Archive for June, 2012


Shakespeare’s transformation and translation happening in Wales this summer

June 30, 2012

“Just like those proverbial buses there’s not one but two enormously promising productions in Wales as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. National Theatre Wales’s ‘Coriolan/us’ will be staged by a long-established theatre team, Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes, in a gargantuan, decommissioned aircraft hangar in south Wales – Hangar 858 to be precise – and even they admit it’s a bit daunting. With a relatively small cast of eleven it’ll mean harnessing technology and moving people around a lot: one imagines that will include the nightly audience of 400 who’ll be kept on their toes.”


“Still on the theme of disused aircraft Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the Welsh language sister company will be presenting a new translation of The Tempest as Y Storm, on the disused airfield at Llandow in the Vale of Glamorgan, a site that will host this year’s National Eisteddfod. It’ll have a lot of circus skills on show to match the juggling elegance of the language. Elen Bowman, on directing duties, is one of our best young theatre makers. It augurs well, even if there is a storm brewing.”

Read the rest from Jon Gower on the myShakespeare website.


Senior Lecturer in English Literature

June 29, 2012
Name of Institution
University of Glamorgan
£38,140 – £44,166 per annum
Applications are invited for a Senior Lectureship in English Literature in either the early modern period and/or the long eighteenth century. The research specialism is open but applications from those with expertise in Literature and Science or Welsh Writing in English are particularly welcome. You will have a high quality record of research achievement through publication suitable for submission to REF 2014 and considerable teaching experience within English Literature in Higher Education. You will be expected to devise and deliver courses in your specialist area as well as making contributions to both the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula. You will also be expected to undertake relevant administrative duties commensurate with your experience and to work in partnership with staff across the Division of English.
CLOSING DATE: 20th July 2012

Shakespeare’s Shrine: The Bard’s Birthplace and the Invention of Stratford-upon-Avon

June 28, 2012

An exciting book by Dr Julia Thomas (Director of CEIR at Cardiff University) has recently been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press:

“Anyone who has paid the entry fee to visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon—and there are some 700,000 a year who do so—might be forgiven for taking the authenticity of the building for granted. The house, as the official guidebooks state, was purchased by Shakespeare’s father, John Shakespeare, in two stages in 1556 and 1575, and William was born and brought up there. The street itself might have changed through the centuries—it is now largely populated by gift and tea shops—but it is easy to imagine little Will playing in the garden of this ancient structure, sitting in the inglenook in the kitchen, or reaching up to turn the Gothic handles on the weathered doors.

In Shakespeare’s Shrine Julia Thomas reveals just how fully the Birthplace that we visit today is a creation of the nineteenth century. Two hundred years after Shakespeare’s death, the run-down house on Henley Street was home to a butcher shop and a pub. Saved from the threat of an ignominious sale to P. T. Barnum, it was purchased for the English nation in 1847 and given the picturesque half-timbered façade first seen in a fanciful 1769 engraving of the building. A perfect confluence of nationalism, nostalgia, and the easy access afforded by rail travel turned the house in which the Bard first drew breath into a major tourist attraction, one artifact in a sea of Shakespeare handkerchiefs, eggcups, and door-knockers.

It was clear to Victorians on pilgrimage to Stratford just who Shakespeare was, how he lived, and to whom he belonged, Thomas writes, and the answers were inseparable from Victorian notions of class, domesticity, and national identity. In Shakespeare’s Shrine she has written a richly documented and witty account of how both the Bard and the Warwickshire market town of his birth were turned into enduring symbols of British heritage—and of just how closely contemporary visitors to Stratford are following in the footsteps of their Victorian predecessors.”

Visit the publisher’s webpage for the book here

Read the first pages of the book on


CFP: La langue de Shakespeare

June 21, 2012

Shakespeare’s tongue – Call for papers for the 2013 French Shakespeare Society Congress (SFS)

The 2013 Conference of the French Shakespeare Society will take place in Paris in March 21-23, 2013.

Rationale by Jean-Michel Déprats and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin

Enter Shakespeare, painted full of tongues

Shakespeare’s tongue is and is not « Shakespeare’s tongue » or what the French call « la langue de Shakespeare ». If Shakespeare has largely contributed to the evolution and enrichment of the English tongue, the language that is cultivated in his works seems in many ways to be as far from the English of his time as from the English spoken by our contemporaries. As a foreign language within the English language, both near and distant, dead and living, Shakespeare’s tongue is all the more fertile since it resists comprehension, pronunciation and translation, forbidding any stability of sound and meaning. The great number of Shakespearean dictionaries can in itself suggest that Shakespeare’s tongue is not one but multiple, a theatrical tongue, a living tongue par excellence, which has spoken to us and has been spoken for four centuries, on stages worldwide. It is “of an age” but also “for all time” and if, according to Jonson, the playwright had “small Latin and less Greek”, one can nevertheless say about Shakespeare that « he hath the tongues » (Much Ado About Nothing, 5.1.163).

The Anatomy of the Tongue in Shakespeare’s World

In his treatise Lingua (1525), echoing the story of Aesop’s tongues, Erasmus described the tongue as the best and the worst organ, calling it an “ambivalent organ”, an idea similar to the biblical proverb according to which “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18 : 21). Shakespeare’s plays draw our attention to the materiality of the tongue, which appears as the organ of taste and “gormandizing” (2Henry IV, 5.3.53) but also as an instrument of speech that allows us to “do things with words”, an organ that is “doubly portcullised” (Richard II, 1.3.161) with lips and teeth and whose barriers are often transgressed. To study Shakespeare’s tongue is to explore how Shakespeare represents the tongue in a corpus where the word “tongue” in all its forms appears more than 600 times, according to the Harvard Concordance. « There’s a double tongue ; there’s two tongues » (Much Ado About Nothing, 5.1.165-66) : whether it be caressing or wounding, poisonous or sweet, eloquent or rebellious, feminine or masculine, the tongue that appears in Shakespeare’s world is the subject of numerous comments that are embedded in the biblical and classical culture of the tongue but whose specificities are worthwhile exploring.

Shakespeare as a foreign language

One of the purposes of this congress is to examine the particularities of the Shakespearean idiom and to assess the playwright’s and poet’s part in the shaping and the evolution of the English language. Contributors are invited to consider what makes Shakespeare’s language different from Marlowe’s or Jonson’s and to examine the reasons why “Shakespeare’s tongue” has come to stand for the English language as a whole. Further topics for study might include the evolution of Shakespeare’s language from one play to the other, from one period to the next, as well as the challenges that Shakespeare’s tongue presents for translators. The heteroglossia that emerges from Shakespeare’s “gallimaufry” of words will be another object of focus and the congress will welcome analyses of the presence of foreign languages (French, Latin, Italian, Spanish), of dialects (Irish, Scottish, Welsh), and idiolects such as « Pistolisms », or « Quicklyisms ».

Shakespeare as a living language

A vehicle for poetic expression, the Shakespearean idiom is also a spectacular tongue, designed to be seen, embodied, tasted and voiced out. Both good and evil, amorous and injurious, sweet and bitter, Shakespeare’s words dramatize a war of tongues which achieves its full meaning in performance. Contributors are invited to examine the various features of this war of tongues as well as the good and evil tongues that inhabit Shakespeare’s world. The orality, pronunciation and articulation of Shakespeare’s language will be another area of study.

Adapting the biblical aphorism (James 3 :7-8), one could say that “Shakespeare’s tongue … can no man tame”.

Call for papers

Taming the untamable: those of you who wish to meet this paradoxical challenge can send their proposals to before October 1st, 2012.

Visit the SFS wesite here:


The Changing of the Bard: Examining Cultural Constructions of The Tempest

June 14, 2012

Michael Goodman (Cardiff University) gave a paper yesterday at Swansea University as part of the Postgraduate History & Classics Forum Summer Symposium 2012. The topic of the symposium was “Sex, Identity and Morality”.

Here is his abstract:


The Changing of the Bard:

Examining Cultural Constructions of The Tempest


Sex, Identity and Morality are all deeply entwined in Shakespeare’s final masterpiece The Tempest. The aim of this paper is to explore, through three cinematic appropriations of the play, how these concepts have been upheld or subverted in the past sixty years. I will begin with a discussion on Forbidden Planet (1956), which re-imagines The Tempest as a deep space film epic to explore the troubling moral question of how technology should be used appropriately to comment powerfully upon the United States’ political situation and sense of self identity in the 1950’s. Secondly, I will analyse Derek Jarman’s controversial and radical interpretation of the play, The Tempest (1979). In the visual techniques and textual strategies Jarman employs, he creates a sexually subversive and powerful reading of the play that foreshadows Margaret Thatcher’s eleven years as Prime Minister of Britain. Finally, I shall examine Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books (1991).  I suggest that Greenaway’s presentation of women is deeply problematic and that the film is curiously amoral.  The Tempest, I will argue, should be seen as a play that is always reflecting society back at itself, in all its moral complexity.


Postgraduate History and Classics Forum

Michael John Goodman


Shakespeare’s Curtain theatre unearthed in east London

June 6, 2012

From The Guardian today:

Well preserved remains of Shakespeare’s original “wooden O” stage, the Curtain theatre where Henry V and Romeo and Juliet were first performed, have been discovered in a yard in east London.

The Curtain theatre in Shoreditch preceded the Globe on the Thames as Shakespeare’s first venue, showcasing several of his most famous plays. But it was dismantled in the 17th century and its precise location lost.

Now part of the gravelled yard in Shoreditch where the groundlings stood, ate, gossiped and watched the plays, and foundation walls on which the tiers of wooden galleries were built have been uncovered in what was open ground for 500 years while the surrounding district became one of the most densely built in London.

Experts from Museum of London Archaeology (MoLA) have found two sections of exterior wall, crucial for giving the dimensions of the theatre, and are confident of revealing more as the site is cleared for redevelopment. An outer yard paved with sheep knuckle bones could date from the theatre or slightly later housing.

Read the rest of the article here.


June 2, 2012

It’s official! The programme is set! The committee are jubilant, and we hope you are, too. [If not, you know how to reach us via e-mail.]

**UPDATE** We’ve made some changes to the schedule, but I everyone directly affected has been contacted personally. Please take a look at the newest programme, linked below, to adjust your conference paper-viewing-attack-plan as necessary.

You’re welcome to download a pdf of the programme here: BG programme 2012

nb This version is formatted for chronological reading, not for printing as a booklet; for that version, you’ll need to wait till the actual conference.

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