Donald Hedrick (Kansas State University) and Edel Semple (University College Cork) Although scholarly interest in available “alternatives” to early modern London theater has recently grown, a focused examination of their relation to Shakespeare has been somewhat absent. Beginning with the position that London’s “entertainment industry” invites a perspective on Shakespeare’s theater which is not dismissive of these entertainments but sees them as integral to and indices of pleasure-production of the time, this seminar aims to redress the existing scholarly gap.
Seminar papers may examine single entertainments (such as bear-baiting, gambling, sports, hearing sermons, drinking, fairs, or other activities), or elements of them in representations or allusions, or they may address the complex theoretical relationship between this culture and Shakespeare’s work.
Central questions may include these:
- What similar or different aesthetics were available in London’s wider entertainment offerings?
- In what ways was Shakespeare’s work informed by or even in competition with these entertainments?
- What entertainments did Shakespeare depict, how were they inserted, and to what ends?
- What was the audience reception of these, either as original recreations or in their secondary representations by Shakespeare?
- What is gained or lost in Shakespeare’s “translation” of them?
- What sorts of pleasures did they embody for Shakespeare, whether disorderly and “low,” or licit and “higher”?
Registration for this seminar can be found online at the World Shakespeare Congress 2016 website.