Monday 21 July 2014

ENGL31212 Transnational Shakespeare: Texts, Places, Identities

Transnational Shakespeare: Texts, Places, Identities

Dr Fred Shurink

Shakespeare lived in an age that witnessed rapidly expanding overseas trade, an influx of immigrants into London, the widespread importation, translation, and imitation of contemporary European and ancient Greek and Roman books, overseas exploration and encounters with other civilizations and races, increasingly troubled relations between the four ‘British’ nations (England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland), religious wars with the Continent and the threat of foreign invasion. This course will explore early modern England’s lively and diverse transnational culture in relation to a wide range of Shakespeare’s plays, from histories to tragedies, and from problem plays to Roman plays. We will look at the presentation of foreign languages and characters on the stage, Shakespeare’s appropriation of foreign-language texts (both ancient and modern), and the plays’ use of foreign settings. We will also read the plays alongside a variety of foreign-language texts in translation, from language manuals to travel accounts, from Italian tales to Roman histories, and from treatises on European politics to essays on the New World. In so doing, the course invites you to examine the tension between England’s new self-assertiveness as a nation and an empire and the interrelations and interdependencies which existed between England and a range of foreign cultures in the early modern period. Exploring a variety of national, racial, religious, political, class, and gender identities within the plays, the course will encourage students to interrogate such concepts as ‘nation’, ‘language’, and ‘English literature’ in relation to England’s most iconic writer, William Shakespeare.


Primary Reading


These are the primary texts that we will be studying


Week 1. Introduction: Global Shakespeare from the Renaissance to the Present


Week 2. English Lessons: Henry V


Week 3. England’s Borders: Richard II


Week 4. French Words: All’s Well That Ends Well


Week 5. Italian Tales and English Protestantism: Measure for Measure


Week 6. Reading week


Week 7. Global Trade and Religious Conflict: The Merchant of Venice


Week 8. Barbary and Barbarity: Othello


Week 9. Learning from Ovid: Titus Andronicus


Week 10. Exemplary Romans: Julius Caesar


Week 11. The Translation of Empire: Antony and Cleopatra


Week 12. Ethnocentrism: The Tempest


Indicative Reading

This is a selection of secondary reading for the course and is, of course, not compulsory.

Baker, David J., Between Nations: Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell and the Question of Britain (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997)

Baker, David J. and Willy Maley, eds., British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Burrow, Colin, Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

Delabastita, Dirk and Ton Hoenselaars, eds., Multilingualism in the Drama of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, Special issue of English Text Construction, 6. 1 (2013)

Fuchs, Barbara, The Poetics of Piracy: Emulating Spain in English Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)

Hadfield, Andrew, Literature, Travel, and Colonial Writing in the English Renaissance, 1545-1625 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998)

Hadfield, Andrew, and Paul Hammond, eds, Shakespeare and Renaissance Europe (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2005)

Helgerson, Richard, Forms of Nationhood: The Elizabethan Writing of England (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1995)

James, Heather, Shakespeare’s Troy: Drama, Politics, and the Translation of Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)

Lawrence, Jason, ‘Who the devil taught thee so much Italian?’: Italian Language Learning and Literary Imitation in Early Modern England (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005)

Maley, Willy and Margaret Tudeau-Clayton, eds., This England, That Shakespeare: New Angles on Englishness and the Bard (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010)

Marrapodi, Michele, ed., Shakespeare and the Italian Renaissance: Appropriation, Transformation, Opposition (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015)

Matar, Nabil, Britain and Barbary, 1589-1689 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005)

Parker, Patricia, Shakespeare from the Margins: Language, Culture, Context (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996)

Saenger, Michael, Shakespeare and the French Borders of English (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2013)

Saenger, Michael, ed., Interlinguicity, Internationality, and Shakespeare (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014)

Sousa, Geraldo, Shakespeare’s Cross-Cultural Encounters (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2002)

Vitkus, Daniel J., Turning Turk: English Theater and the Multicultural Mediterranean, 1570-1630 (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2003)





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