Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sanctifying the Bourgeosie: The Cultural Work of 'The Comedy of Errors.'

Richard Strier
Frank L. Sulzberger
Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of English
University of Chicago

Columbia University Shakespeare Seminar
Meeting at the Columbia University Faculty House
Friday, October 12, 2007
Cocktails 5:00-6:00; Dinner 6:00-7:00; Meeting commences shortly after 7:00

Details: Adam G. Hooks at

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shakespeare and Derrida Conference 29th September

Cardiff University is hosting a one-day conference on Shakespeare and Derrida on 29th September. Speakers include Helene Cixous, Christopher Norris, Nicholas Royle and Richard Wilson. Full details can be downloaded from the conference website at

Towards the end of his life Jacques Derrida wrote how he would have liked to have 'become (alas, it's pretty late) a "Shakespeare expert",' and that his desire would remain 'to read and write in the space or heritage of Shakespeare, in relation to whom I have infinite admiration and gratitude.' The aims of this conference are to commemorate the elective affinity between the French philosopher and English dramatist, to consider the importance of Shakespeare for Derrida's thinking, and to project ways in which Derrida's work might influence the future understanding of Shakespeare's plays. Shakespeare critics have been slow to acknowledge the implications for Hamlet studies of Derrida's Specters of Marx, while a recent highly-regarded biography of the philosopher never once mentions Shakespeare. The organisers of this Cardiff conference hope that by bringing Shakespeareans and philosophers together the event will end this mutual indifference and signpost ways in which for Shakespeare and Derrida the best is yet to come.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Columbia Early Modern Seminar

The Columbia Early Modern Seminar is delighted to welcome Melissa
Sanchez (Pennsylvania) on Tuesday October 2. Melissa E. Sanchez
received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. She
studies and teaches sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English
literature and history, and she is particularly interested in
gender studies, political theory, and classical and medieval
influences on Renaissance thought. She has been an Andrew W.
Mellon Fellow at the Huntington Library, and her articles have
appeared in Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Sidney Journal, the
Huntington Library Quarterly, English Literary History, English
Literary Renaissance, and Studies in Philology. Her current book
project, entitled Political Voyeurism in English Literature from
Sidney to Milton, examines the perversity and ambivalence of the
analogous erotic and political bonds depicted in early modern

Professor Sanchez will be speaking on "Love and Liberty in the
Caroline Masque."

The Seminar meets from 6.30-8pm in 507 Philosophy Hall, Columbia
campus. All welcome.

Details: Prof. Alan Stewart
Tel: 212 854 6420
Fax: 212 854 5398

Early Modern Reading Group

... will meet next at 6:30pm on Tuesday 2 October, at The Norfolk Arms, on Leigh Street, off Judd Street, WC1. This time we'll discuss Thomas Nashe's 'Pierce Penilesse, his supplication to the Devil' (1592).

There's a text here:


'But I, that knew what harboured in that hed': Thomas Wyatt and his posthumous 'interpreters'

Dr Cathy Shrank, Reader in Tudor Literature, University of Sheffield
Chair: Professor Ann Moss, FBA, University of Durham

Wednesday 31 October 2007
5.30pm - 6.30pm, followed by a drinks reception The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

Free Admittance

In their elegies composed after Wyatt's death in 1542, John Leland and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, seek to forge an equation between his poetry and his character, transforming him and his verses into moral exempla. In doing so, they are indicative of later trends of Wyatt editing and criticism, with their tendency towards biographical readings and frequent attempts (from Wyatt's first editor, Richard Tottel, onwards) to fit his poems into a narrative. With their insistent use of the word 'self' and display of discretion (hinting at secrets behind the verse), it is perhaps inevitable that Wyatt's poems have invited such interpretations, yet in this lecture I suggest that Wyatt's works also resist biographical readings, thanks to their deliberate opacity, deployment of paradox, and extraction (in the case of his Petrarchan translations) from a biographical narrative which is forcefully se! t out in Wyatt's likely source (Vellutello's Il Petrarcha). Moreover, as Wyatt points out in his Defence, composed after he stood accused of treason in 1540, a plain style - for which Wyatt is habitually celebrated - is not necessarily any more sincere than ornamentation: both are 'garments' to be donned as occasion requires. This lecture consequently also argues that the virtues for which Wyatt is recurrently lauded - steadfastness, honesty, plain speaking - require re-examination in the light of contemporary understandings of these terms: the honesty which Wyatt articulates in his letters and poetry is informed by an awareness of the importance of 'circumspection', and constancy is (paradoxically) achieved by an ability to change.

Dr Cathy Shrank is the author of Writing the Nation in Reformation England, 1530-1580 (Oxford University Press, 2004). Her forthcoming work includes essays and articles on John Bale, Henrician dialogues about Purgatory, mid-Tudor sonnets, cheap print and the politics of Shakespeare's sonnets.

Telephone enquiries: 020 7969 5246 / Email:

Please note our ticketing and seating policy:

British Academy Lectures are freely open to the general public and everyone is welcome; there is no charge for admission, no tickets will be issued, and seats cannot be reserved. The Lecture Room is opened at 5.00pm, and the first 100 audience members arriving at the Academy will be offered a seat in the Lecture Room; the next 50 people to arrive will be offered a seat in the Overflow Room, which has a video and audio link to the Lecture Room. Lectures are followed by a reception at 6.30pm, to which members of the audience are invited.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Post-doc Positions in Early Modern English Literature

University of Geneva

The English Department of the University of Geneva is seeking to make appointments for two post-doc positions in early modern English literature for a period of two or three years, starting in early 2008.

The successful candidates will contribute to a research project under the supervision of Professor Lukas Erne, the author of Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist (Cambridge UP, 2003) and Beyond ‘The Spanish Tragedy’: A Study of the Works of Thomas Kyd (Manchester UP, 2001), and the editor of Textual Performances: The Modern Reproduction of Shakespeare’s Drama (Cambridge UP, 2004) and The First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet (Cambridge UP, 2007). In addition, the position provides the opportunity to participate in the teaching of BA seminars on early modern English literature. Note that successful candidates will be able to spend 60% of the time on their own research.

The salary is just over CHF 36,000 (ca. £ 15,000) per year, or CHF 3,000 (£ 1,250) per month.

Main Advantages
• Ample time devoted to your own research (60%)
• Involvement in high-profile research project
• Teaching experience
• Possibility to improve your French while in Geneva

Candidates need to have a PhD (preferably on a subject in early modern English literature) by the time they start work in Geneva. Note that all interaction in the English Department is conducted in English, so knowledge of French is not a requirement.

Candidates are asked to submit their application by email and to attach a curriculum vitae and a concise summary of their PhD (no more than two pages). No references should be sent at this point.

Thanks to Easyjet and other airlines, Geneva is within easy reach of most major cities within Europe. Geneva is an attractive city at the heart of Europe with a distinguished university that brings together students from more than eighty countries. The University provides access to all major research tools such as EEBO, LION, JSTOR, and Project Muse.

Send applications to Professor Lukas Erne ( by 1 October 2007. For further information, please visit the website of the Geneva English Department at

Shakespeare and his contemporaries: performance and adaptation.

Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, 18-20 July, 2008.

Confirmed speakers include Catherine Belsey, Judith Buchanan, Barbara Hodgdon, Peter Holland and Ann Thompson

Proposals for both panels and individual papers are invited for the third SCAENA conference. The conference will focus on the creative reception - in film, performance, and fiction for example - of the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Deadline for proposals (approx 150-300 words): 30th November, 2007.


Conference website

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shakespeare's Wife

[this from Susanne Greenhalgh, on SHAKSPER@SHAKSPER.NET ...]

Germaine Greer was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 'Front Row' 7 September about her new book - available for a week on Listen Again:

Actors question Bard's authorship

[or, When Will this Utter Nonsense End?]

from the BBC wesbite, ...

Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance (left and right) are in the group
Actors including Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance have launched a debate over who really wrote the works of William Shakespeare.
Almost 300 people have signed a "declaration of reasonable doubt", which they hope will prompt further research into the issue.

"I subscribe to the group theory. I don't think anybody could do it on their own," Sir Derek said.

The group says there are no records of Shakespeare being paid for his work.

While documents do exist for Shakespeare, who was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, all are non-literary.

In particular, his will, in which he left his wife "my second best bed with the furniture" contains none of his famous turns of phrase and it does not mention any books, plays or poems.

Illiterate household

The 287-strong Shakespeare Authorship Coalition says it is not possible that the bard's plays - with their emphasis on law - could have been penned by a 16th Century commoner raised in an illiterate household.

The group asks if one man alone could have come up with his works
It asks why most of his plays are set among the upper classes, and why Stratford-upon-Avon is never referred to in any of his plays.

"How did he become so familiar with all things Italian so that even obscure details in these plays are accurate?" the group adds.

Conspiracy theories have circulated since the 18th Century about a number of figures who could have used Shakespeare as a pen-name, including playwright Christopher Marlowe, nobleman Edward de Vere and Francis Bacon.

"I think the leading light was probably de Vere as I agree that an author writes about his own experience, his own life and personalities," Sir Derek said.

The declaration, unveiled at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester, West Sussex, also names 20 prominent doubters of the past, including Mark Twain, Orson Welles, Sir John Gielgud and Charlie Chaplin.

'Legitimate question'

A copy was presented to Dr William Leahy, head of English at London's Brunel University and convenor of the first MA in Shakespeare authorship studies, to be launched later this month.

"It has been a battle of mine for the last couple of years to get this into academia," Dr Leahy said.

"It's a legitimate question, it has a mystery at its centre and intellectual discussion will bring us closer to that centre.

"That's not to say we will answer anything, that's not the point. It is, of course, to question."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Columbia University Shakespeare Seminar (#581)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Russell Jackson, Allardyce Nicoll Chair, Deptartment of Drama and Theatre Arts, University of Birmingham

"'An Othello to forget': Zeffirelli's 1961 Stratford-upon-Avon production and its critics"

Respondent: Iska Alter, Professor of English, Emerita, Hofstra University

Details: Adam G. Hooks at

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Transculturalisms, 1400-1700

A new series from Ashgate Publishing Company.

Series Editors: Ann Rosalind Jones, Smith College; Jyotsna G. Singh, Michigan State University; & Mihoko Suzuki, University of Miami

This series will present studies of the early modern contacts and
exchanges among the states, polities and entrepreneurial organizations
of Europe; Asia, including the Levant and East India/Indies; Africa; and
the Americas. Books will investigate travelers, merchants and cultural
inventors, including explorers, mapmakers, artists and writers, as they
operated in political, mercantile, sexual and linguistic economies. We
encourage authors to reflect on their own methodologies in relation to
issues and theories relevant to the study of transculturism/translation
and transnationalism. We are particularly interested in work on and
from the perspective of the Asians, Africans, and Americans involved in
these interactions, and on such topics as:

* Material exchanges, including textiles, paper and printing,
and technologies of knowledge

* Movements of bodies: embassies, voyagers, piracy, enslavement

* Travel writing: its purposes, practices, forms and effects on
writing in other genres

* Belief systems: religions, philosophies, sciences

* Translations: verbal, artistic, philosophical

* Forms of transnational violence and its representations

Proposals should take the form of either

1. a preliminary letter of inquiry, briefly describing the project; or

2. a formal prospectus including: abstract, brief statement of your
critical methodology, table of

contents, sample chapter, estimate of length (NB, in words, pls),
estimate of the number and type of illustrations to be included, and a c.v.

Please send a copy of either type of proposal to each of the three
series editors and to the publisher, at the addresses on the reverse of
this page.

Book proposals or letters of inquiry should be sent (one copy each) to:

Ann Rosalind Jones
Esther Cloudmann Dunn Professor of Comparative Literature
Program in Comparative Literature
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063
USA (if sending attachments to Prof. Jones, pls make sure they end as .doc)

Jyotsna G. Singh
Professor of English
201 Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1036

Mihoko Suzuki
Professor of English
321 Ashe Building
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL 33124

Erika Gaffney
Ashgate Publishing Company
101 Cherry Street, Suited 420
Burlington, VT 05401-4405

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Shakespeare's Wife

... by Germaine Greer (406pp, Bloomsbury, £20).

Reviewed by Charles Nicholl at,,2159861,00.html

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Early Literature in English: Crossing Borders

November 15, 2007; March 7&8, 2008

Call for Papers—NYU CELCE 2008 Graduate Student Conference

“Crossing Borders”

The Colloquium for Early Literature and Culture in English (CELCE) at New York University is pleased to announce our first
graduate student conference, scheduled for early March 2008. We invite papers that take interdisciplinary approaches to
representations of borders (spatial, temporal, semiotic, and sensory), and the ways in which respecting or crossing them
affected individuals and societies in English-speaking worlds from the medieval period up to the eighteenth century.

Some possible topics include (but are not limited to):
Cultural exchanges within the Old World (e.g. the French in medieval England; interactions between East and West; Africa in
Europe, etc.)
Slavery and captivity
Cultural translation
Early print culture and the changing face of literacy
When language fails: Visual, aural, and other extra-linguistic representations in texts
Cultural/Systemic change and representation of transitional periods

Please send your 250-word abstract to the CELCE coordinators by November 15, 2007.

Lea Puljcan Juric

Ruth F. Simon
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