Shakespeare on Screen in Theory and Practice (seminar)

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

This was a spring 2008 semester seminar.

The past two decades have witnessed an array of new approaches to the staging of Shakespeare on screen, ranging from Peter Greenaway’s genre-bending experiments in “database” cinema to Michael Almereyda’s recasting of Hamlet as a devotee of visual technologies as well as to Julie Taymor’s postmodern collisions of time and space. The seminar took stock of this diversity, paying particular attention to the audio-visual idioms these adaptations draw on: from European art film to the conventions of television, documentary, rock video, performance art, computer games, broadband cinema, and other new media. Recent critical approaches to screen Shakespeare have also been synthetic in their methodological and theoretical emphases, drawing on the resources of film and television studies, performance studies, textual studies, and new media studies. The seminar focused on several of the more cutting-edge developments in screen Shakespeare, welcoming a range of approaches to adaptation, exhibition, and reception. It sought opportunities to look back from this recent period of experimentation to the long history of Shakespeare on screen, inviting reflection on the place of audio-visual adaptations in academic and classroom practice. Above all, the seminar sought to identify larger avenues of inquiry as well as the skills and technical resources that will be needed as the field continues to expand.

Directors: Thomas Cartelli and Katherine Rowe are the co-authors of New Wave Shakespeare on Screen (2007). Thomas Cartelli is Professor of English and NEH Professor of Humanities at Muhlenberg College. In addition to many articles on Shakespeare and various media, he is the author of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and the Economy of Theatrical Experience (1991) and Repositioning Shakespeare: National Formations, Postcolonial Appropriations (1999).

Katherine Rowe is Professor of English at Bryn Mawr, author of Dead Hands: Fictions of Agency, Renaissance to Modern (1999), and co-editor of Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion (2004). Her current work focuses on adaptation as a cultural process and on the place of screen media in Shakespeare studies.