in previous centuries, has gained increasing cultural significance over the past sixty years. Its recuperation has resonated at both critical and performative levels: the text’s importance to the Shakespearean canon has been thoroughly reassessed, particularly its thematic concerns around notions of power abuse and madness, and the play has been the subject of at least three major adaptations since the turn of the century. This paper aligns itself with the tradition of thought that has viewed such a sudden interest in Titus as a cultural negotiation of the political zeitgeist of the noughties. In that respect, I compare the play’s popularity with that of another type of controversial phenomenon, the rise of the torture porn horror subgenre. I explain that, if different perhaps in execution and literary merit, Titus and films like Saw (James Wan, 2004) both share a similar investment in affect and provide a bleak outlook of the world that is nothing but correlative. By focusing on Titus’s stage history, and particularly directorial choices that have sought to either subdue or exploit the violence in the text, my aim is to integrate Titus within a history of visual affect linked to a very specific rhetoric of what constitutes high art. Although I make extensive reference to Deborah Warner’s 1987 production, the emphasis lies on the portrayal of key scenes of mutilation in Julie Maynor (1999) and Lucy Bailey’s (2006) adaptations. Ultimately, this paper acts as a form of continuation to the process of recuperation of Shakespeare’s ‘tragedy of blood’ precisely by recognising and celebrating the value of its neglected affective surface.
Eleanor Rycroft, Lancaster University.
“‘Tis with him/ In standing water, between a boy and a man”. Malvolio’s observation poses the conundrum of the role of adolescence for masculine subjectivity. Adolescence is the space in which the former boyish identity is erased and the future manly identity is written. But what constitutes adolescence itself beyond being the liminal space between two fixed categories? And how does adult masculinity emerge from the space between boyhood and manhood? Using Judith Butler’s Bodies That Matter as a theoretical base, this paper argues for a profound discontiguity between phases of male immaturity and maturity in the plays of Shakespeare. Through an analysis of Macbeth and Hamlet, I shall demonstrate that manhood is erected upon a lack, not only with regard to the ‘between-ness’ of adolescence, but whenever male cultural habitus changes. This gap is inhabited by both Hamlet and Macbeth, both of whose identities are un-made by events before or during the drama. Their absence of subjectivity only becomes apparent when the characters are juxtaposed against the more solid masculinities represented within the plays’ imaginary fields. Central to the paper is the notion that the beard signifies manhood during the early modern period, a point that has been argued conclusively by both Will Fisher and Mark Albert Johnston. The notion of masculinity as a hoax will therefore be demonstrated through the totem of the beard that emblematises manhood. In this sense, the beard serves as a screen, a façade, a surface, as masculinity is based upon the exclusionary processes which deny women, boys and other abject groups the privileges and prerogatives which the beard confers.
Richard Chamberlain, Northampton University.
Shakespeare’s refusers – those, in the plays, who are unable to offer their assent to socially-demanded customs and enjoyment – problematise the metaphor of depth and surface in discussions of selfhood. Moreover, their withdrawal from participation in communal values, usually at great cost to themselves, is sudden, unpremeditated, and irrevocable; this differentiates them from principled dissidents whose deeply-held personal convictions have led them to say no. Rather than indicating the nature of anything within, refusal happens to the individual from without, in much the same way that the compelling and overpowering subjectivity of ‘the Mask’ happens to its victims in the Jim Carrey film of the same title. Drawing upon Slavoj Zizek’s use of this example in discussing the symbolic and ‘the inhuman core of humanity’, the paper will discuss Shakespeare’s Joan la Pucelle and Marston’s Malevole as figures who trouble the notion of a ‘screen’ between inner self and outer world, and who threaten to collapse the ‘fantasy of reality’ played out upon this illusory surface.
Panel 22: Early Modern Stage Traffic (10.00 am – 11.30 am Conference Centre Room 2)
Chair: Jean E. Howard
Janet Clare, University of Hull.
Source study as a critical methodology was disparaged by New Historicists. This paper proposes a radical re-appraisal of Shakespeare’s source plays, indeed the discarding of the term source in favour of intertextuality (textual interplay). In traditional source study there is a parallel with an older form of historicism dislodged by the new historicism and cultural materialism of the 1980s. Older historicism responded to the Shakespeare text against a static ideological background, and in a similar way where source texts are identified they are seen as background to Shakespeare’s re-presentation of them. But in talking of social energy New Historicists neglected theatrical energy. I want to consider not only the evident transformation and transmutation of anterior theatrical texts, but the dynamics of text and pre-text. Intertextuality differs from source study in that it is not simply a search for origins; it pays attention to the dialogue and- sometimes – antagonistic and subversive relationship between texts. Rather than looking for verbal echoes which determine explicit borrowings, intertextuality allows us to see plays as malleable material which is given different shape as it passes from hand to hand.
I will examine two plays by Shakespeare – The Taming of the Shrew and King Lear – which advertise their relationship to other plays and reveal richer meanings if studied as part of a network of texts.
Diana Barnes, University of Tasmania.
This is a paper about the relationship between genre and place, specifically between city comedy and early seventeenth-century London. In Theater of a City: The Places of London Comedy, 1598-1642 (2007) Jean Howard argues that city comedy provided audiences with a means of making sense of the rapidly developing commercial metropolis of London. I will consider the degree to which a range of plays concerning London and its environs—such as Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair (performed 1614, pub. 1631)—anchor a coherent theory of community to the places they describe and encourage public discussion about the proper nature of political association. This popular and open discussion about citizenship, I will argue, anticipates key concerns preoccupying political philosophy of the mid-century.
Eleanor Collins (Oxford University Press).
The ‘office-book’ of Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels, is crucial to our understanding of Caroline drama: it informs and endorses accepted narratives about what occurred both on the professional stage and behind the scenes. Yet the documents are not extant, surviving only in a series of transcripts. N. W. Bawcutt’s edition (1996) has lent cohesion to these fragments, but a full assessment of the relationship between the extant records and the knowledge we claim about theatre history has not yet taken place.
In this paper I assess the impact that a ‘surface’ reading of the transcripts has had upon the ways in which theatre history has come to be written, and delve deeper into the processes of preservation and selection that have determined the records’ extant form and content. Analysis of what lies beneath each record – in terms of both the irretrievable, original manuscript and those historical and editorial factors which ensured its transcription – reveals more than the gaps and darknesses we might expect. Renewed attention to the transcripts also brings to the surface features of theatre history which have been submerged in dominant narratives – especially relating to performances which took place outside the theatres themselves.
Panel 23: Inside and Outside the Book (10.00 am – 11.30 am Conference Centre Room 5)
Chair: Erin Sullivan
Sarah Stanton (Cambridge University Press) and Matthew Frost (Manchester University Press), two editors with decades of experience between them, will talk about how critical books about Shakespeare and editions of early modern plays are selected, produced and marketed. From page layout to font, cover illustration to blurb, paratextual material to paper stock, they explore how the physical and cultural object is produced.
Will Sharpe, University of Leeds.
This paper seeks to take stock of, and issue with, some of the more supposedly terminal injuries editing has sustained in recent years. Much ink and ire has been spilt in defense of the opposing viewpoints that 'critical editions' - and by extension, critical editors - 'suck', on the one hand, and that such attitudes show little knowledge of (or human sympathy with) the practical problems facing editors or the realities of the book trade on the other. Critical editions continue to appear and don't seem to be going anywhere fast, so this paper will propose the need to continue to ask searching methodological questions which are difficult - or perhaps impossible - to answer regarding processes editors supposedly take for granted, while ceasing to abstract such critiques from the intensive and too readily undervalued labours of serious-minded and committed individuals. The paper will also seek to propose that a working knowledge of the apparatus and functions of modern scholarly editions should be a more routine methodological skill in Shakespeare studies undertaken at university level, an approach which seeks to empower the supposed victims of editorial choices rather than seeking to solve the problem by calling for the dismissal of the presumptuous editor silently making them on their behalf.
Panel leaders: Will McKenzie (Birkbeck, London) Theodora Papadopoulou (University of Cyprus)
Participants: Simon Palfrey (Brasenose College, Oxford University)
Richard Wilson (Cardiff University) Phil Davis (University of Liverpool)
Paul Edmondson (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust).
The aim of this panel is to bring together for discussion some of the contributors to the collection of essays Shakespeare and I (in press to be published by Continuum in early 2012).The book, part of Continuum’s innovative, provocative Shakespeare NOW! series, strives to advance a new, active, self-invested critical writing; it challenges its contributors and readers to explore their deepest, most intimate responses to the plays and poems. Shakespeare and I argues passionately that critical writing must assay the difficult task of articulating life-forging, life-changing effects of literary art: that these irreducibly personal, formative (and transformative) experiences are a legitimate, if not essential, object for critical writing.
The BSA conference provides an ideal forum for discussion of the book and the living, breathing kind of critical thought and practice it presents. The contributors to the book assembled here do not only consider how aesthetic experience’s fierce energy mocks feeble boundaries of ‘subject’ and ‘object’, ‘inner’ and ‘outer’, ‘play’ and ‘playgoer’, ‘text’ and ‘reader’; they have also, much more riskily, turned themselves ‘inside out’ by publishing in this avowedly autobiographical critical text something of their own sense and intuition of themselves. The panel seeks to explore the consequences of such a step. After presenting a small extract from their essay, the contributors will each be asked to reflect on the difficulties, lessons, even pleasures, of writing it. How did the exercise change their perspectives on Shakespeare, criticism or, indeed, on themselves? In the general discussion which follows, we would hope to stimulate a thoughtful discussion on the value of self-investment in any literary consideration of Shakespeare, and the new formal shapes for criticism that this might necessitate and entail.
The academic study of Shakespeare can sometimes destroy enjoyment of the tactile auditory and visual aspects of language in which children take delight. The workshop aims to help restore our pleasure in the non-semantic qualities of Shakespeare's language and explore the ways in which his plays provoke feelings in both actors and audiences. Its objectives are to banish the myth that Shakespeare’s language is difficult because it is four hundred years old:
· grow teacher confidence in the use of practical drama techniques
· share ideas, problems and strategies amongst teachers at all levels
· develop continuity in the Shakespeare experience from primary to tertiary levels of
· learn from primary and secondary teachers about the challenges which university researchers and teachers of Shakespeare should address
(10.00am -11.30 am, 12.00pm -1.30 pm, 2.30 pm -4.00 pm, Cavendish Colloquium Room) Jonathan Culpeper (Chair), Lancaster University, and Mireille Ravassat, Valenciennes University, France.
Participants: Carson Bergstrom, Peter Groves, José L. Oncins-Martínez, Michael Ingham, Jonathan Hope, Iolanda Plescia, Urszula Kizelbach, Russ McDonald, Giles Goodland, John Bigelow, Hugh Craig.
Respondent: Paula Blank.
The central aim of this seminar is to raise the profile of the study of the language of Shakespeare's texts. Despite a number of fairly recent works (e.g. Kermode 2000; Alexander 2004; Crystal 2008), the study of Shakespeare's language remains rather sparse compared with the voluminous literary criticism on Shakespeare. Furthermore, many of those works are highly specialised, focussing on a specific aspect of Shakespeare’s language (e.g. legal language) or drawing on a specific approach (e.g. classical figures of speech). Treatments of Shakespeare's language are in fact distributed rather thinly across various fields such as modern linguistics, philology, literary criticism, theatre studies and even computer studies or cognitive science. They lack a rallying point, and indeed a robust identity.
This seminar is designed to accommodate any paper whose central focus is the language of Shakespeare's texts and which aims to explicate how that language contributes to the styles, meanings, and/or effects of those texts.
Shakespeare’s use of the pun from the perspective of neuro-and-cognitive science.
Shakespeare’s extensive use of the pun continues to exercise critics and lay-readers alike. For some, the excessive punning signals Shakespeare’s radical and subversive approach to language and meaning; for others, the excessive punning mars and deforms his typically brilliant use of language. One commonly hears his use of the pun categorised as simplistic, as a low form of humour, as annoying, as a frustrating interference in the construction of meaning, as inimical to the dignity of poetry, as counterproductive to dramatic excellence, and the like. Equally, it provides humour, bright spots of intellectual fire, imaginative excess, complexity of meaning, unparalleled linguistic play, and the like. Essentially, then, criticism of the pun rarely moves beyond opinion, dubious speculation on its function and results, and assessments of its value based primarily on prejudices or one sort or another.
In this paper, I propose to look at Shakespeare’s use of the pun from the perspective of neuro-and-cognitive science, arguing from the premise that an understanding of neurological processes which occur when we experience a pun can provide more solid criticism about Shakespeare’s use of language. Taking my cue from Jonathan Hope’s recent reminder that the word pun was not even in currency during Shakespeare’s time, I want to emphasise that Shakespeare’s punning involved a wide range of figures of speech which belong within the category of linguistic experience broadly cognate with punning: these experiences span a complex range of emotional and intellectual reactions and responses. Moreover, as Hope points out, Renaissance punning was not always--in fact often was not--concerned to produce humour or laughter. Thus our modern sense of the pun as a use of language intending humour is particularly anachronistic. Indeed, modern investigation into humour by neuro-and-cognitive science tells us a great deal about the appeal of the pun in Shakespeare’s time. Neuro-mapping of our brain in action gives us some insight into the various areas of the brain which come into play when we experience humour. To this mapping knowledge we must add the further finding that we often laugh at things which are palpably not funny, that we do not respond to humour when alone in the same way as we do in company, and that many parts of the brain come into play which have nothing at all do to with humour but which do have to do with cognition, learning, pleasure, and reward, all of which activate when we experience ambiguity, contradiction, obscurity, similitude, and the like. Two different scenes--one from Romeo and Juliet and one from The Merchant of Venice--offer casebook examples of how Shakespeare’s use of the pun integrates surface and depth--indeed, effaces any distinction between them. The two examples should illustrate why we need to go beyond opinion, prejudice, and dubious speculation to try to establish more compelling critical arguments about Shakespeare’s use of language.
‘Changing the beat: did he deliberate?’
In Ravassat and Culpeper (2011) Peter Groves examines
lines of pentameter, in Shakespeare's plays, which are shared between two actors, and
which comprise fewer than ten
syllables. He presents reasons for thinking that these deviations are deliberate,
and that they often contain a "silent beat" that can aptly be filled
by a gesture. So what appear to be
exceptions to a general rule are not exceptions to the rule he is actually
There are no such short-lines in "Shakespeare's Sonnets". More than half of the lines are paradigms of iambic pentameter: "From fairest creatures we desire increase" (1.1). But approximately one line in three or four does requires a reader to "switch" a strong beat with an adjacent weak beat -- either by "reversing" within a foot, or by a "swap" between adjacent feet. Two early examples are: "Making a famine where abundance lies" (1.7); and "To eat the world's due by the grave and thee" (1.14). Groves has given reasons for thinking that Shakespeare switches beat between two adjacent syllables only when the beat on the next syllable "gets us back on track".
Under these constraints, there will be 28 permissible permutations of weak and strong beats in a line of iambic pentameter (plus an optional extra feminine ending). I will explain why. And I will argue that almost every one of these 28 permissible permutations can be found within "Shakespeare's Sonnets": and that this is evidence that Shakespeare was probably fully conscious of the rules that constrain the range of variations that can be found within the sonnets in this sonnet sequence.
Using OED Online to investigate aspects of Shakespeare’s Language.
My proposal is, in the relatively informal context of a seminar, to present a session on using OED Online as a tool for investigating aspects of Shakespeare’s language.
The new OED Online search-interface allows for searches restricted to, for instance, usages labelled as ‘regional’, ‘rare’, ‘colloquial and slang’ as well as ‘poetic and Literary’. In addition, searches can be restricted to ‘Language of Origin’, or other determinants of word-formation such as ‘Imitative’. Words or senses in which Shakespeare is recorded as the first user can also be searched.
For instance, a search of OED entries in which Shakespeare is cited as author, in which the origin of the word is ‘imitative’, gives 43 hits, including BLURT v., BOW-WOW int., and TIRRA-LIRRA n.
‘First quotation’ uses are of particular interest, since they show a use of a word that may have been particularly rare in Shakespeare’s time. It is possible to narrow sets of words like this further, to find for example ‘First quotation’ entries in which the word is not derived from English.
My presentation would go through this set in detail, looking closely at the potential pitfalls in this approach, distinguishing between re-edited ’Third Edition’ OED entries and those that have not been edited since the New English Dictionary.
Sisters under the skin: characters with different names and authors but deep stylistic affinities.
Dramatic characters are usually thought of as highly distinctive individual creations, but some of them share a great many characteristics, and perform very similar dramatic functions. Computational stylistics can help identify examples of these close kinships by analysing language profiles, such as the use of pronouns, modal auxiliaries, determiners, and conjunctions. This sort of analysis sees past the obvious features which differentiate characters – their names, genders, locations, immediate relationships and authors – to a level at which characters can be seen to occupy the same dramatic niche. Some of these pairings are foregrounded by long tradition, as in the case of the familiar types of the clever servant, the distracted lover, the angry old man, the scheming machiavel, and the vainglorious soldier, while others are well-disguised imitations or simply closely related characters generated by a similar plot need.
For this paper a corpus of two-hundred-plus plays of the period will be analysed to find characters from different plays who, from a purely linguistic point of view, are more or less identical. They may have different names and authors but they are as similar in the way they speak as Falstaff in Henry IV Part I and Henry IV Part 2, or Tamburlaine in Tamburlaine Part 1 and Tamburlaine Part 2. The nature and sources of the shared orientations which bring characters together across authorial boundaries will be discussed.
The paper extend s the author's work on the stances of Shakespeare's characters to a wider set of dramatists. It is intended as a specifically stylistic and broadly comparative perspective on the conference theme of surface and depth and outside and inside in Shakespeare.
Profiling Shakespeare's Pentameter.
When a poet writes in a sophisticated metre like iambic pentameter, he or she must make dozens of choices in every line, about the precise metrical pattern, about the prosodic instantiation of that pattern, about transitions between one line and the next, and so on. Some of these choices will be consciously made; others not (or not fully so). It is clear that a statistical analysis of some ideal subset of these choices would be enormously useful in such studies as poetic development, chronology of writing and attribution of authorship, all lively topics in the field of Shakespearean and Early Modern drama. For this reason, scholars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries spent uncounted hours in compiling tables of metrical statistics for Shakespeare and his contemporaries, but the project was abandoned when it became clear that for the most part writers were merely assembling elaborate records of their own subjective impressions. The chief problem was not that they didn't have computers, since computers cannot turn subjective data into objective descriptions: as IT people say, Garbage In, Garbage Out. The real problem was that these investigators all lacked (a) any sophisticated or systematic understanding of English phonology and syntax and (b) a meaningful theory of English metre. From the 1960s proponents of Russian Formalism such as Marina Tarlinskaja have offered metrical statistics that have at least addressed the first of these deficiencies, but their problem is that they still lack a theory of the metre: you cannot describe the metre of a line in purely linguistic terms, because it is not a purely linguistic object. In this paper I wish to demonstrate a model of forensic metrical and prosodic description which I think addresses these problems, and results in statistics that are as objectively replicatable as it is possible to be.
The very large textual surface: digital approaches to meaning
It is now possible to ‘read’ Shakespeare by processing the entirety of his work - indeed, the entire corpus of Early Modern Drama - through various software tools. These tools enable us to make comparisons between texts, genres and writers at a scale, and with a level of consistency, impossible for previous scholars. Digital approaches allow us to ‘read’ subtle shifts in high-frequency items, detect absences, and reveal complex patterns of similarity and difference.
But of course, this machine counting and statistical manipulation is not ‘really’ reading: it is rather the production of a new set of texts (columns of figures, graphical visualisations in two and three dimensions) which themselves require reading and interpretation, and which are themselves representations, not of ‘Shakespeare’s texts’, but of complex mathematical and statistical models which are, in some cases, quite literally, unimaginable (the multiple dimensions of PCA space, for example).
Digital Humanists, like other critics, find themselves therefore, not finding meaning ‘in’ Shakespeare, but making meanings by and with Shakespeare. The seductive, apparent objectivity of the graph or statistical table is no such thing. As Humanists, we should be comfortable with the notion that digital findings need to be ‘read’, and are interpretations, just as those of previous critics are.
The use of digital tools in humanist study thus poses profound philosophical and practical ethical questions: what is the relationship between ‘Shakespeare’s texts’, and the sets of figures that generate our tabular and graphical representations of them? What is the status of the ‘readings’ we derive from such representations? What degree of understanding of statistics and linguistics will future scholars need to employ digital tools effectively? How will this affect undergraduate and post-graduate teaching?
I will address, and illustrate, these issues, by way of a major collaborative digital humanities project currently underway between Strathclyde University, The Folger Shakespeare Library, and Madison-Wisconsin University.
Diachronic variables, proximity, and distance in the verse dramas of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
In this study of the language of late Elizabethan and Jacobean serious verse drama (tragedies and history plays), syntax and style are seen as resources for achieving immediacy or distance, situating the play in a national-historical past, or else in the contemporary socio-political framework. The empirical basis for this claim lies in a study of archaic versus innovative syntactic constructions. It is shown that around 1590 Shakespeare’s contemporaries made very frequent and syntactically unrestricted use of Verb Second in declaratives, and normally avoided do-support in interrogatives. In the period 1603-1613, however, verb-second was almost gone and do-support now accounted for around 50% of interrogative contexts. The language of Jacobean serious drama thus aligned itself very suddenly on the respective ambient linguistic norms, whereas around 1590 a deliberately archaic effect was created by retaining Middle English constructions that the vernacular had abandoned, or was in the process of doing so. It is argued that these syntactic preferences conveyed a stylistic effect suitable for representing distance/alterity, either with respect to the past, or to a foreign context: both perspectives played into late Elizabethan national identity concerns. Conversely, the adoption of contemporary linguistic norms in Jacobean high drama achieved an effect of proximity, allowing greater ‘here-and-now’ allusiveness to contemporary themes such as that of court intrigue. Shakespeare’s use of the constructions in question is shown to have been more conservative in the later period than that of his contemporaries.
‘All is true that is mistrusted’ or the pragmatic study of jealousy in Othello and The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare.
False or “mad” jealousy is the central theme in William Shakespeare’s Othello and The Winter’s Tale. Both Othello and Leontes, the protagonists of the plays, seem to have great difficulties distinguishing between the surface of things (or what they see) and the truth. Both can be classified as tragic figures, since they commit an error of judgment – due to a flaw in their nature (be it self-love or suspiciousness) they misjudge the situation and are easily led astray. In fact, dramatic irony, which is evidently present in the plays, can be exemplified by a pragmatic analysis of the two texts. It is interesting to observe that both characters are focused on saving face in front of others, not only to avoid criticism by the society (Leontes) but also to be able to cope with the wife’s supposed betrayal (Othello). Pragmatics helps establish the causes of the characters’ tragedy: Othello’s false jealousy is conceived by Iago’s infelicitous speech acts and develops only because Othello is unable to grasp Iago’s real intention in communication. On the other hand, Leontes in his obsession is looking for hidden meanings in things just to prove that he is right; his verbal behaviour abounds in examples of self-deceit. The aim of my paper is to define jealousy in pragmatic terms, for example: face, conversational implicature, felicity conditions.
Pretty rooms: the Shakespearean sonnet in context.
After some three decades in which literary study has been dominated by the relevant social contexts, the time has come to re-examine the formal properties that determine the effect of Shakespeare’s poetry. The sonnets in particular, grounded as they are in strict conventions of rhyme and meter, invite renewed attention to the poet’s observation and stretching of these conventions. This essay offers a look at artistic rather than social or political contexts, considering this species of poetry as a manifestation of the Elizabethan passion for patterns, the cultural devotion to what has been referred to as “the style that shows.” Specifically, I hope to demonstrate that the formal codes of the Shakespearean sonnet can be profitably studied in light of early modern English visual design, proposing that the pleasure derived from the experience of the sonnet is comparable to the rewards obtained from beholding and inhabiting works of architecture, gardens, furniture, visual ornaments, and other forms of physical construction.
The comparison properly begins with the earlier traffic between Italy and England. Both English poetry and English architecture of the sixteenth century owe an immense debt to the Italians: Petrarch, Castiglione, Alberti, Serlio, Palladio, and others. The arrival and growth of the sonnet in England is a product of this commerce. Francesco Petrarch had developed the form in Italy in the fourteenth century; the translations of Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, introduced it into England; and the imaginative experiments of Sir Philip Sidney and others in the 1580s and 1590s, especially after the publication of Astrophil and Stella in 1591, made it a surpassingly popular form. The discipline of architecture exhibits a similar stream of influence, as the practices of the Italians (and to a lesser extent the French) filtered into England mainly by means of books and effected a palpable change in the look of domestic architecture. In both cases, English artisans adapted the Continental models to take advantage of English settings (cool weather, pastoral landscapes) and English materials (a language with a greater range of consonants and vowels).
In the 1570s Sir William Cecil wrote to his colleague Sir Christopher Hatton to praise his impression of Holdenby, Hatton’s newly built house in Northamptonshire. Cecil particularly admired the initial approach: “I found a great magnificence in the front or front pieces of the house, and so every part answerable to other, to allure liking.” A survey of Elizabethan architecture indicates the general appeal of such linearity, of the geometric, the repetitious, the parallel. While adhering to a strict sense of line, the builders also indulge an impulse towards imaginative complexity within those rectilinear boundaries. Thus the greatest examples of Elizabethan construction depend upon a productive interplay between order and invention, line and flourish, the confined and the curious. Much the same may be said of the tension between formal limitation and imaginative expansion in Shakespeare’s sonnets. Studying the 1609 collection in the context of Elizabethan visual contexts helps to locate the work historically, revealing the poet as a practicing craftsman responsive to the artistic tastes and demands of his culture.
In Shakespeare’s plays –as it occurs in drama in general–, changes in the characters’ emotional frame of mind are very often caused by the news brought or communicated to them by other characters, such as messengers, servants, etc. In this kind of context, a number of metaphors are used by Shakespeare to refer figuratively to news –be they bad or good– which will differ depending on the effect they cause. Thus, words can be turned metaphorically into weapons –“These words like daggers enter in mine ears”, Hamlet III.iv)– but they can also be “fruitful tidings” for “ears that long time have been barren” (Antony and Cleopatra II.v ).
This paper – which is part of a larger project whose main objective is to explore the metaphors that underlie the giving and receiving of news in Shakespeare’s plays– reports on a survey of the words news and tidings. By concentrating on these two words, the paper seeks to show that even though both nouns are normally glossed in dictionaries as synonyms or near synonyms, the latter seems to be stylistically marked, as it often occurs in contexts in which water imagery seems to be evoked by the formal similarity of this term and others related to water.
Expressions of futurity in Shakespearean dialogue.
This paper takes its cue from an ongoing research project whose first output has been a stylistic reading of selected scenes from Act I of Macbeth, an example of Shakespearean dialogue that is particularly rich in modal expressions of futurity, specifically will and shall (contrasted with their distal forms, would and should). Literary commentary has often elaborated on the theme of ‘equivocation’ with regard to this play, a theme that seems to be mirrored linguistically by the fact that different values are assigned pragmatically to the modals in question, enabling diverse interpretations of the witches’ use of shall in their prophecy to Macbeth. While even early literary work on the language of the play has emphasized that “the whole play is future minded” (Berry 1958), a closer look at the expressions of futurity shows that residual modal values in will and shall, which were still strong in Shakespeare’s time and point to the subject’s involvement with the proposed state of affairs (the witches’ prophecy) rather than to a ‘pure future’, seem to be prevalent.
Moving on from this first case in point, I will attempt to broaden the scope of this analysis to other examples in the Shakespearean canon in which the subject’s involvement with the future and his/her own will, ability, and desire is communicated through the use of modal forms. While a diachronic perspective will emphasize the evolving/residual semantic values and the (newly grammaticalized) expression of futurity that shall/will are used to convey in Shakespeare’s language, these modals will be analysed in view of the specific pragmatic values they take on in the context of dramatic language as a mimetic form of dialogue, in which the categories of volition/obligation, prophecy/promise, real/unreal are constantly negotiated and redefined.
11.30-12.00 Coffee / Tea Faraday Lecture Complex
12.00-1.00 Panel Sessions and Workshops
Panel 27: Shakespeare and Optics (12.00 pm – 1.00 pm, Conference Centre Room 3)
Chair: Hilary Hinds
Nick Davis, Liverpool University.
The Richard II–Henry V sequence of plays offers the representation, theatrically realised as enactment, of a shift from pre-modern towards contemporary, later sixteenth-century social and political mentalities. I am not concerned with the historical accuracy of this account, but with its workings as a representation of change. Modernity as the plays conceive it seems to involve three primary disengagements, all of which might be seen as 'de-medievalisations'. (Shakespeare as received has, of course, done a lot to produce normative modern views of 'the middle ages'; the plays' cultural construction of this era is thus a relatively familiar one.) The disengagements – as disenchantments ('demagicings', Entzauberungen), formative of the modern – are (A) from acceptance of sacral monarchy, going with a shift towards more expedient conceptions of monarchy and political leadership, (B) from chivalric brotherhood, as projected especially in the mentality and behaviour of Hotspur, and (C) from spontaneous participation in community, as projected in the mentality of the tavern. This paper explores the idea that these disengagements are, in large measure, optically-conceived and -induced effects of distinct kinds.
M A Katritzky (Open University)
Many contemporary spectators are content to facilitate their experience of the “reality” of Shakespeare’s “fictional” plays in performance by tacitly accepting the transparency of their fourth wall. Shakespeare himself deploys a rich arsenal of strategies for transcending the transparency of his fourth wall. One particularly under-researched strategy allows him to acknowledge, comment on, even communicate with his audiences, by temporarily setting up specific characters to function as powerful mirrors of audience folly. Most obviously, perhaps, this occurs when Prince Aragon, in Merchant of Venice, reacts to his shocked reflection in the silver casket. I have identified this theme in many other plays, notably King Lear, Twelfth Night, and above all in the translated Bottom of Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Drawing on a newly emerging visual tradition based on late medieval trans-European literary conventions familiar to early modern audiences, but no longer recognized by most modern spectators, Shakespeare here metaphorically silvers over his fourth wall’s transparent surface, turning it into a mirror.
Panel 28: Lines and Ciphers in Shakespeare’s Histories (12.00 pm – 1.00 pm, Conference Centre Room 2) Chair: John Drakakis
Dr Pete Orford, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
What plain proceeding is more plain than this?
This paper explores the juxtaposition inherent in the title of the history plays: the contrast between history and play; chronicle and drama. In doing so it asks the question: how does the immediacy of the dramatic experience function against the underlying cultural frame of the historical backdrop, and can the two be satisfactorily conveyed at the same time?
To explore this, the paper focuses on Henry VI Part Two 2.2, where York’s lengthy exposition of his genealogical background forcefully interjects meditation of the historical framework into the temporary moment of the drama. The paper asks to what degree, if at all, the historical background should be brought to the foreground; to what extent this emphasis on the deeper narrative overwhelms the transitory lives of the protagonists; and how this in turn impacts both on the dramatic experience and our immediate reception of the plays.
Matthew J. Smith, University of California
O pardon, since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million,
And let us, ciphers to this great account,
On your imaginary forces work. (Prologue, 15-18)
In the Prologue of Henry V, the Chorus’s “crooked” (curved, bent) O shape before “pardon” here and in the first line of Henry V is a paradoxical symbol of emptiness and wealth. The double o’s of “crooked” just four words later insinuate a playful ownership of this paradox, with the “us” of line 17 perhaps also referring to the printed figures on the page that, like printed numbers, acquire value by adding “ciphers” (zeros) to them. In early modern England, a cipher was a conspicuous trope for visual nothingness. Figurative uses often adopted derogatory meanings. Ciphers are flatterers and hypocrites. Such is one meaning of the Chorus’s confession that drama is not real life, just merely a cipher, often understood to foreshadow King’s Henry’s revelation of the emptiness of monarchy’s “idol ceremony” and his confession that his authority is merely a cipher. The problem that has always haunted this interpretation of Harry as an iconoclast of ceremonial authority is its nearness to interpreting him also as an iconoclast of theatrical ceremony, as condemning all of the physical and ideal materials from which we get Henry V. Moreover, that the play is saturated with questions of ceremony makes the jump from Henry-as-iconoclast to Shakespeare-as-iconoclast all too easy, which fits unnervingly well into Stephen Gosson’s puritanical charge never to forget that a player is really a false cipher: “like to a Marchants finger, that standes sometime for a thousande, sometime for a cypher, and a Player must stand as his parte fals, sometime for a Prince sometime for a peasant.” For Gosson, and problematically for Shakespeare, the Chorus’s to “us” as ciphers might imply duplicity and emptiness.
Yet if we consider the “wooden O,” with “the girdle of these walls” and its “swelling scene,” then we can also take the “crooked figure” to be the Chorus player himself, his bending body and the curved mouth that enunciates O’s, as well as his environment and his voice (Prologue 13, 19, 4). In light of the paradox of this embodied cipher, what Bruce Smith calls a “semantic emptiness … [that] stands as testimony to … embodied fullness,” it is less plausible to view the Chorus’s cipher as a sincere, or even merely ironic, confession of vacancy. Put simply, the wooden cipher of the round theater is filled with things, sounds, and, significantly, the experiences of people. We would do well, then, to include cipher’s other noteworthy meaning. Besides being a zero, an encryption, and an empty symbol, a “cipher” is also an exposition. Especially in its use as a verb—“To cipher what is writ in learned books”—a cipher is also the key to a code; it supplies meaning where meaning is hidden. This latter meaning is notably positive rather than derogatory. In fact, ciphering a thing is often the opposite activity to iconoclasm. To cipher is to illuminate the substance of something that seems merely ceremonial. If Shakespeare has this meaning in mind in his treatment of monarchical as well as theatrical ceremony in Henry V, then we might expect something other than iconoclasm from its protagonist.
This paper will use an anti-iconoclast reading of Henry V to examine the relation between depth of character and the surfaces of theater. I argue that putting the audience’s “imaginary forces [to] work” in Shakespearean theater does not imply circumventing the phenomenal environment and physical conditions through which the deep things of theater occur—internal character, authenticity, transformation. Depth and superficiality appear simultaneously, at the same time and in the same environment, and in Elizabethan England this phenomenology provided some of the foundation for defenses of the playhouses’ moral value. In Henry V, Shakespeare presents ceremony as cipher-like, that is, as a conspicuous mediation of experience, both blamed and valued for its forthright lack of substance. And as a result, we can appreciate how the play’s ambient marginalia—its personnel, audience, and scaffolding—substantiate its deeper things in its unfurling, like adding zeroes to a number.
Panel 29: Digital Gateways to Shakespeare (12.00 pm – 1.00 pm, Conference Centre, Room 5) Chair: Erin Sullivan
Dr. Lucia Garcia Magaldi, University of Cordoba, Spain.
Many teachers of English as a foreign or second language around the world working with learners who are not native speakers are including adaptations of Shakespeare in their classrooms even though it is not compulsory and it is challenging both for teachers and students. Other teachers feel uncertain of the benefits of including Shakespeare on their syllabus and are concerned about the available resources, teaching strategies and potential difficulties faced by students. This is a pity because adaptations of Shakespeare offer teachers the opportunity of including extensive reading, culture and real language and literature content instead of short intensive texts, gap-filling exercises and dialogues based on dull and repetitive routine topics which many text books still offer.
This paper proposes a justification of why adaptations of Shakespeare constitute gateways into Shakespeare’s texts for foreign learners emphasizing the value and results of using these adaptations in non-native classrooms. The proposal includes practical activities and materials which have been used productively in the EFL class to promote linguistic, digital, social and cultural competence by means of the use of graded and adapted material as well as authentic extracts and Internet based resources and activities. An essential component of this proposal includes the use of audiovisual materials such as films and recordings, as well as performance and drama based activities.
How Do Adaptations or Retellings of Shakespeare Act As Gateways To and From the Text?
Poonperm Paitayawat, Royal Holloway.
Our digital age witnesses the multiplicity of textual and theatrical Shakespeare commodified to reach out to diverse groups of audience and in ways that would have never been imagined decades ago. Very often these two seemingly opposite features of text and performance converge as codified mixed media, which not only renders Shakespeare’s work its digital perpetuity but also controverts the more traditional approach to any reading of Shakespeare’s plays. This research paper will attempt to catch up with “Digital Shakespeare” and demystify these commercial, digital phenomena by (1) closely examining two very unique adaptations of Shakespeare’s King Lear that have recently been digitally re-circulated and (1) interrogating the ways each individual media form affects the reading of Shakespearean adaptations.
The case studies will include (1) Michael Grandage’s King Lear (2010-11) at London’s Donmar Theatre as broadcast live at the Odeon Cinema Covent Garden and (2) Manga Shakespeare: King Lear by Ave! Comics digitised as an iPhone and an iPad application. Each will be individually as well as comparatively assessed as performances and texts of Shakespeare’s King Lear in their own right. Not only that the research paper will problematise and de-problematise the means by which one can encounter digital Shakespeare but it will also map out the ways in which the digital text vis-à-vis performance can be envisioned, understood and utilised as derivative tools for progressive literary studies.
Panel 30: Inside Out Down Under (12.15 pm – 1.15 pm, Conference Centre Room 6)
Chair: Kathleen O’Leary. Please note: Papers in this panel have been reassigned to panels 10 (Megan Murray-Pepper) and 36 (Kornelia Taborska and Adam Mickiewicz) respectively.
Panel 31: Love’s Labour’s Lost (12.00 pm – 1.00 pm, Conference Centre Room 4) Chair: Liz Oakley-Brown
Ayako Kawanami, Gakuin University, Japan.
In the kingdom of Navarre where a strict law has been recently put in force, its citizens are required to abide by regulations like not seeing a woman, touching no food for ‘one day in a week’, and sleeping ‘but three hours in the night’. Costard is the first person who is reported to have broken the law and is decided on the case. Hauled before the king concerning the ‘matter’ of Jaquenetta, Costard gives a detailed explanation to his behavior with such ridiculous words as ‘manner and form’. In its course, words flesh out the ‘matter’ and start to shape its substance; in the exchanges between Costard and the king, for example, Costard changes the way of describing his beloved three times-damsel, virgin, maid-before identifying his ‘true girl’, Jaquenetta.
The logic of the Catholic Eucharist is that bread is transubstantiated into Christ’s body with the assistance of the words of prayer-in theological terms ‘matter’ (res) is miraculously transformed with ‘form’ (verba). The Eucharist is the ritual for remembering and repeating the Last Supper with the Crucifixion and Resurrection in mind. Through the ritual, moreover, the faithful believe in one and true God consisting of the Trinity-Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. Costard’s using of ‘matter’ and ‘form’ is a stark reminder of this Catholic ritual. But Shakespeare plays fast and loose with this ritual. As Berowne says, ‘the style shall give us cause to climb in the meriness’, Costard tries to attain the truth by combining three descriptions about his love on the one hand and unwittingly explores secular and material nuances in identifying his love on the other hand. Moreover, Costard plays fast and loose with his punishment and repentance (a version of the Crucifixion and Resurrection), as he says, ‘I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge’, in the face of the pronounced sentence for having a wench.
I would like to suggest that all the lovers in Love’s Labour’s Lost are involved with Shakespeare’s transformed version of the ritual. For one thing, Berowne’s miscarried sonnet to Rosaline is at the mercy of Holofernes’ meticulous scrutiny. According to Holofernes, it is ‘a letter to a sequent of the stranger queen’s, which accidentally, or by the way of progression, hath miscarried’. In dining ‘at the father’s of a certain pupil’, Holofernes’ will ‘gratify the table with a grace’ through a discussion on Berowne’s sonnet. The careful choice of such terms as ‘table’, ‘dine’, and ‘father’ contributes to evoking the idea of the Lord’s Supper. In this context, ‘accidentally’ may be aware of the theologically technical word referring to material qualities remaining in the sacramental bread and wine in transubstantiation. Holofernes may well imply that Berowne’s sonnet lacks in exploring the material and the corporal.
In this paper, I am going to explore the way that the almost discarded sonnets are fleshed out and given new life at Act 4, Scene3 in the context of Shakespeare’s version of the Eucharist, in which Shakespeare plays fast and loose with sacred and secular, spiritual and material, one and many, and so on. What emerges through this analysis is a subtle exposition of ambiguous feelings of lovers rather than the playwright’s secret comments on the contemporary religious polemics.
Daniel Cadman, Sheffield Hallam University.
The question of what exactly Love’s Labour’s Lost has to say about the French Wars of Religion is one that has long puzzled critics. This paper argues that there is scope for comparing this play with Mary Sidney’s neo-Senecan drama, Antonius, a translation of Marc-Antoine by the French dramatist Robert Garnier. Both texts are influenced by interests in French politics and Sidney’s play is a product of the same kind of academic culture explored in Shakespeare’s play through Navarre’s attempts to establish a ‘little academe’ in which the aristocratic household becomes, amongst other things, a performance space. I intend to show that reading these two texts alongside one another will reveal much about the nature of English interests in French political affairs and that Shakespeare’s play is just as interested in evaluating the various ways of engaging in debates about the religious wars as it is in the implications of the events themselves.
Peter J. Smith and Alison Findlay (Chair) in discussion with Barrie Rutter, David Thacker, Helena Kaut-Howson
This round-table discussion with directors who have much experience of directing outside the capital, will consider both the cultural and practical aspects of producing Shakespeare for audiences outside London and Stratford by addressing the following questions:.
What are the difficulties and benefits associated with producing / directing Shakespearean theatre outside what might be called the central zones (London and Stratford)?
Is there such a thing as a regional audience for Shakespeare?
How is a production inflected when it tours across several regions?
How might a theatre company associate itself with a particular city or region?
Are there particular difficulties getting London-based actors to perform?
Are there particular difficulties getting London-based journalists to review?
1.00 – 2.00 LUNCH Hot and Cold buffet served in the Conference Centre
2.00-3.30 Panels and Workshops
‘Language and Style Seminar’ (Continued) (2.30 pm – 4.00 pm, Cavendish Colloquium Room)
Panel 33: Self-Representation and Self-Government (2.00-3.30 pm, Conference Centre Room 5) Chair: Stephen Curtis
Eoin Price, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
This paper will examine the concept of privacy in Renaissance political thought, and specifically, the way two plays, with similar plot structures, represent privacy as having a political function. It begins by considering Thomas Middleton’s The Phoenix, in which the son of the Duke of Ferrara travels disguised among the people, revealing and going some way towards correcting, the corruption which has caused the city to fester. In particular, I consider the Duke’s declaration that ‘Things private are best known through privacy’ (1.73). Here Middleton plays upon several senses of ‘privacy’ which I investigate and use as a lens through which to view Measure for Measure. Fundamentally, in The Phoenix privacy is seen as a political necessity: without the Prince’s intervention Ferrara would fall to utter corruption; in Shakespeare’s play, it is an option, pursued by an ambivalent Duke, with arguably mixed results. The paper approaches the issue of surface and depth since both plays are concerned with the relationship between outward appearance and hidden reality and both utilise disguise. It attempts to come to terms with the way in which drama mobilises political ideas about publicity and privacy and articulates anxieties over the relationship between privacy and power in Jacobean England.
Miryana Dimitrova, University of London.
Caesar’s use of the third person to refer to himself in Shakespeare’s play is often treated as a clear sign of the character’s kingly detachment, akin to the royal ‘we’. However, as my presentation would argue, the use of third person in the play is not unprecedented and reflects a fundamental aspect of Caesar as a character in history and epic; moreover, it should be taken as an evidence for the performative mode Shakespeare’s Caesar is operating in. Through a consideration of the patterns of interchange between ‘I’ and ‘Caesar’ in the play, I would aim to reveal a complex, conscious process of performance experienced by Caesar, which eventually would turn the conspirators’ world inside out.
In order to elucidate the origins of Caesar the performer, the presentation will reflect on precursor texts, often neglected because of the prominence given to Amyot/North Plutarch: Caesar’s "Commentaries", presented entirely from the third person perspective, and Lucan’s epic Bellum Civile, in which Caesar, not unlike Shakespeare’s character, emphasizes his own name.
Dr Jessica Dyson, University of Portsmouth.
Hamlet tells his mother (and his audience) that his madness is superficial; he is merely ‘mad in craft’ (3.4.204). This apparently pretended madness is set alongside Ophelia’s seemingly more genuine mental breakdown. In her actions, the surface is clearly representative of a depth of feeling; in Hamlet’s madness the relationship between surface and depth is more complex. Whilst he may be acting madness to protect himself and avoid suspicion, Hamlet’s ‘antic disposition’ (1.5.192) can be seen as a performance that at once conceals and reveals his true state; it an outward sign of a deeply felt inner mental and emotional turmoil.
Shifting between a discussion of the representations of genuine insanity and its causes and the construction of discourses of madness, this paper will explore the meaning of the ‘antic disposition’ in relation to notions of justice and injustice in Hamlet, The Duchess of Malfi and The Queen’s Exchange. I will argue that as the seventeenth century progresses, and ideas of absolute monarchy come to be increasingly questioned through assertions of the reasoned principles of common law, the attribution of madness shifts in drama from those who have suffered injustice to those who are the perpetrators of it. In this way, these plays search below the seemingly ordered surface of their societies (both the internal play world and the external, contemporary society of their production) to explore and expose the disorderly antics beneath.
Panel 34: Women and Bewitchment (2.00 pm – 3.30 pm, Conference Centre Room 1)
Chair: Eleanor Rycroft
Sibylle Baumbach, University of Mainz.
‘Thou shalt / Go back, I warrant thee; but I’ll catch thine eyes‘ – Cleopatra’s looks are captivating while remaining elusive: the Egyptian queen, one of Shakespeare’s most fascinating female characters, indeed beggars description insofar as her physical beauty is not de-, but merely circumscribed, as suggested by Enobarbus’ ekphrastic account. Concealed in Shakespeare’s word scenery, yet revealed on the stage, Cleopatra’s face gains a fascinating quality, which arises from the tension between sight and visibility – a tension which becomes particularly prominent in Shakespeare’s representation of faces and the translation of facial features through both words and performance and which lies at the core of the art of fascination that this paper sets out to explore.
As I will argue, fascination plays an important part in Shakespeare’s drama where it is used both to draw attention to the captivating power of surfaces, as in the case of Cleopatra, and to surpass this power, as suggested by Othello’s captivating stories which infatuated Desdemona. Even though words were granted some potential of attraction, fascination operates primarily on the visual level. As such it became closely connected to witchcraft and the power to possess and enthral through the gaze. This paper sets out to explore Early Modern concepts of fascination in Shakespeare’s drama and examine the modes and strategies of attraction (and, as it were, repulsion) which are at work in his plays. As I will try to show, the art of fascination in Shakespeare’s drama is not only negotiated (and contested) in its connection to witchcraft, but also emerges as dramatic technique, which might add a new perspective to the relationship between surface and depth in Shakespeare’s plays.
Jessica L. Malay, University of Huddersfield.
The three “weird” sister of Macbeth have long been considered as manifestations of contemporary witch figures and there is certainly some justification given their representation within the play which clearly builds upon descriptions of witches in the discourse of the period. However, this “surface” identification belies a much more complex engagement with these figures that would be much more apparent to contemporary audiences than to modern ones. The three women who prophesy to Macbeth are, in other contexts, identified as Sibyls—called such in Mathew Gwinne’s representation of them in “Tres Sibyllae” (1605); and presented visually as such, in the woodcut of them in antique dress in Holinshed’s Chronicles (London, 1577). Shakespeare’s portrayal of the long revered Sibyls as witch or demonic figures demonstrates his discomfort and suspicion of prophetic that he generally exhibits in his plays. This discomfort is in accort with a more general anxiety emerging in the first decade of the seventeenth century relating to prophecy and prophetic figures.This paper will explore Shakespeare’s complex relationship with the Sibyls and their prophesies, examining how cultural anxieties informs his characterization of the three women as witch figures.
Marion Wynne-Davies, University of Surrey.
In this paper I intend to revisit my essay on Titus Andronicus, `The Swallowing Womb: Consumed and Consuming Women in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus' (first published 1990; rpt in the Casebook, Shakespeare’s Tragedies,1998), in order to explore the ways in which female sexuality is constructed as destabilizing and dangerous. Using theories of liminality and the abject, I intend to read the play in terms of the inside/outside dialectic that is the chosen theme of the conference. In so doing I intend to refer to the 1987 RSC production directed by Deborah Warner and the1999 film version directed by Julie Taymor. The female body and how, at the moment of breaching, it threatens social constructs will be examined through text and image.
Panel 35: Histories and Performance Histories (2.00 pm – 3.30 pm, Conference Centre Room 2) Chair: Stuart Hampton Reeves
Andrew Hiscock, Bangor University.
This paper will reflect upon the ways in which Shakespeare’s History Plays of the 1590s may be seen to engage with lively contemporary debates in print culture concerning status and function of a militarised society. However, equally significantly, it will also specifically address the ways in which early modern understandings of memory are encountered in these plays – indeed, how vigorous forces of repression are summoned not only against adversaries within and without English society, but against the unwieldy forces of memory itself.
The History plays are deeply exercised by the attempts of warring elites to lay claim to the future of the nation and to ownership of its past. Indeed, Shakespeare repeatedly depicts elite figures in war-torn societies who, in a bid for legitimation, are determined to silence the moral and political exemplarity embedded in the past and to police rigorously the reflex to retrieve national histories for present consumption.
In the course of discussion, this paper will compare and contrast the ways in which the past is communicated, edited and stifled in Shakespeare’s History Plays composed across the length of the final decade of the sixteenth, and reflect upon the competitive nature of remembering itself in dramatised societies enduring the dual threats of moral and political collapse.
Imke Pannen,University of Bonn, Germany.
When Michael Boyd chose to direct Shakespeare’s monumental cycle of the eight history plays known as the Lancaster and the York tetralogies with the title “The Histories” as part of the Complete Works Season at Stratford, he made some bold decisions in the choice of his doublings of characters.
Most interesting are the decisions to cast the same actor for Richard II and Richard III (Jonathan Slinger) but just as interesting proves the doubling of Bolingbroke, i. e. Henry IV especially in Richard II and Richard, Duke of York (Clive Wood) in the Henry VI plays. With both doublings, a grandeur and power is achieved which is forfeited again, if only in mind. For example, Bolingbroke’s Machiavellian success as a pragmatic politician is not reached by the Duke of York, though his ambition is at least as far-reaching as that of his distant relative.
This paper would like to analyse the effect of these casting choices and interpret the value of their intertextual references and analyse how similar and yet how different those characters are. I would like to address the question whether through these doublings not only new challenges are set for the actors but whether a certain mirror effect is evoked by these staged performances which sheds new light on the characters in the built-up to the Wars of the Roses.
Lee Rooney, University of Liverpool.
According to Graham Holderness, Shakespeare’s histories should be considered works of historiography in their own right. These plays do not, as had been suggested by the likes of E. M. W. Tillyard and Lily B. Campbell, present a superficial mirror image of Elizabethan England, but rather they reconstruct a distinctly distant past. They seek to probe the hidden mechanics of history and the unseen forces that act upon the process of its creation, turning it inside-out and revealing its secrets. This paper will attempt to demonstrate how, in 1 and 2 Henry IV, the appropriation (or sometimes refusal) of prophetic signifiers — those things that contain or signify foreknowledge, such as prophecies, signs, and omens — into various ideological schemes enforce meaning on the twists and turns of recorded historical narrative.
Panel 36: Ritual Violence (2.00 pm – 3.30 pm, Conference Centre Room 6)
Chair: Liz Oakley-Brown
Graham Atkin, University of Chester.
This paper will focus on the stage property of the empty box in Timon of Athens. Timon sends his servant with the empty box to his friend, expecting that his friend will fill it with money for him. The friend mistakenly thinks that Timon has sent a gift. In this paper I will explore the staging of the scene and the central importance of the empty box as an emblem of friendship in action. On the surface the box seems to indicate Timon’s continuing generosity, but once the inside of the box is revealed, showing that nothing is contained, the box emblematically stands for Timon’s desperate need of his friend’s support. The true friend is required to fill the box. The episode will be linked to Timon’s banquet, when he reveals bowls of water (and stones) where a sumptuous feast was expected.
"Timon of Athens (1606?) and Timon (1602?): Ritualistic Violence and Rhetorical Violence; When is Misanthropy not Misanthropy?"
Steve Orman, Canterbury Christ Church University.
This paper investigates the ‘shallow’ violence in William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton’s Timon of Athens (1608?) and how Timon is represented as a misanthrope who problematically ‘lacks’ in portraying an authentic display of emotional violence, evident in the banquet scene and in his subsequent isolation. In contrast, Timon (1602?) written by students at the Inns of Court in London, often billed as a ‘comedy’ displays an alarming amount of violence and hostility from its titular protagonist who performs ritualistically in his outpouring of emotion; here is a Timon who is misanthropic and misogynistic. So what does one make of Shakespeare’s ‘controlled’ masculine violence, especially if we do accept Joseph Quincy Adams Jr’s assertion from 1910, that the Inns of Court Timon “was written for performance by school boys” (510)? Shakespeare’s Timon simulates violence in a controlled masculine way. Timon from the Inns of Court play speaks with raw aggression in his unmanly passion. His misanthropy is, however, sincere. Violence becomes not only gendered in both plays but doubly contradictory; emasculating and empowering. Could ritualistic violence, in the form of festivity (ie: banqueting) be doubly simulated, that is ‘boy-ed’ as well as purely simulated for spectacle, effectively losing all intentional violence? When does early modern violent masculinity become ‘hollow’ and ‘empty’ in its performance, effectively commodifying the violence into a product to be thrust before the audiences eyes? Can early modern individuals ‘see’ beyond the simulated violence of the banqueting ritual, or are they an implicit member of the sensorial feast, consuming emotion with gluttony and without relish? Exploring these ideas, the paper seeks to address why Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens is ‘comic’ and the Inns of Court Timon ‘tragic’ in their ritualistic representations of ‘sham’ and ‘authentic’ emotions and violence.
Kornelia Taborska, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland.
The cultural authority of Shakespeare has been less and less connected with the British shores for some time now. The ‘other’ Shakespeares have challenged the idea of an authoritative canon and the reception of this canon. They pose questions about the cultural appropriations of the Bard in relation to texts, bodies and sites they employ (Trivedi, 2003). Through those three ingredients the, specific for each film production, meaning is explored and the problems of the play presented in a particular dimension. This paper examines two film adaptations of The Merchant of Venice (Michael Radford’s 2004 and Don Selwyn’s 2002 productions) coming from two different regions of the world and made in cultures which share a colonial past and a place in somewhat displaced Shakespeare’s cultural diaspora. It analyses the adaptations’ impact on the Bardouvre cultural status and points to the issue of global and local Shakespeare on film, delves into the problems of this distinction but, most of all, examines how Trivedi's trinity is applied to highlight particular elements of the play in both films. The closer examination of the above mentioned matters may contribute to the debate on popularizing the Bard’s plays through media and its scope.
Panel 37: Hamlet (2.00 pm – 3.30 pm, Conference Centre Room 4)
Thea Buckley, Shakespeare Institute.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet highlights the contrast between surface seeming and deeper reality. This dichotomy is exemplified in the promotional poster for John Barton’s 1980-81 RSC production of the play; the image juxtaposes lead actor Michael Pennington’s face with a theatre mask rather than the archetypical skull. This paper argues that this inversion of inner core to outer facial covering functions as Barton’s visual metaphor for Hamlet’s multiple, self-reflective layers. Barton’s vision of the relationship between depth and surface in Hamlet as metatheatrical mirror was not confined to this lone graphic but extended to all aspects of the production, conceptualized to better exploit the play-metaphor. In reflecting on the actions a man might play, Barton’s Hamlet turned the stage world inside out, blurring the boundaries between theatrical illusion and surrounding reality, with implications for the self-examination of both performer and audience.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jürgen Meyer, Institute for English and American Studies
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.
The hostile opposition of Prince Hamlet and King Claudius creates two irreconcilable parties who express their loyalty to their leaders in particular ways, and who construct a mutually exclusive group of “in-mates” and outcasts. Particularly interesting is the employment, and semiotic over-determination, of the concept “truancy” which emerges as a formative element in the conflict. The negotiations over “loyalty” and “truancy” frame the whole play, with an emphasis on the first two acts, before at the end the feudal concept of loyalty is arguably restored in the re-installation of the “word as bond” (cf. Canfield 1989: 233-4).
I will further suggest that the two Hamlet Quartos, in a range of equivalent scenes, construct differently charged political force-fields, and that Q2 is characterized by a much more subtly, and yet more intensely constructed rift between the King’s and his nephew’s parties.
University of York and York St John University.
Hamlet argues that the ‘purpose of playing’ is to hold ‘the mirror up to Nature, to show Virtue her feature, Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure’ (3.2.20-24). In 1989, in the immediate aftermath of the Tiananmen student protests, the Lin Zhaohua Theatre Studio devised a production of Hamlet which presented Hamlet as a contemporary urban Chinese for the first time. To me, as a European, it is easy to read this appropriation as political allegory. After all, in the totalitarian regimes of late communist Eastern Europe, the mise-en-scene of Shakespeare productions took on particular significance, because as Kennedy argued, these canonical foreign plays became perfect vehicles by which to ‘convey secret messages’ to their audiences (1993). Often, as scripts for upcoming productions were scrutinised and controlled by the censors, the scenography – the visual surface of the play – silently conveyed to the audience that the production was actually to be read as a critique of its own contemporary society, rather than an evocation of a neutral and distant time and place. Yet Lin Zhaohua and Chinese academics vociferously deny that parallels can be found in their spoken theatre of the same time period. In this paper, I will draw on my recent research in China, including my conversations with the director and others in Chinese academia, to begin to unpack contemporary Chinese theatre’s complex rejection of the ‘political’ in its rhetoric, and how this in itself can be seen as part of the intellectual struggle to come to terms with the post-1989 economic boom and ideological void. Through the act of visually and structurally reconfiguring Hamlet, what was it that the Lin Zhaohua Theatre Workshop was trying to convey?
Panel 38: Sympathy (2.00 pm – 3.30 pm, Conference Centre Room 3)
Chair: Bob White
Richard Meek, University of Hull.
The last ten years have seen a resurgence of interest in Shakespeare’s treatment of the passions, and in particular the physiological and humoral aspects of emotion in the early modern period. We have also seen a number of performance-centred studies that attempt to use cognitive theory to explore the emotional and embodied responses of theatrical audiences. In this paper I adopt a slightly different approach, and examine the representations of sympathy within Shakespeare’s works, and the wider questions about imitation that this phenomenon opens up. The philosopher Alessandro Giovannelli has recently argued that we are more able to respond to people and situations when we can ‘picture that person’s experience in our imagination’. He also makes a distinction between a purely cognitive perception of suffering, and an experiential perception of another person’s grief. The present paper will argue that Shakespeare’s works explore the relationship between these two models of sympathy; Shakespeare not only presents us with powerful dramatic spectacles, but also has his characters describe instances of sympathetic exchange and identification, which the audience has to picture in their imaginations. The paper will also trace the development of the term sympathy in several early Shakespearean texts, including Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, Romeo and Juliet, and Titus Andronicus. It will culminate in a discussion of Richard II and its intertexts, focusing on Richard’s description of a ‘lamentable tale’ that will be told about him in the future, which will ‘send the hearers weeping to their beds’ (5.1.44-5). In this speech Richard uses the term sympathize to mean ‘to answer or correspond to’; yet the fact that this moment describes the compassion of a figured audience suggests that Shakespeare may have played an important role in reshaping and modifying the meaning of the term. More generally, the paper will argue that such moments highlight the extent to which sympathy in the period is frequently bound up with larger debates about mimesis and representation.
Zhiyan Zhang, University of Exeter.
When Hamlet claims that his grief cannot be truly denoted by superficial ceremony which is broadly seen as mere show, Cordelia’s love also fails to be expressed by language which is abused and corrupted by her evil sisters. In a world, where ceremonies and language are estranged from interior truth they mean to show and thus are corrupted, Hamlet and Cordelia choose to keep integrity of their interior truth and exterior show by claiming the inexpressibility of their interiority.
This paper argues that feeling belongs to a realm of quality which cannot be analyzed and manipulated like an object and measured by objects belonging to a realm of quantity. Cordelia’s nothing is “no-thing” that can be seen and calculated in the realm of quantity, but a thing that can proliferate and be felt by the heart. It also argues interior truth in both plays is accessible by synthetic sense, especially synthetic feeling rather than analytic senses. “Within” and “Nothing” are refusals of being materialized, measured, confined, copied, anatomized and corrupted, and they are also flags of individualism, emotionalism and authenticity. “Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say” is a declaration of feeling truth from the heart as well as an attitude towards history writing in a world full of fluid change and crisis of identity. In pointing out the estrangement of surface from truth, Shakespeare could also imply that to see the truth of history, we should also feel the truth from the page and the stage he constructed.
Ann Kaegi, University of Hull.
Richard III is killed on the battlefield moments after crying out for a horse, but to what extent is he wept from power before he is swept from power by force of arms? This paper examines the political significance of the sympathy of woe generated by women’s voices and tears in Shakespeare’s play. Early modern resistance theorists supplied various justifications for tyrannicide and assigned to different political agents a right—and duty—to disobey or (more rarely) violently resist a tyrant. Excluded from consideration in this political debate, women and emotional empathy nonetheless figure centrally in Shakespeare’s political drama. What role do women’s voices and tears play in Richard’s deposition and death? What are the wider implications of Shakespeare’s incorporation of female complaint into the representation of tyranny and the staging of tyrannicide in the quarto and folio versions of Richard III?
Panel 39: ‘Clowning’ Workshop and paper (2.00 pm – 3.30 pm, Studio A29 LICA Building)
Chair: Steve Longstaffe
Dr Stephen Purcell, University of Warwick.
The two surviving texts of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus (1604 and 1616) differ from each other most markedly in their clowning scenes, and a number of theories have been put forward to explain this. With actors from The Pantaloons theatre company, this workshop will use these texts in order to explore the relationship between clowning and text in early modern drama.
Elizabeth Ford, Cardiff University.
It is generally accepted that the clown role of Launce in The Two Gentlemen of Verona was added to the play for the actor Will Kemp. Kemp/Launce operates chiefly in the intermediate space of the on-stage area identified by Robert Weimann as the ‘platea’, and is associated by most critics with the residual features of festive ‘clownage’ still at large in the early 1590s. But along with his ‘cur’, Crab, Launce also acts as a burlesque parallel to the themes of love and friendship in the wider play. The role, therefore, explores but also joins the liminal space of performance between stage and yard in popular Elizabethan theatre, providing Shakespeare with a ludic prototype for a host of clowns and fools to come. Kemp’s Launce instils Shakespeare’s first comedy with an experimental performative edge – one which shines through Ralph Crane’s literary mediation of the play for inclusion in the First Folio. In this paper, I will show how the only early extant text of the work captures Kemp’s performance, and how the transitory and evolving spaces of clown and author can be glimpsed behind the Folio’s static textuality.
3.30-4.00 Coffee / Tea served Faraday Lecture Complex
Plenary VI: (4.00 pm – 5.00 pm, Faraday Lecture Theatre)
Professor Jean E. Howard, George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities Columbia University
Chair: Liz Oakley-Brown
It is a commonplace that Richard II juxtaposes the pragmatic politics of Henry Bolingbroke and Richard II's poetic dramatizations of his inner life. In this paper, besides in Richard II, I want to explore the link between affect and politics in several English history plays including Anthony Munday's The Downfall and The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington and Shakespeare's 2 Henry IV In the Munday plays, like a figure from Drayton's Heroical Epistles, Huntington laments, grieves, and complains, assuming a feminized position at odds with the received tradition of Robin Hood active in his own revenge and in the service of a distant King. Yet the pathos created by Huntington's self-dramatization is central to the play's complicated political engagement with questions of tyranny and political resistance. In Shakespeare's play, I want to engage with the Hal who weeps/almost weeps/talks of weeping/is reported to weep to argue that Shakespeare is self-consciously addressing the impossibility of separating affect from a politics of princely self-presentation.
Closing Plenary: (6.00 pm – 7.00 pm, The Duke’s Theatre, Lancaster)
Professor Stanley Wells and Dr Paul Edmondson Stand Up for Shakespeare as the Author of his Works.
Provoked in part by Roland Emmerich's film Anonymous, Professor Stanley Wells and Dr Paul Edmondson are leading an ambitious and vigorous campaign on behalf of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in defence of Shakespeare's authorship of his works. In this entertaining and informative presentation they will discuss the rise of the phenomenon of anti-Shakespearianism, demonstrate its fallacies, and propose some strategies to counteract it.