Shakespeare Association of America
 

Recent Calls for Papers

Unmasking Shakespeare: Provoking Shakespeare in Europe

 

How have the crises of the last five years – #Metoo, BLM, ‘cancellation culture,’ Covid, the rise of political authoritarianism, Ukraine, – affected our sense of the value of Shakespeare or Shakespeare studies in what used to be called the European project? How, over the last five years, have institutions, academics, artists, audiences, students, schools, teachers, used Shakespearean culture and theatre to engage with the emergencies that have come to constitute the contemporary moment? To what extent does the reproduction of Shakespearean cultural value contribute to the stagnation of creative forms of expression and their inability to plan for social change? How will Shakespearean culture be part of whatever the European future will be in the five years to come?

 

We would like to hear from Shakespearean colleagues across Europe who want to discuss their experiences of these emergencies and would like to work together to find ways of responding to what German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has described as a Zeitenwende, ‘change of times’.

 

To register your interest in an informal Zoom workshop to discuss the issues above and a potential collaboration in this project, please email: ProvokingShakespeare@gmail.com, stating your area of research and interest, together with your contact details and affiliation, by 16 September 2022. Contributions from postgraduate students, early career researchers, artists and schoolteachers are welcome.

 

This project is a collaboration between the School of Arts, University of Leicester, and the Modern Research School, Department of English and Related Literature, University of York. It is generously sponsored by the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Leicester.

Unmasking Shakespeare: The 5th Biennial Conference of the Asian Shakespeare Association

 

Online, 10-12 November 2022

 

Face masks that block droplets and aerosols are ubiquitous under the pandemic of Covid-19. Beyond offering protection against the coronavirus, masks have also become a platform for political statements and an arena for power struggle. Indeed, masks have served various practical and symbolic purposes since prehistorical time. Made of wood, metal, leather, cloth, latex, or synthetic materials, masks intervene to defend and disguise the wearer, shield or adorn the face. At religious ceremonies, festival celebrations, or theatrical performances, masks conceal, obliterate, transform, or create identities. On stage, they are adopted as a plot device or surprise mechanism. Not all masks or personae, however, are easily discernible or even separable from what lies underneath. The moment of unmasking amounts to an epiphany, revelation of truth or reconciliation between appearance and reality.

 

As we slowly take off our masks and move to post-Covid normality, let us examine their use, implications, and meanings in Shakespeare and Shakespeare studies, in his and in our times. We invite proposals to join the three types of open session: the panel, the symposium, and the workshop.

 

Program Proposals

 

Panel

 

There are limited spots for panel presentations. Papers should be around 15-minute delivery time. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • disguise, impersonation, cross-dressing, and role-playing in Shakespeare and
    Shakespearean adaptations;
  • imposture, deception, lies in Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations;
  • Renaissance self-fashioning;
  • the use of masks on stage and in films;
  • puzzles, riddles, and topical allegory in Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations;
  • researching, teaching, and performing Shakespeare during and after the pandemic.

Your proposal to join a panel session should consist of (a) the title of your presentation and an abstract of no more than 250 words, and (b) a short bio.

 

Symposium

 

The symposiums consist of short (up to 6 minutes) presentations of original research in specific areas. We invite proposals that extend the meaning of (un)masking in these directions:

  1. (Dis)Covering—disguise, roleplay, hidden agendas, and secret meanings in Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations; metaphor and allegory; puns; riddles and puzzles.
  2. Identity as Mask—exploration of racial, ethnic, national, gender, sexual, religious, social, political, linguistic, and cultural identities in Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations; feminism and antifeminism; queer studies; critical race studies; xenophobia; antisemitism.
  3. A New Visage—Shakespeare’s contemporary meanings; Shakespeare and current affairs; social and political commentaries; Cold War; globalization; geopolitics; populism.

Proposal to join a symposium session should consist of (a) the group you want to join, (b) the title of your presentation and an abstract of no more than 250 words, and (c) a short bio.

 

Workshop

 

The workshops offer a platform for us to share our experience during the pandemic or post-Covid time, to identify the challenges and to brainstorm together for solutions, in the following areas. Participants will circulate written responses to the assigned questions before the conference and the meeting time will be dedicated to discussion.

  1. Teaching Shakespeare—web-based remote teaching; asynchronous teaching; online platforms and resources.
  2. Performing Shakespeare—Zoom virtual theatre; rehearsing; directing; filming; reception.
  3. Mediating Shakespeare—film; manga and animation; online archives and databases; games; podcast; apps.

Proposal to join a workshop session should consist of (a) the group you want to join, (b) one or more questions you want the group to discuss, and (c) a short bio.

 

Proposals and questions should be sent to admin@asianshakespeare.org. You will receive an email confirmation.

 

For updates, visit http://asianshakespeare.org/ 

 

The deadline for submission is 15 September 2022.

Shakespeare and Religion

 

This is a call for chapters for an edited collection of essays on religion and Shakespeare. Papers may explore various powerful aspects of religion in the plays but should combine close analysis with historical documentation, originality with rigor.

 

No play by William Shakespeare omits religion. Regardless of setting or period, in one form or another religion is a part of the universe of every Shakespearean history, comedy, and tragedy. For a playwright, religion is an obvious source of dramatic conflict, and in several of Shakespeare’s plays, religious difference overlaps with ethnicity or nationality. Shakespeare’s handling of religion and of religious difference is not easily predictable, however. The collection will convey some of the range and multi-valent reach of the world’s most famous playwright, from the earliest plays to the last.

 

The huge subject of “Shakespeare and Religion” has vast potential. Possible approaches include:

 

  • Shakespeare’s treatment of the B.C.E. in classical Roman or Greek settings
  • The Classical and the Biblical in individual plays
  • Shakespeare’s treatment of other nations in connection with religion
  • Religion and history; Shakespeare’s alterations to English history
  • Shakespeare and sources; use of or changes from sources, on religion
  • Shakespeare’s treatment of religious division in individual plays
  • Religion as imagery in the language of the plays
  • Religion and the creation of characters
  • Religion and genre

Editorial: projected length for chapters 5,000 – 10,000 words; preferred reference style Chicago

 

Deadlines: 300-word abstracts due October 15, 2022; completed articles due March 15, 2023

 

Correspondence: direct responses to Dr. Margie Burns, UMBC, mburns@umbc.edu

Annual Congress of the French Shakespeare Society

 

“Folio & Co: Shakespeare and the Theatrum Libri

Paris, 23-25 March 2023

 

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare First Folio’s publication, the French Shakespeare Society (Société Française Shakespeare) wishes to dedicate its 2023 conference to studying not only what is one of the most famous (and most expensive) books in the world, but to integrate it in a broader exploration of the role played by the folio format in the history of books, literature and ideas, as well as of its potential life on stage.

 

More than just a large book, the folio is a format that carries specific meaning, in a way that smaller formats do not. It will naturally be noted that the 1623 Folio is not the first of its kind. Two famous forerunners appeared in 1616, namely The Workes of Beniamin Jonson and The Workes of … Iames, by King James VI of Scotland/ I of England (see Meskill). Contrary to the one published by Heminge and Condell containing “Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories & Tragedies”, these are entitled “Works”, which is no minor point (see Brooks). The other large theatre-related Folio is the collected Comedies and Tragedies of Beaumont and Fletcher, which appeared in 1647, fifteen years after the reprint of Shakespeare’s Folio. As regards prominent European Folios, Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica (1543) is worth mentioning. Traditionally used for history books – such as Edward Hall’s The union of the two noble and illustre famelies of Landcastre and Yorke (1548), John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Acts and Monuments, 1563) and Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles – the folio, though not entirely standardized, is the largest print format for books (except for the plano).

 

As a luxury format, the folio is characterized by an elaborate and rich paratext, which includes contributions by several authors/artists and showcases the printer’s skill – title, frontispiece, table of contents, dedications, tribute poems, indexes, illustrations, and of course, author attributions. The paratext also helps turn the book into a monument: Shakespeare’s Folio is presented as such by the editors and elevated to monumental status by its introductory poems, while Foxe’s is a ‘just tomb’ raised to the spirits of Protestant martyrs, in the manner of a shrine (see Thomas Ridley’s preface).

 

As such, the folio format raises the question of both its author or authors’ status and the authority of the text it contains, as is very clear in Shakespeare’s case, but also in the case of George Chapman, who (in another field) published his translations of the Iliad (1609, 1611), the Odyssey (1614) and the Complete Works of Homer (1616, 1624) in folio format. In this regard, it may be interesting to study the relationship between the folio and the quarto, the latter being the format of choice for theatrical printing in the Renaissance. Because it implied a considerable outlay (of funds, time and skilled manpower), the prestigious folio format also calls for careful consideration of the role of printers and stationers in a quickly expanding bookseller’s market. Publishing this type of book was always a high-risk financial venture: John Day nearly went bankrupt over the Book of Martyrs due to the cost of paper, while Heminge and Condell repeatedly urged readers to buy the book before judging it – indeed, some of these buyers’ names survive in various records. Even before the 1623 Folio was compiled, drawn-out financial negotiations had to take place before the playscripts owned by the playing companies could be purchased for publication.

 

Finally, the very term ‘folio’ may lead us to consider that constitutive part of the book, the leaf or sheet of paper, and its theatrical uses as stage property, whether in the form of a piece of paper, page, book, or other.

 

We welcome papers on the following topics:

  • Shakespeare’s First Folio in the light of other folios
  • The folio and the question of genre
  • The history of the folio
  • The evolution and meaning of the folio paratext
  • The folio and the bookseller’s market
  • The folio and the question of authorship
  • The sociology of the folio
  • The folio in 16th and 17th century libraries
  • The folio and material culture (ink, paper, printing techniques, etc.)
  • The folio as a theatrical object
  • The circulation of folio volumes in Early Modern British, European, and Global networks
  • Etc.

Please send your paper proposal (paper title, keywords and a 300-word abstract) by 1 October 2022, together with a short bio-bibliographical note, to the following address

 

[congres2023@societefrancaiseshakespeare.org]

 

Answers will be given on 15 November 2022.  Papers will be 20 minutes long.

 

See the full CFP here.

Shakespeare and Race: Spoken Word(s)

 

4-5 November 2022

King’s College London and Shakespeare’s Globe

Plenary Speakers: Nandini Das (Oxford University), Joyce Green MacDonald (University of Kentucky), Dennis Austin Britton (University of British Columbia), Jane Grogan (University College Dublin)
 
As part of our forthcoming Shakespeare and Race Festival, to be jointly hosted by the London Shakespeare Centre, King’s College London, and Shakespeare’s Globe, we are delighted to announce a two-day symposium to be held on 4-5 November 2022. The event will take place in-person in London though it will have a mixed format, so there will be some capacity for speakers and attendees to join us remotely.The symposium will consider the relationship between what Barbara E. Fields and Karen J. Fields term ‘racecraft’ and poetic craft, alongside their ideological effects in the works of Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and his later interlocutors. How do the historical meanings – as well as the lived experience – of race and racism inform the reception of Shakespeare’s verse, whether in poetry or performance? How is race formulated within postcolonial and minority responses to Shakespeare’s language? And how is the study of formalist poetics affected by questions of race, diaspora, migration, globalisation, or canonicity?We are inviting submissions for 15-minute papers that engage with the conference theme, ‘Shakespeare and Race: Spoken Word(s)’. We also welcome proposals for formed roundtable discussions and panels of 2-3 papers.The full call for papers, with details on possible topics, is available here: CFP Shakespeare and Race: Spoken Word(s) 2022Proposals from any discipline and intersectional approaches are particularly welcomed. Please email abstracts (no more than 250 words) and a brief biographical note to Hanh Bui (hanh.b@shakespearesglobe.com) and Hassana Moosa (hassana.moosa@kcl.ac.uk) by Friday 19 August. Notifications of acceptance will be emailed in early September.

The Journal of the Wooden O

 

14 October 2022

 

The Journal of the Wooden O  is a peer-reviewed academic publication focusing on Shakespeare studies. It is published annually by Southern Utah University Press in connection with the Gerald R. Sherratt Library and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

 

The editors invite papers on any topic related to Shakespeare, including Shakespearean texts, Shakespeare in performance, the adaptation of Shakespeare works (film, fiction, and visual and performing arts), Elizabethan and Jacobean culture and history, and Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

 

Articles published in the Journal of the Wooden O are indexed in the MLA International BibliographyWorld Shakespeare Bibliography and appear full-text in EBSCO Academic Search Premiere

 
Selected papers from the annual Wooden O Symposium are also considered for publication.
 

SUBMISSIONS: Manuscripts should follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. Manuscript submissions should generally be between 3000-7000 words in length. Complete submission guidelines as well as the JWO Style Sheet may be found here. The deadline for submission is October 14, 2022. Authors should include all of the following information with their submission:

  • Author’s name
  • Manuscript title
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Daytime phone number
  • Submit electronic copy to: woodeno@suu.edu (Only .doc, .docx or .rtf files will be accepeted.)

For more information, contact:

Journal of the Wooden O
c/o Southern Utah University Press
351 W. University Blvd.
Cedar City, UT 84720
435.586.1955
woodeno@suu.edu

Found in Translation: Understanding Shakespeare through Intercultural Dialogue

 

17-19 September 2022

 
This conference, jointly organized by The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham (Stratford-upon-Avon) and Waseda University (Tokyo), and funded by the Daiwa Foundation, invites academics and practitioners to share and discuss innovative ways in which translation can contribute to Shakespearean scholarship and performance. Instead of focusing on the difficulties and technicalities of translating Shakespeare into a specific language, the conference aims to create a dialogue between translation studies and other areas of Shakespeare studies. Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:
 
  • Translation as a tool for literary interpretation
  • Interpreting Shakespeare adaptations through theories of translation
  • Translation as a door to new performance possibilities
  • The role of translation in reception studies
  • The connection between editorial practices and translation
  • How translation is affected by, or might contribute to, authorship attribution studies
  • The role of translation in multi-media archives of global Shakespeare performances.

* Please note that the conference will take place in Tokyo and may be postponed and/or switched to an online or hybrid format should international travel become difficult.

 

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers from PhD students, early career researchers, and established scholars from all disciplines. Please submit abstracts through https://w3.waseda.jp/assoc-shakesfit/top-page/ by noon (JST) on 4 June 2022. The results of the selection will be sent out by 1 July 2022. Proposals should include 1) the name of the author, affiliation, and email address, 2) a short biographical note of up to 150 words, 3) the title of the proposed paper, and 4) a 400-to-500-word abstract. Selected papers will be organized into panels and there will be a Q&A session at the end of each panel.

Shaping Intellectual Disabilities in Early Modern Literature and Culture

 

Editor: Dr Alice Equestri, University of Padua (alice.equestri@unipd.it)

Publisher: international academic press to be confirmed

 

Deadline for submitting chapter proposals (400 words): July 31, 2022

Notification of acceptance: September 1, 2022

Provisional deadline for essay submission (6000-8000 words): April 30, 2023

 

Papers are sought for a volume that critically examines – and advances our knowledge of – manifestations of intellectual disability in early modern English and European literature and culture (c. 1500-1700). The collection will be submitted to an international academic publisher.

 

Intellectual disability nowadays is defined as a lifelong condition entailing deficits in intellectual and adaptive functions, including abstract thinking, reasoning, learning, communication, social participation and independent living. Its causes are generally understood as genetic or environmental, rather than social or psychological (and as such, intellectual disability differs from mental illness, which includes depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, psychosis, etc.). While perhaps intellectual disability as we think of it today did not yet exist as a concept in the Renaissance, many forms of impaired intellect existed and were discussed in the period. English law, for example, termed idiocy a congenital and permanent condition that manifested itself in the individual’s incapability to give basic information about themselves or make simple calculations – something which impeded their participation in the economy by independently managing their property. Doctors occasionally pointed at the humoural, physiognomic or anatomic characteristics linked to ‘foolishness’. But intellectual disability was also a much more malleable concept, defined historically according to religious, social, or political interests: Christian preachers called fools those who strayed from the word of God; nations with colonial interests called foreign natives foolish to justify their expansionist aims and to stigmatise their cultural differences; in patriarchal societies women’s intellectual capability was deemed generally inferior to men’s; society itself considered foolish those who persisted in despicable practices from the point of view of morals or health.

 

This collection will ask how non-normative intellect was represented in the literature and culture of the period and how the able-minded world shaped and reacted to forms of intellectual difference. It will also ask how current disability theories may be helpful in understanding intellectual disability in literary history or whether new models of (intellectual) disability may be devised through an analysis of Renaissance texts. Historicist and/or presentist approaches may be employed to illuminate a wide range of topics including (but not limited to):

 

  • How fools and foolish characters in drama or other genres are portrayed as disabled or different
  • Intellectual disability in Shakespeare and his contemporaries
  • Dissembled or temporary foolishness
  • Medical, social, legal, religious, moral representations of foolishness or intellectual non-normativity
  • The reception of classical and medieval notions of intellectual disability in Renaissance cultural products
  • Supernatural readings of intellectual disability
  • The links between intellectual difference and other disability representations (e.g. bodily or sensory differences, neurodiversity more broadly, etc.)
  • Intersections between intellectual disability and race, class, gender or sexuality
  • Intellectual disability and travelling
  • Border crossings or conflicts between intellectual normativity and non-normativity
  • Intersections between intellectual disability and mental illness
  • Metaphorical representations of intellectual disability
  • The use of intellectual disability tropes to describe objects or concepts, rather than individuals

Please send a 400-word proposal and a short bio to Dr Alice Equestri (alice.equestri@unipd.it) by July 31, 2022. The provisional timeline is for authors to submit their essays by April 30, 2023. Proposals by scholars from any background and of any career level – including PhD students and ECRs – are welcome. For any queries, or to discuss your idea before submitting an abstract, please feel free to contact the editor.

 

Select bibliography

 

  • Chakravarti, Paromita, ‘Natural Fools and the Historiography of Renaissance Folly’, Renaissance Studies, 25.2 (2011), 208–27
  • Equestri, Alice, Literature and Intellectual Disability in Early Modern England: Folly, Law and Medicine, 1500-1640 (London and New York: Routledge, 2021)
  • Folkerth, Wes, ‘Reading Shakespeare After Neurodiversity’, in Performing Disability in Early Modern English Drama, ed. by Leslie C. Dunn (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2020), pp. 141–57
  • Goodey, C. F., A History of Intelligence and ‘Intellectual Disability’: The Shaping of Psychology in Early Modern Europe (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011)
  • Heetderks, Angela, ‘“Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit”: Song, Fooling, and Intellectual Disability in Shakespearean Drama’, in Gender and Song in Early Modern England, ed. by Leslie C. Dunn and Katherine R. Larson (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), pp. 63–75
  • Hobgood, Allison P., and David, Houston Wood, eds., Recovering Disability in Early Modern England (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2013)
  • Lathrop, Emily, ‘Learning Difficulties : The Idiot and the Outsider in the Renaissance’, in A Cultural History of Disability in the Renaissance, ed. by Susan Anderson and Liam Haydon (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), iii, 133–50
  • McDonagh, Patrick, Idiocy: A Cultural History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009)
  • McDonagh, Patrick, C. F. Goodey, and Timothy Stainton, eds., Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual History, 1200-1900 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018)
  • Metzler, Irina, Fools and Idiots? Intellectual Disability in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016)
  • Row-Heyveld, Lindsey, Dissembling Disability in Early Modern English Drama (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

EXPLORATIONS IN LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST

 

 

15 September 2022

 

This collection of essays seeks to explore the many exciting new directions in which research concerning Love’s Labour’s Lost has gone within the last 25 years. Long admired for the aesthetics of its language and historical allusions, scholars now address issues of queer affiliations, racialized representations of others such as Blackamoors and Muscovites, and the environment among many compelling concerns.

 

Possible topics for papers may include the following, but are by no means delimited by them:

 

  • Productions of Love’s Labour’s Lost, Past and Present on Stage
  • Film Productions of Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • Issues of Race, Ethnicity, and National Identity, especially that of the Blackamoors and Muscovites
  • Problematic Indeterminate Denouements and Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • The Problematics of Pedagogy, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and the Undergraduate Classroom
  • Homosociality and Queer Affiliations in Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • The Green World: Eco-criticism and Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • The Digitization of Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • The Textual and Editorial History of Love’s Labour’s Lost

Please submit a 500 word abstract by September 15, 2022 to Reginald Rampone, Jr, Ph.D. at wrampone@scsu.edu.

Wooden O Symposium

 

Southern Utah University – Utah Shakespeare Festival

 

August 8-10, 2022

 

The 2022 Wooden O Symposium invites panel and paper proposals on any topic related to the history, text and performance of Shakespeare’s plays. This year’s meeting will be a hybrid with both face-to-face and virtual presentations addressing the 2022 theme: Weathering the Storm: Survival, Hope and Redemption. We also encourage papers and presentations that speak to the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2022 summer season: All’s Well That Ends WellKing Lear, and The Tempest along with Sweeney ToddThe Sound of Music, and Trouble in Mind. Abstracts for consideration, both panels and individual presentations, should be sent to education@bard.org.The deadline for proposals is May 13, 2022. Session chairs and individual authors will be informed of acceptance no later than June 1. Please include a 250-word abstracts or session proposal (including individual abstracts) and the following information:

 

  • name of presenter(s)
  • participant category (faculty, graduate student, undergraduate, or independent scholar)
  • college/university affiliation
  • mailing address
  • email address
  • audio/visual requirements and any other special requests.

For more information go to https://www.bard.org/wooden-o-symposium

2022 Shakespearean Theatre Conference: “Shakespeare in a Changing World”

 

As we slowly return to in-person activities after the great interruption of the pandemic, we might say to our world, as Snout does to Bottom, “thou art changed.” And while it may be tempting to say with Demetrius, “It seems to me / That yet we sleep, we dream,” we did not dream the last two years. The 4th Shakespearean Theatre Conference will ask how the study and performance of Shakespearean drama might respond to the  rapid and very real changes we are witnessing, while also investigating the relationship of this drama to the similarly rapid changes of Shakespeare’s time. To this end, we invite proposals for 20-minute papers, full sessions, and workshops on all aspects of Tudor and Stuart drama, while especially encouraging proposals that focus on historical change, old and/or new. Proposals might, for example, consider Shakespearean drama in relation to the histories of race, religion, gender, sexuality, emotion, and the body; to climate change; to changing performance and editorial practices; to the changing forms of oppression and liberation, including authoritarianism, economic exploitation, free speech, and democratic enfranchisement; to transglobal migration and diasporic change; to the changing media landscape; to language change; to scientific, cognitive, and epistemological revolutions; and to the many other factors that shape the history of its transmission and reception.

 

Plenary speakers:

Antoni Cimolino (Artistic Director, Stratford Festival) 

Brian Cummings (University of York) 

Alexa Alice Joubin (George Washington University) 

 

The conference, to be held June 15-18, 2022, in Stratford, Ontario, is a joint venture of the University of Waterloo and the Stratford Festival, and will bring together scholars and practitioners to talk about how performance influences scholarship and vice versa. Paper sessions will be held at the University of Waterloo’s Stratford campus, with plays and special events hosted by the Stratford Festival. The Festival has announced a 2022 season that includes HamletRichard IIIAll’s Well That Ends Well (the last two in the beautiful new Tom Patterson Theatre), and Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, as well as two world premières:  Hamlet-911, by Ann-Marie MacDonald, and 1939, by Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan.  For conference updates, see https://uwaterloo.ca/englishshakespeare.  

 

By January 31, 2022, please send proposals to Shakespeare@uwaterloo.ca.

 

Please note: The 4th Shakespearean Theatre Conference, originally scheduled for June 2021, was postponed until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will observe all Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and University of Waterloo pandemic restrictions and protocols in place at the time of the conference, and we will let participants know what these are closer to the conference dates. If it proves necessary to postpone the conference again, we will do so no later than six weeks before the scheduled dates. Because attending live performances is an important part of the conference experience, we will not move the conference online.

 

Kenneth Graham Laing

Dept. of English

Univ. of Waterloo

 

Alysia Kolentsis

Dept. of English

St. Jerome’s Univ.

 

Katherine Laing

Interim Director of Education

Stratford Festival

 

The Theatrical Legacy of Thomas Middleton, 1624-2024

 

Edited by William David Green, Anna L. Hegland, and Sam Jermy

With an afterword by Professor Tracey Hill

 

We plan to publish a collection of essays celebrating 400 years of Thomas Middleton’s legacy as a dramatist, from his final work for the commercial stage up to the present day.

When does a dramatist’s theatrical legacy begin? The answer may vary depending on the occasion. In 2016, celebrations took place worldwide to mark 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, but further commemorative material can be expected in 2023, the year in which the First Folio, the renowned volume in which so much of Shakespeare’s dramatic canon is preserved, will similarly turn 400 years old. For Shakespeare’s contemporary Thomas Middleton, however, no such early posthumous canonization exists. Middleton died in 1627, but it was not until 2007 that the Oxford Collected Works of Middleton, the self-proclaimed “Middleton First Folio”,1 was published; and yet, celebration of Middleton’s drama can be seen to have begun as early as 1624, in the unprecedented popular response to what would prove to be his final work for the commercial theatres.

 

On 6 August 1624, A Game at Chess, Middleton’s scathing satire of Anglo-Spanish relations, received its first performance by the King’s Men at the Globe Theatre on London’s Bankside. Although presented as allegory, the play’s barely concealed representation of numerous real-life political figures as the various chess pieces that make up the play’s dramatis personae (including England’s King James himself) proved highly inflammatory. The play was stopped by official intervention on 16 August, and on 18 August the Privy Council opened a prosecution against the actors and the playwright. Middleton was acquitted, but never wrote another full play for the London playhouses. Yet despite bringing about a somewhat ignominious end to Middleton’s theatrical career, before being shut down the play had already become “the greatest commercial success of the early English theatre”,2 having been staged for a record nine consecutive performances (excluding Sundays) and possibly having been seen by up to twenty-seven thousand theatregoers, in 1624 more than a tenth of London’s population.3 The play also received a significant number of written responses by readers and spectators in the months and years following its initial performances.4 Middleton’s full canon may not have come to be truly defined until the publication of the Oxford Collected Works in 2007, but 1624 did mark the beginning of four centuries of reader/audience response to, and celebration of, Middleton’s significance to the history of early modern drama.

 

With a 2024 publication date in mind, we intend to publish a collection commemorating four centuries of Middleton’s theatrical legacy, taking the initial success of A Game at Chess in 1624 as our starting point. We therefore invite proposals for chapters to be included in this collected volume. Topics to consider might include, but are certainly not limited to:

 

  • The legacy and impact of the 2007 Oxford Collected Works.
  • The evolution and redefinition of Middleton’s authorial canon.
  • The importance placed upon such issues as anonymity, authorship, and collaboration in the present-day study and textual editing of Middleton.
  • The textual transmission, readership, and shelf life of Middleton’s works in print, taking into account both early and modern editions.
  • Discussions of present-day performances of and practice-based engagements with Middleton’s works, or interviews with practitioners involved in such work.
  • Online performances and other engagements with Middleton’s work from a digital humanities perspective.
  • Middleton’s work with boy players (i.e. the Children of Paul’s; the Children of the Queen’s Revels), as well as the reimagining of such work by modern troupes of boy players, e.g. Edward’s Boys (King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon).
  • Middleton’s relevance to present-day critical theories.
  • Responses to major works of Middleton criticism.
  • Middleton and the characterization of women on the stage.
  • Examining Middleton’s contemporary attitudes to race, gender, and religion, as considered from the perspective of the twenty-first century.
  • The importance of A Game at Chess to the study of early modern commercial theatre.
  • Middleton’s importance to the history of London.
  • Past efforts to celebrate Middleton (i.e. the 1972 Oxford/York revival of A Game at Chess; the Beyond Shakespeare Company’s Triumph 2021 event).

Finished chapters should be 5000-6000 words in length (including  ). Please send abstracts of 250-300 words, along with a brief bio, to Thomas.Middleton2024@gmail.com by midnight GMT on 28 February 2022. We anticipate that the deadline for the submission of completed chapters will be in September 2022. Any potential contributors wishing to discuss their chapter idea before preparing an abstract are welcome to do so (well in advance of the deadline) either by contacting us at the above email address or by contacting any of the co-editors individually. Scholars and theatre practitioners from all backgrounds and of all career levels are invited to submit abstracts, and we are also eager to receive proposals from PhD students and early career researchers.

 

1 Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino (gen. eds), Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 58.

2 Mark Kaethler, Thomas Middleton and the Plural Politics of Jacobean Drama (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021), 153.

3 Musa Gurnis, Mixed Faith and Shared Feeling: Theater in Post-Reformation London (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), 91.

4 Michelle O’Callaghan, Thomas Middleton, Renaissance Dramatist (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009), 161; Paul Salzman, Literature and Politics in the 1620s: “Whisper’d Counsells” (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 31.

Early Modern Asexualities (edited collection)

 

We are soliciting abstracts for 5,000-6,000-word papers to be included in an edited collection entitled Early Modern Asexualities. We invite people to propose papers that draw on the insights of asexuality studies to investigate early modern English literature and culture. Essays might explore how an understanding of asexuality and aromanticism can complicate and complement historical figurations of celibacy, chastity, abstinence, and intimacy in early modernity, or bring the lens of asexuality to a range of texts and historical figures. We invite our contributors to model different ways that early modern studies can be deepened by the theoretical tools of asexuality studies, including attention to differentiated attractions and to forces of hypersexualization and desexualization, especially as those forces come to bear on racialized and disabled bodies. Papers might offer readings of genre asexually; offer meta-reflections on the omission of asexuality from scholarship on early modernity; or consider the uptake of early modern figures in contemporary ace culture. We also invite essays that explore how the particular shapes of asexuality that we find in early modern texts might help us rethink modern allonormativity (the assumption that everyone experiences sexual attraction) and amatonormativity (the assumption that most people should be striving to be in romantic partnerships or couples). View the flyer here.

 

If you are thinking of submitting something but want to run an idea by us first, please feel free to be in touch with any of the three editors (Liza Blake, Catherine Clifford, and Aley O’Mara) individually, or with all three of us by emailing TeamRenAsexy@gmail.com.

 

Potential contributors are also welcome to consult our Early Modern Asexualities Bibliography, available at https://tinyurl.com/earlymodacebib.

 

*Abstracts due Oct. 1, 2021*
*Draft essays due June 1, 2022*

 

Questions? Email the editors at TeamRenAsexy@gmail.com.