Sidelights on Shakespeare
Sidelights on Shakespeare - an Interdisciplinary Seminar Series
NEXT SESSION: To be announced.
copyright :Sarah Lee
Andrew Dickson, Visiting Fellow, University of Warwick and Theatre Editor, Guardian News and Media.
Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys around Shakespeare’s Globe.
Tuesday 18 February 2014
For the last two years, Guardian journalist and writer Andrew Dickson has been travelling the world, researching a new book on global Shakespeare to be published in 2016.
Sidelights on Shakespeare was delighted to host Andrew Dickson's third lecture in the Worlds Elsewhere Tour: Deutschland ist Hamlet, Germany's Shakespeare.
‘Deutschland ist Hamlet’: Germany’s Shakespeare
When the poet Friedrich Freilingrath claimed in 1844 that “Germany is Hamlet”, it was more than a lament for his country’s political indecision – it hinted at the eerily vivid presence Shakespeare has in German political and literary culture.
Germany is not only home to the world’s most august Shakespeare society, the Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft; it also stages more professional Shakespeare than any other country in the world, the UK included.
This lecture follows a journey from Gdásnk in Poland (formerly Danzig), where English actors were perhaps the first to take Shakespeare’s work abroad during his lifetime, to Weimar, the centre of Germany’s romantic literary cult. It also touches on the sometimes troubling relationship between Shakespeare and German politics, which came to a head during the Third Reich.
Past Events in the 2013-14 programme:
'Shakespeare and War: Some Aspects of Appropriation'
Dr Catherine M.S. Alexander, Fellow of The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham
Wednesday 5th February 2014
The two anniversaries that are being marked in 2014 - the birth of Shakespeare in 1564 and the start of the First World War in 1914 - prompted the research for Dr Alexander’s paper. In it she considers the reception, appropriation and context of Shakespeare's work (with brief allusions to content) where, not surprisingly perhaps, Dr Alexander uncovers a tale in which nationhood and patriotism feature strongly, with the dramatist as contested cultural property. The association of 'Shakespeare and War' in this paper is not confined to the 1914-18 hostilities, although that is where she concludes, considering along the way domestic as well as international conflicts, and some biographical conjecture.
'King Lear, Twitter and The Da Vinci Code'
John Curtis (MA Barraster, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
29th November 2013
On 27 July 2012, in his judgment following ‘The Twitter Joke Trial’, the Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales quoted from King Lear (Folio). The trial was the first time a British Court had considered the use of Twitter in the context of a bomb hoax. The judgment was hailed as ‘a victory for common sense’, reversing decisions of two lower courts. It now provides authority against similar prosecutions. This paper argues that the use of a four-hundred-year-old Shakespearean text in negotiating modern legal principles is of considerable cultural significance – both through using the familiar to respond to the new – and by invoking Shakespeare’s voice within the powerful social mechanism of the law courts. The reception of this published decision stands in marked contrast to judicial criticism of Mr Justice Peter Smith for incorporating ideas from Dan Bown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code into a judgment regarding a multi-million pound copyright suit.
This 30 minute paper considered the advantages and disadvantages of literary allusions within legal proceedings, contrasting these two widely reported judgments. It considers the fall out, highlighting Shakespeare’s acceptability and apparent utility in legal discourse.
'Sidelights on Shakespeare' has been running for over three years at Warwick University and has had some brilliant speakers taking interesting perpectives on all things Shakespeare. It embraces the plurality of Shakespeare(s), historical and contemporary, and offers unusual and thought-provoking approaches from scholars working in a diverse range of faculties, disciplines and theoretical fields. Through sideways explorations of the ways in which aspects of Shakespeare are interpreted, packaged, enlisted and attacked, the series aims to illuminate what it is that continues to make Shakespeare so broadly important.
S dot A dot Tillotson at warwick dot ac dot ukEmma Poltrack:
E dot Poltrack at warwick dot ac dot uk