“Too much of a good thing”

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Preparations towards the Ninth World Shakespeare Congress in Prague continue to progress.

As Executive Secretary to The International Shakespeare Association it is my job (among other things) to pull together the academic programme for this event, and help to co-ordinate a selection of theatrical performances to run alongside the slate of plenary lectures, seminars and panel sessions.

A quick glance at the seminar and panel programmes reveals what is ‘hot’ in the world of Shakespeare Studies right now. There are sessions looking at Shakespeare’s presentation of civil war and war itself – Shakespeare’s interest in crime and punishment – and connections between Shakespeare and the Visual Arts. Our very own Paul Edmondson will be asking “What was Shakespeare really like?”, while elsewhere Shakespeare’s global significance and his relationship with the new digital age will receive consideration. For those with a nautical sensibility there will be discussion of ‘The Ocean in the age of Shakespeare’, and for the more daring, dialogue about “Magic and the Occult in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries”. A session on ‘Culinary Shakespeare’ is sure to set mouths watering, and there will be a chance to continue some of the conversations begun at a conference held here at the Shakespeare Centre in 2009, in a seminar titled “Perspectives on Shakespearian Theatre Reviewing”. In a programme which houses 55 separate academic sessions, this is obviously only the tip of the iceberg in relation to what the conference has to offer. I’ve said nothing for instance of Karl Marx – Arab Stages – Renaissance plants – children’s literature – editing Hamlet – Shakespeare’s Ireland – trauma and memory in Early Modern England – or – Shakespearian stagings in post-communist Europe….. intrigued? ….bemused?……excited?

This week saw the launch of the congress website www.shakespeare2011.net All of the relevant information about how to register for the conference, where to stay, and what to see and do in the Czech Republic before and after the event can now be found on these pages. The site will receive regular updates in the run-up to the congress which will take place 17 – 22nd July 2011. Registration for the event opens from 1st December.

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Author:Nick Walton

Nick Walton is a Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

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