SHAKESPEARE in Italy
“summer’s lease hath all too short a date”
You are invited to spend a week with
Shakespeare in Florence, exploring his work,
his engagement with Italy and the
Renaissance contexts of his work. Sessions
will be held at the British Institute of Florence
in the Palazzo Lanfredini and will include
playreadings, lectures on Renaissance
iconography, classical mythology and maps,
as well as excursions to the Uffizi gallery and
No prior experience is necessary; all welcome!
Dates: 13th – 17th May 2013
Convener: Dr Victoria Bladen, The University of
Limited to 20 places.
Cost: 500 euros or 400 euros for full-time
students. (10% discount for payment by 30
Monday 13th May:
10am-12 - Introduction to Shakespeare: This
introductory session will look at Shakespeare’s life, the public theatres, and the
historical, political, and religious contexts of early modern England.
2pm – 5pm – Shakespeare and Rome: How does
Shakespeare imagine Rome in his work? What did Rome mean for his early
modern audience? This session will include readings of excerpts from Titus
Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra and the poem The Rape of
Tuesday 14th May:
10am – 12 – Myth and iconography: This session will
look at the engagement with classical mythology in Renaissance and Baroque
art. What were the most popular myths from Ovid’s Metamorphoses for artists
and writers and how were they depicted? We will also look at excerpts from
Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis and the iconography of Botticelli’s Birth of
Venus and Primavera in preparation for the Uffizi gallery visit.
2pm – 5pm – Excursion to the Uffizi gallery
Wednesday 15th May: Shakespeare and Venice
10am – 12: This session will explore The Merchant of Venice with
readings of excerpts from the play and consideration of the relevant historical
and religious contexts including: how Venice was imagined, Judaism and
attitudes to usury.
2pm – 5pm: The afternoon session will begin by looking at medieval
and Renaissance maps and how early moderns conceived of the world and
different human races. We will then look at some excerpts from Othello, set in
Venice and Cyprus.
Thursday 16th May:
10am – 12: Shakespeare and the Natural
World This session will look at Shakespeare’s engagement with nature. His
work is full of natural imagery and metaphors; gardens and forests are used to
create evocative spaces in which episodes of the plays are set while trees and
plants often function as political metaphors or to express personal attributes of
characters. This session will also look at the symbolism and iconography of
trees and gardens in the Renaissance in preparation for our visit to the Boboli
2pm – 5pm – Excursion to the Boboli garden
Friday 17th May: Shakespeare and Love
10am – 12: This session will explore Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s
well known tragic love story, set in Verona. We’ll be doing some readings of
excerpts from the play and focusing on Shakespeare’s language in articulating
the excesses of passionate love.
2pm – 5pm: For our final session we’ll be looking at Shakespeare’s
sonnets, reading a selection and exploring the writer’s ideas of immortality
About the presenter:
Dr Victoria Bladen teaches in Shakespeare and early modern literature at The
University of Queensland, Australia and has published three Shakespearean text
guides in the Insight Publications (Melbourne) series: Romeo and Juliet (2010), Julius
Caesar (2011) and Henry IV Part 1 (2012), as well as articles in the French
Shakespeare on Screen series (The Roman Plays, Hamlet and Othello (forthcoming)).
She has published on tree and garden imagery in the poetry of Andrew Marvell, on
representations of Zeus in early modern culture and is currently working on a book
project The Tree of Life in the Early Modern Imagination, based on her doctoral
research. Victoria is co-editing the Macbeth on Screen volume and is on the editorial
board for the Shakescreen in Francophonia project in France. She has presented
conference papers in Australia, New Zealand and France, and convenes the annual
Shakespeare Summer School programme at The University of Queensland, Australia.
In 2011 she was a recipient of a Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Travel Award for the
World Shakespeare Congress in Prague. In 2013 she will be a presenting an invited
paper at The University of Ferrara, Italy, on Shakespearean quotations in Australian