Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shakespeare Lecture, British Academy

Enter Cælia, the Fairy Queen in her night attire: Shakespeare and the Fairies

Professor Michael Hattaway (New York University in London)

Thursday, 22 April 2010
6.00-7.00pm, followed by a drinks reception
The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

Free Admittance

Do you believe in fairies? We all remember the fraught declaration made in
Peter Pan (1904): ‘Every time a child says “I don't believe in fairies,”
there's a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead.’ When we turn further
back, to the age of Shakespeare, perhaps the beginning of an age of
disenchantment, can we ascertain either whether Shakespeare and other writers
‘believed in’ fairies, or what they thoughtabout them? The problem turns out to
be unsolvable, but we can examine how both writers of the English Renaissance
and Reformations and also modern theatre directors have thought with fairies,
used them to explore many aspects of life then and now. Fairy-lore was woven
into cultural debates over the proper roles for women, over masculine and
feminine sexuality – and fairies served as border-land figures in domestic and
rural life. In Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech) and A Midsummer
Night’s Dream the fairies may serve rather to signal mental states and power
machinery of the play than as figures of supernatural agency. We shall also
consider the ways in which the textual descriptions of the smallness of fairies
can be matched with theatrical images in selected productions.


Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from