Archive for May, 2012


May 24, 2012

A Cuppe of Newes

Female Fury and the Masculine Spirit of Vengeance:

Revenge and Gender from Classical to Early Modern Literature


Professor Alison Findlay

Professor Edith Hall

5-6 September 2012, University of Bristol, UK

Revenge is often thought of as a quintessentially masculine activity, set in a martial world of blood feuds and patriarchal codes of honour. However, the quest for vengeance can also be portrayed as intensifying passionate feelings traditionally thought of as feminine. In such instances revenge does not confirm a man’s heroic valour, but is a potentially emasculating force, dangerous to his reason, self-mastery, and gender identity. Such alternative ways of viewing revenge are also relevant when the avenger is a woman. To what extent is revenge deemed to be natural or unnatural to a woman, and what is its effect upon her psyche and perceived gender? Does the same impulse which effeminizes a man make a woman dangerously…

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CFP: Shakespeare Institute Review – Death

May 16, 2012

The Shakespeare Institute Review is a new online academic journal, which is funded by the University of Birmingham College of Arts and Law. It is run by four research students at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK.

Students at this institution, and on other postgraduate Shakespeare programmes, are invited and encouraged to contribute short papers for publication. Each issue of the journal will be themed.

We thought it exhilaratingly inappropriate, and so irresistible, to signal the birth of this journal with an issue looking at death.

Students are encouraged to submit papers, between 1,500 and 2,500 words, on topics relating to death, mortality and religion in Shakespeare’s plays, or elsewhere in the Early Modern period.

Possible topics might include, but are not restricted to:

  • Critical examinations of the way that various of Shakespeare’s characters deal with death, or die. This could include close-reading, comparative analysis, and analysis from a specific theoretical position (Marxist, feminist, etc.).
  • Historical studies of how mortality or religion was understood in the early Modern period, and of how Shakespeare makes use of (and plays off) those understandings in his plays.
  • Considerations of the political, ethical, religious, spiritual and existential significances of mortality or religion in the Early Modern period, and for Shakespeare’s characters.
  • Comparisons between how Shakespeare understands mortality, and how other creative artists and philosophers–-of Shakespeare’s time, or before, or after–-have understood it.
  • More intensely personal and experientially engaged writing on how Shakespeare’s plays have helped you deal with death–-with your own mortality, or with the death of people that you know. How does Shakespeare make you look at death, and is this vision comforting or distressing? Does Shakespeare get to the truth of death, for you, or not?
  • Reflections on metaphysical and spiritual truths that arise from Shakespeare’s plays.
  • More provocative reflections on how the writing that is produced by the Modern academy–-writing that is critical, theoretical, historical—does not deal adequately with death in Shakespeare’s plays, and suggestions as to how this inadequacy can be rectified.

Suggestions of other topics will be warmly received.

Papers should be submitted to, with a deadline of 20 May 2012.

All submissions will be reviewed by the editorial board, and those submissions that are selected will be published in our first online issue. Please contact us for further information.


The Exception: Force of Argument in Terry Eagleton’s William Shakespeare

May 12, 2012

The latest issue of Shakespeare contains an article by Prof Richard Wilson (Cardiff University).

An English text of Carl Schmitt’s Hamlet or Hecuba makes it vital to question the turn from French theory to Germany philosophy in Shakespeare studies, given a Left flirtation with Schmitt’s Political Theology begun by Walter Benjamin. The Marxist critic’s fascination with fascism was decried by Terry Eagleton as a theoretical error. So it is ironic that Eagleton’s William Shakespeare was driven by the same Schmittian idea that “sovereign is he who decides the exception” in language or law. Eagleton backtracked on its cult of violence after 9/11. But 25 years on, his introduction to the plays shows the danger of using Shakespeare to decide necessary violence, not least in its own exceptional force of argument. This article thus considers Eagleton’s book to be an early example of the coincidence of opposites that currently attracts Shakespeareans to dubious existentialist notions of decision and risk.

Those with a university login can access the article here.

Find out about private subscription to the journal here.

Swords in Shakespeare at the British Museum


CFP: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe

May 9, 2012

This just in from Dublin:

22-23 November 2012

University College Dublin and Marsh’s Library

Call for papers

The significance of classical writing in early modern European culture hardly needs stating, and although the classical inheritance signalled by the periodising term ‘Renaissance’ has partially been obscured by the more proleptic terms of the ‘early modern’, scholars rightly continue to emphasise the contribution of particular classical authors, texts and models to European Renaissance writing and thought. The vast majority of the authors, texts and models currently studied, however, are those which take ancient Greece and/or Rome (or territories under their sometime control) as their primary focus or purview. Concurrently, assumptions of the fixity or autochthony of ‘Europe’ and the ‘European Renaissance’ have come under pressure from work that emphasises the cross-cultural exchanges, encounters and traffic between ‘Europe’ and ‘the East’ during the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. But in neglecting sixteenth and seventeenth-century European interests in classical writings on regions and states such as Persia, Assyria and Scythia, we are missing a vital piece of the puzzle.  Misrepresenting the range and modulations of early modern classical interests, we allow the putative orientalising dichotomy of a ‘barbarian’ Eastern Other to ‘Europe’ to remain a silent, toxic presence in scholarship of the early modern period. Settings such as Lydia, Persia, Scythia, Assyria or Cimmeria were as much a part of the early modern imagination as Rome, Troy, Carthage, Delphi or Latium. In his Defence of Ryme, Samuel Daniel reminded English readers that ‘We must not thinke, but that there were Scipioes, Cæsars, Catoes and Pompeies, born elsewhere then at Rome, the rest of the world hath euer had them in the same degree of nature, though not of state. And it is our weakenesse that makes vs mistake, or misconceiue in these delineations of men the true figure of their worth.’

This conference aims to restore the visibility and significance of classical writings on the ancient Near East in early modern European literary culture, to complicate our understanding of the ‘Renaissance’ values that emerged out of the engagement with the classical legacy, and to bridge the gap between the theoretical models of the contemporary and classical engagements between Europe and the East in the early modern period.

Plenary speakers include Neil Rhodes (University of St Andrew’s), Edith Hall (King’s College, London) and Noreen Humble (University of Calgary).

The conference will also see the launch of ‘Reading East: Irish Sources and Resources’, a website introducing and cataloguing a selection of the early printed book holdings of Dublin’s extraordinarily rich research libraries, including Marsh’s Library, the Chester Beatty Library, the Edward Worth Library, and the UCD and Trinity College Libraries.

We welcome papers on any aspect of the early modern response to the Near Eastern interests of classical antiquity, and particularly papers that examine texts held at Dublin research libraries.

Topics may include, but are not confined to, to the following:

  • The literary and political reception of authors such as Xenophon, Herodotus, Ctesias
  • Antiquarian interest in the ancient Near East
  • Classical writings in travel itineraries/writings
  • Sources, analogues and exemplars
  • Editions, translations and adaptations
  • The ancient Near East and the ‘republic of letters’
  • Ethnography and historiography of the ancient Near East
  • Theories of the ‘barbarian’
  • Representations of the ancient Near East and the New World


Please send abstracts of 300-400 words, together with a brief bio, to the organisers, Dr Jane Grogan ( and Dr Marina Ansaldo ( by 15 July 2012.


Lectureship in Shakespeare Studies

May 8, 2012

University College Cork, Ireland

School: School of English
Contract Type: Permanent Whole-Time
Job Type: Academic
Salary: €31,821 – €51,270

The School of English wishes to appoint a Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies, from 1 September 2012.

The School seeks a scholar and critic with a primary research focus on Shakespeare studies. The successful applicant will have a doctorate, an established research profile in the field, and the capacity to bring dynamic development to the School’s teaching and research on Shakespeare at all levels. S/he will have strong and varied experience in university teaching, and will be able to teach and supervise more broadly in early modern literature and culture. The School does not seek at this time to appoint a drama-in-performance specialist. The appointee will contribute to the School’s undergraduate and postgraduate work by convening and sharing lecture-modules, teaching seminar groups, and supervising MA and PhD students on Shakespeare and related topics. A strong contribution to the research culture of the School will be expected. A record of applications for external research funding, commensurate with the experience of the applicant, will be an advantage, as will the capacity and willingness to network and co-develop collaborative research projects.

Candidates with a serious interest in one or more of the following may gain an advantage:

The reception of Shakespeare in later literature and culture, including film and other media; Shakespeare and theory (e.g. psychoanalysis, new historicism, post-structuralism, feminism); Ethnicities and/or sexualities in Shakespeare studies; Digital-humanities approaches in Shakespeare and early-modern studies; Shakespeare and the printed book

Closing date: 5pm, Wednesday 6th June 2012


May 7, 2012

Dear friends (old, new, and soon-to-be),

As a little bank holiday treat, we’re extending registration to Friday 11 May, so anyone who missed the first deadline can send in their abstracts and forms without paying late fees.

Richard III tickets are going fast, so even though auditors have until May 25, it’s a good idea to reserve a spot sooner than later!

And for everyone attending BritGrad 2012, here’s a sneak peek at this year’s swanky (non-fancy dress) party:

Friday, June 15th
8pm – late
Come join us for a fabulous cocktail party the second night of BritGrad. This is your opportunity to mingle with the other delegates and have a relaxing night out. The first round of cocktails are on us, and the bar will be serving all night long. So get dressed up, enjoy yourself, and dance the night away!

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