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Celebrating Shakespeare
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Book description

On the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, this collection opens up the social practices of commemoration to new research and analysis. An international team of leading scholars explores a broad spectrum of celebrations, showing how key events - such as the Easter Rising in Ireland, the Second Vatican Council of 1964 and the Great Exhibition of 1851 - drew on Shakespeare to express political agendas. In the USA, commemoration in 1864 counted on him to symbolise unity transcending the Civil War, while the First World War pulled the 1916 anniversary celebration into the war effort, enlisting Shakespeare as patriotic poet. The essays also consider how the dream of Shakespeare as a rural poet took shape in gardens, how cartoons challenged the poet's élite status and how statues of him mutated into advertisements for gin and Disney cartoons. Richly varied illustrations supplement these case studies of the diverse, complex and contradictory aims of memorialising Shakespeare.


‘Wide-ranging in both space and time, this richly illustrated volume offers a fascinating, and often entertaining, series of studies of the numerous different ways in which Shakespeare has been celebrated and commemorated over the centuries.'

Stanley Wells - The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

'Celebrating Shakespeare is a timely, engaging, and thought-provoking collection. Building on current developments in the study of collective memory, it offers important insight into the productive relationships between the past and the present, memory and identity, and culture and politics. Simultaneously, it contributes to the ongoing debates surrounding Shakespeare’s cultural capital and the uses to which it can be put. While theoretically sophisticated, the volume is very readable and will certainly capture the interest of students of cultural history and anybody who likes to hear a fascinating, little-known tale from the past … It lays the foundations for discussing other cases of Shakespearean commemorations, especially in the wake of the 2016 Quatercentenary.'

Monika Smialkowska Source: English: Journal of the English Association

‘Celebrating Shakespeare: Commemoration and Cultural Memory, a handsome volume of fifteen essays, ably edited by Clara Calvo and Coppélia Kahn, analyses the way in which commemorative practices have shaped our idea of Shakespeare and have helped create a powerful cultural institution or, as Graham Holderness has termed it, a 'myth'. … this important volume presents us with many riches and is itself a fitting, self-reflective commemorative act celebrating, but also interrogating, Shakespeare and what we’ve made him.’

Irena R. Makaryk Source: Archiv

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