Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: Stars Down to Earth: Materializing Celebrity

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This article is about the annual Shakespeare Birthday lecture. View the full list of all Shakespeare Birthday Lectures to date here. For other articles about Shakespeare's Birthday, see Shakespeare's Birthday (disambiguation).

For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a lecture given by Joseph Roach on October 4 2016, as part of the 2016 Anniversary Lecture Series.

This lecture discussed literary celebrity.

Listen to the lecture here:


Read the transcript.

Overview: Literary celebrity expands beyond the literary canon, inspiring fan cults that resemble those otherwise devoted to icons of popular culture. Standing above and apart in the scope of their fame, Shakespeare and Austen also claim pride of place in the number and ingenuity of the physical objects created to represent them. Now that these two stars are summoned by their first names to appear together at the Folger in the presence of the tchochkes collected in their memory, it's time to ask what heavenly magic they have in common that makes so many admirers want to bring them down to earth.

Lecturer: Joseph Roach is the Sterling Professor of Theater and English, Chair of the Theater Studies Advisory Committee, and Director of Theater at Yale University. His books include 'It', 'Cities of the Dead: Cricum-Atlantic Performance', and 'The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting'. archive.