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Spanish and Portuguese Society for English Renaissance Studies



Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED),

Madrid, 23-25 March 2011.





University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts., UK




“The Mind’s Construction”: Biography and Shakespeare’s Face

 “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face” says King Duncan. Usually we rely on the face to identify a person, to distinguish him or her from others, and to tell us much, though not necessarily everything, about their personality.  Certainly the art of biography would regard the subject’s face as primary evidence, and most modern biographies display a gallery of images, photographs, drawings or paintings, delineating the subject’s life, where possible, from infancy to death. “A man’s face”, observed Oscar Wilde, “is his autobiography”.

Although Shakespeare’s face is one of the most insistently reproduced icons in the world, there are only two portraits which have claim to authenticity, in the normal sense of being more or less closely derived from the subject’s actual living appearance: Gheerhart Janssen’s bust in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford, and Martin Droeshout’s title-page engraving to the 1623 First Folio. Neither has been universally liked, and neither regarded (though they are the only sources for Shakespeare’s appearance) as a satisfactory likeness. Over the centuries other images have been preferred, such as the Chandos and Cobbe portraits. But what is it that we seek in these various dissimilar representations? The secret of Shakespeare’s genius? The mind’s construction in the face?

This paper surveys the uses made of Shakespearean portraiture, considering the various likenesses and their application to different contexts. The question addressed is whether, when we contemplate these images, we are seeking Shakespeare, or rather a reflection of our own desires.



HÖFELE, Andreas


Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, Munich, Germany




Facing the Beast: Human-Animal Border Traffic in Shakespeare’s Theatre

 Epitomizing over a century of Renaissance physiognomy, Charles Le Brun’s celebrated man-animal studies of 1671 offer a striking illustration of a disconcerting border-zone of human-animal indistinction (Fig. 1). Shakespeare figures the human in similarly questionable, albeit much less schematic, shape. As Erica Fudge points out, modern criticism has tended to “ignore the constant presence of animals in early modern writings about the human”. My paper is an attempt to rectify this omission by offering an approach to Shakespearean anthropology which takes full account of its reliance on the presence of animals. Pre-Cartesian man is animal, but never just animal. The force of Lear's epiphanic moment in Act 3 (“Is man no more than this?”) lies precisely in the breakdown of normal and normative distinction. I will explore this breakdown with particular attention to the role of passion, beginning with Lear's unleashing of sovereign wrath in the play’s opening scene.


 Fig. 1. Plates 13A, 13B in L.-J.-M. Morel d'Arleux, (d'après Charles Lebrun), Dissertation sur un traité de Charles Lebrun concernant le rapport de la physionomie humaine avec celle des animaux (Paris, Chalcographie du Musée Napoléon, 1806). Plates after Lebrun’s drawings for his Traité du rapport de la figure humaine avec celle des animaux [1671]. 493 x 340 mm.  590 x 430 mm.


KAHN, Coppèlia


Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA




Reading Faces in Hamlet 

When do faces lie, and when do they tell the truth?  In Hamlet, how can anyone know?  The device on which the entire play hinges, “The Mousetrap,” depends on Hamlet’s expectation that Claudius’s “occulted guilt” will, when he sees his crime enacted onstage, break down the customary composure of one who can “smile, and smile, and be a villain,” to become fully visible in his face.  Contrarily, Hamlet claims the privilege of an emotion that can’t be communicated in facial expression when he famously declares “I have that within that passes show.”

To understand how this interplay between facial surface and inexpressible depth plays out in Hamlet, I will draw on early modern discourses of face-reading.  On one hand, physiognomy holds that the face is necessarily the index of the mind, and offers a method for deciphering it. On the other hand, regimens of bodily discipline that inform courtiership, and the Christian belief that only God knows the heart’s truth, frustrate the pat certainties of physiognomy.  The ambiance of secrecy, courtly dissimulation and spying that permeates Elsinore invites its complement, the language of “showing,” “telling,” and “discovery” that is at the core of physiognomy. By looking closely at three scenes in which faces matter, I will try to illuminate this hermeneutic impasse at the core of the play.


ORGEL, Stephen


Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA




Seeing Through Costume 

Disguises in Elizabethan drama are always presumed to be impenetrable, effectively concealing the self, whereas costume is designed to adorn the self, to make the self more strikingly recognizable. Both concepts are essential elements of theater, though costume, as a defining feature of almost any social role, is also essential to the functioning of every human culture. The permanence and impenetrability of the self beneath the costume, and therefore the essential superficiality of the costume, however, has not always been taken for granted. The paper considers the changing effects of disguise and costume both on concepts of the self and on assumptions about the kind of reality represented by theater.


PASTER, Gail Kern


Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, USA




The Ecology of the Passions in Shakespeare 

For Shakespeare and his contemporaries generally, emotions were the body’s weather —its winds and its waves. It was commonplace to compare the passions to storms at sea or contrary winds tossing the clouds. Such comparisons are another strong indication that the early moderns conceived of interiority as a liquid state. Shakespeare has Gertrude describe Hamlet’s rage as the contention of winds and rain, and Pyrrhus’s hesitation before the kneeling Priam is likened to the stillness before a storm. These are examples of “the ecology of the passions” —where human emotion is understood as a feature of the natural world and is represented as fully shared between animate and inanimate objects in that world. But imagery drawn from the natural world also works in cognitive terms: the realm of the mental expands beyond the body and brain to encompass social, cultural, and physical environments. At such moments “inside” and “outside” come together as aspects of one another in what Timothy Reiss has described as the “passibility” of the early modern self.

In this paper, I find two moments of inside and outside coming together in Othello and The Winter’s Tale, as Othello and Leontes come to experience their jealousy as a matter of disgust with and betrayal by a natural world filled with loathsome toads, sluiced ponds, spiders at the bottom of a cup. These become external sites of the mind, places where the jealous husband can store unacceptable knowledge using an imagery that precisely mirrors the mind-darkening effects of negative emotion. I will suggest how these moments are examples of the ecology of the passions more broadly in Shakespeare and early modern thought.



Catedrático (Chair)

Universidad de Sevilla, Spain




Women in Breeches and Modes of Masculinity in Restoration Comedy 

The dramatic tradition that featured female characters dressed in man’s costume was revived after the theatres reopened in the Restoration, with the difference that this time these roles were played by actresses. Critics like Norman Holland have argued that the contemplation of the female body, facilitated by their wearing breeches, reinforced the eroticization of the actresses for the sake of predominantly male audiences. But even if the actresses’ bodies remained the object of erotic contemplation, their breeches roles can also be interpreted as evidence of a progressive acknowledgment of the social possibilities of female agency, according to Jean Howard and Juliet Dusinberre, among others. This interpretation has been questioned, too by critics (Lisa Jardine, Douglas Canfield) who claim that breeches roles ultimately confirm the supremacy of male values. My own contention is that, in the Restoration, these roles did not only raise female agency to a level equal –if not superior, occasionally– to male agency; they also served to disrupt certain fashionable notions on the nature of masculinity, and therefore illustrate a trend that promoted new gender modes. Sadly, this trend had to continuity after the Restoration; but in this period it was represented by a fair number of plays. To argue this thesis, I will focus on three comedies in particular, that represent as many stages in the development of this trend: the anonymous The Woman Turned Bully (1675), Thomas Shadwell’s The Woman Captain (1680), and Thomas Southerne’s Sir Anthony Love (1691), all of them featuring women wearing breeches and upsetting male order with both comic and serious consequences.





Catedrática (Chair)

Universidad de Huelva, Spain



Stuart Women Playwrights 1613-1713, Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama Series, London: Ashgate, 2010.  

In the field of seventeenth-century English drama, women participated not only as spectators or readers, but more and more as patronesses, as playwrights, and later on as actresses and even as managers. This study examines English women writers' tragedies and tragicomedies in the seventeenth century, specifically between 1613 and 1713, which represent the publication dates of the first original tragedy (Elizabeth Cary's The Tragedy of Mariam) and the last one (Anne Finch's Aristomenes) written by a Stuart woman playwright. Through this one-hundred year period, major changes in dramatic form and ideology are traced in women's tragedies and tragicomedies.

In examining the whole of the century from a gender perspective, this project breaks away from conventional approaches to the subject, which tend to establish an unbridgeable gap between the early Stuart period and the Restoration. All in all, this study represents a major overhaul of current theories of the evolution of English drama as well as offering an unprecedented reconstruction of the genealogy of seventeenth-century English women playwrights.




·        Re-crafting tragedy: gender and genre in 17th-century drama;


·        Early Stuart women writers: Elizabeth Cary;


·        The Interregnum: Margaret Cavendish's dramatic experiments;


·        The Restoration commercial stage: Frances Boothby and Aphra Behn;


·        Late Stuart writers I: Mary Pix and Delarivier Manley;


·        Late Stuart writers II: Catharine Trotter and the historical tragedy;


·        The last of the Stuarts: Jane Wiseman and Anne Finch;


·        Works cited;


·        Index.


Format: 234 x 156 mm.


Extent:  158 pages.


Binding:         Hardback.


ISBN:     978-0-7546-6713-1.


Price :    £ 50.00 (€ 59 approx.).

              Ashgate website price: £45.00 (€ 53.10 approx.):



Available as an ebook, ISBN: 978-1-4094-2464-2:











PhD candidate

Universidad de Salamanca, Spain




The Eliotian Concept of Metaphysical Poetry: the Tension between passio and ratio


Far from regarding the metaphysical poetry as something hidden or obscure, T.S. Eliot tried to recover and reformulate the idea of the metaphysical coining a new concept that would take flesh in his own poetry. In his Clark (1926) and Turnbull Lectures (1933), T. S. Eliot posed his theory of the metaphysical poetry, the story of “the disintegration of the intellect and belief” that would have occurred in the passage from the Italian Trecento (Dante and the trecentisti) to the English Seicento (the metaphysical poets), and would finally culminate in the France of the nineteenth century (Laforgue and Corbière). According to Eliot, there was a qualitative change “from ontology to psychology”.

Besides his criticism of the unbalanced relationship between the passionate and the rational that he observed in seventeenth-century English poets, his devotion for them seems to be undeniable. As a matter of fact, he would dedicate one of his earliest essays to “The Metaphysical Poets” (1921). Yet T. S. Eliot’s idea of the metaphysical poetry would surpass the traditional framework to which this type of poetry has been circumscribed. Furthermore, his theory of the metaphysical poetry is built upon a double axis made up by philosophy and mysticism.

Aiming to (re)integrate feeling and thought to their primeval conjunction, both the philosophical and the mystical backgrounds of T. S. Eliot's poetry embody a sincere attempt to (re)unify the real and the ideal. In this sense, Eliot would follow the measured steps of the classical philosophy and would combine the most significant Eastern (Christian) and Western (Hindu and Buddhist) types of mysticism.

My purpose in this paper is then to explain the Eliotian concept of metaphysical poetry and to show how it applies to his own poetical work, in which there is a marriage of both philosophy and mysticism.




BORGE LÓPEZ, Francisco José

Lecturer (Profesor Contratado Doctor)

Universidad de Oviedo, Spain




“It is I that am the right Sancho Pansa, that can tell many tales”: Thomas Shelton’s Translation of Don Quixote (1612 / 1620)


While it is true that Thomas Shelton’s pioneering translation of the Cervantean classic to the English language has enjoyed both popular and critical recognition ever since it first appeared in 1612 and 1620, it is also true that, in most cases, references to Shelton’s work have been limited to passing, almost casual, observations of a mere linguistic nature, or to historical commentary as to the real authorship of the translation. In this paper I take a different approach to the first translation of Don Quixote to any language ever: through the examination of Shelton’s translation and its collation with its original source (the Brussels edition of 1607 / 1616), I analyse the errors, changes, and conscious or unconscious omissions which the translation contains. Shelton’s supposed faithfulness to the Spanish original, the excessive literality for which the English translator has often been censored and attacked, makes the identification of these divergences with the original of paramount importance to establish not only if later translators (to English or to other languages) made use of Shelton’s translation instead of the Spanish original, but also to reflect on the extent to which this important translation might have influenced the reception of Cervantes’s work and its characters in seventeenth-century England.




BOTONAKI, Efrosini / Ευφροσύνη Μποτονάκη

Adjunct Lecturer,

Ελληνικό Ανοικτό Πανεπιστήμιο

(Hellenic Open University), Greece




The King’s Public Self and the Stuart Court Masque


This paper is going to discuss James and Charles’s public self-display in the masques that were performed in Whitehall palace. My discussion will begin with a reference to Elizabeth’s outdoor appearances as these stood in sharp contrast with the Stuart Kings’ preference for a more circumscribed public exposure within the confines of Whitehall. In making herself visible to her people, Elizabeth had created an illusion of proximity, which she skillfully manipulated as a ruler. James I, like his predecessor, was acutely aware of the power of public self-display and wished to utilize it to enhance his image. At the same time, however, he had an aversion for any exposure that brought him close to crowds. Court masques provided James with the ideal circumstances for public appearance as they enabled him to display himself in glory,  without requiring of him to compromise his safety or tolerate obnoxious multitudes. On the other hand, the enclosed location of the court masque and its relatively limited audience limited also its impact as a form of royalist propaganda. Furthermore, court masques had a serious downside regarding the Stuart Kings’ image as they underscored James and later Charles’s literal and figurative detachment from their people. In this respect, their appearance in these masques constituted not an act of self-exposure, but rather an act of self-enclosure. In the conclusion of my paper I will argue that the Stuart Kings’s taste for this form of court entertainment and self-display is not irrelevant either to their political absolutism or to the decline and eventual abolition of monarchy. Interestingly enough, the final act of this drama, Charles’s execution, took place outside the Banqueting House, the stately building that had hosted many of the Stuart court masques.    





Profesor Colaborador (Lecturer)

Universidad de Huelva, Spain




Reading Tears and Seeing Emblems in Crashaw’s “The Weeper”


Richard Crashaw’s “The Weeper” has been one of the most recurrent examples used to justify the gap between his poetry and the production of his contemporaries. Criticism has consistently made the poem a pivotal reference to understand not really Crashaw’s poetry but the production which has traditionally held the labels we associate with Seventeenth-Century English poetry. “The Weeper” has the honor of having represented through centuries of criticism unEnglishness, the feminine, Catholicism, the Baroque, and these qualifiers have come to be associated at the textual level with excess, fragmentation, Counter-reformation imagery and continental poetry.  However Crashaw’s poem springs from a tradition and resources which are shared by other Seventeenth century poets: The tear tradition, and within it the poems about Mary Magdalene, form a pervasive thread in English Renaissance devotional poetry; and the use of emblematic imagery, which in Seventeenth-Century English poetry often appears as an unavoidable link between text, reader and cultural episteme. The problematic drive of Crashaw towards “excessive” imagery in “The Weeper”, as in other poems, makes the reader face a particular scenario in which the stock images have been superseded, and the insertion of Crashaw’s own “graphics” announces what is to happen to the reading act. Crashaw’s poem dismantles imagery understood by Protestants and Catholics alike in order to subject readers to consider each stanza an image to be visualized: a new composite image of emblematic nature for which the recognition of sources does not suffice.





Profesor Asociado (Associate Lecturer)

Universidad de Salamanca, Spain




Speculum mortis or Spectaculum mortis? Deathbed Attendance in the Ars moriendi Tradition


Despite the progressive tendency to personalize the final moment before death in Early Modern England, convincingly argued by scholars such as Philippe Ariès or Ralph Houlbrooke, the definition of a “good death” had the attributes of “public” and “social” deeply embedded in it throughout this period. The presence of relatives, friends and servants in the Last rites was a constant at that time and deathbed scenes held community values since they applied for a wide variety of purposes. Cathartic, exemplar, forewarning or simply inspirational, public (natural) death had a significant teaching to offer to the witnesses at that final act of dying. The different Ars moriendi written in the 16th and 17th centuries, as practical manuals to be followed at that crucial moment, often dealt with the role of those attending the deathbed and the benefits achieved by getting involved in that practice. This paper tries to demonstrate how that public perception of death was increasingly systematized in these devotional treatises veering from a mere exemplary act to a rich versatile display at the end of the period. Excerpts ranging from Caxton’s The  Arte and Crafte to Knowe Well to Dye (1490) to John Kettlewell’s Death Made Comfortable (1695) will be considered to describe the development of an idea that exceeded the limits of simple public mourning.




CUDER, Primavera

Research Assistant

Universidad de Jaén, Spain




The Representation of the Moor in William Shakespeare’s Othello and Titus Andronicus and Thomas Dekker's Lust’s Dominion (ca. 1600)


During the early modern period a series of social changes in Europe initiated the creation of an intercultural situation that influenced the relationships among countries as well as the way in which certain cultures are perceived by Western societies. This situation, and especially the differences between Christian and non-Christian communities, are the main concern of the present work, focusing on the representation and treatment of the figure of the Muslim Other or Moor in Titus Andronicus (ca. 1589-92) and Othello (ca. 1603-04) by William Shakespeare, and in Thomas Dekker's Lust's Dominion (ca. 1600). In this regard, it may be argued that dramatic production not only constitutes and reflects a given culture and its economical and political situation, but that it could also be used as a means of subversion of that same culture.

Elizabethan and Jacobean drama provides an essential overview on the alien's relationship with the social conditions of the period, presenting an approach or perspective that may be regarded as a simultaneous attempt of subversion and containment of the social and ideological movements around the notion of these others. In view of this situation, we will try to grasp how these plays build the figure of the other by means of a process of cultural construction on the basis of religion, race, and ideology. Such development has a very definite objective: to construct an English early modern identity, an identity that is created in opposition (or by exclusion) to these others, aliens or strangers.





Ayudante Doctor (Assistant Lecturer)

Universidad de Jaén, Spain




“Rotten from the Root”: Spanish Genealogy According to English Anti-Spanish Pamphleteers during the Spanish Match Negotiations (1617-1624)


Several aspects on Spain and the Spaniards are depicted in the English anti-Spanish pamphlet literature produced during the so called Spanish Match Negotiations (1617-1624). Most of the issues on Spain are portrayed from a negative and critical point of view: the Spaniards’ alleged genealogy, the Spanish Universal Monarchy, the Spanish blood and race, etc., thus contributing to the construction of a Spanish Black Legend. The English Protestant pamphleteers successfully presented the Spaniards’ genealogy as being to blame for their bloodthirsty, proud, deceitful behaviour. They also highlighted the fact that their blood, the element that formed the essence of their race, was mixed with Muslim and Jewish blood, which accounted for their heretical nature. A genealogical tree of the Spanish race emerges through the literature under study where the most Catholic nation comes under attack and is effectively made to appear a Christian “other” of the early modern European world.





Research Assistant

Universidad de Sevilla, Spain




Elizabeth I, between the Woman and the Myth: Private and Public Selves in John Banks’s The Unhappy Favourite (1681)


John Banks’s The Unhappy Favourite is the first English play to present Elizabeth I as dramatic character for the commercial stage. With the portrayal of the secret amours between the queen and her favourite the Earl of Essex, Banks adapts the conventions of French romance to the formula of the English history play. The result, as critics like Dobson and Watson (2002) have stated, is the Restoration “invention” of the private life of Elizabeth. This paper analyzes Banks’s recreation of Elizabeth’s public and private identities and of their irreconcilable demands: Elizabeth appears as a self-conscious creator of her image of the Virgin Queen, realizing that her public façade is compromised by her private passion for the Earl. Thus, Banks not only presents Elizabeth as a sentimentalized character whose complex psychology is vehicled through the rhetoric of pathos, but he also explores the mechanisms which created and perpetuated the queen’s iconic dimension.





PhD candidate

Universidad de Salamanca, Spain




Much Ado about Basra: Roy Williams’s Retort to Shakespeare

In the mid-1990s there was an explosion of creativity in the new British writing scene. Roy Williams, a Londoner of African descent, has undoubtedly become one of Britain’s most successful contemporary playwrights. In his previous plays Williams has wittingly tackled the subject of violence and that of black experience, as well as the question of fractured multiculturalism within modern-day Britain. Being commissioned in 2004 by the RSC for the company’s Complete Works Festival, in one of his latest plays, Days of Significance (2007), he took Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado about Nothing as inspiration. That Shakespeare’s plays have inspired a vast collection of works by later authors is no news. Nevertheless, in this case, rather than a version of the Shakespearean play, one can find a contemporary response to Much Ado about Nothing. Borrowing character and plot elements from Shakespeare’s comedy, Roy Williams takes that play as frame to explore the effect of the Iraq war in the powerless, the exploitation and the miseries felt by the squaddies, and even the grief of the people soldiers leave behind. Thus, in this paper I will examine how Williams replaces Shakespeare’s harmonic Messina with coarse Basra. I will analyze what some of the most relevant changes in this provocative updating of Much Ado are, and, in turn, what are the vestiges of the classic play that persist in Days of Significance.




Research Assistant

Universität Siegen, Germany




The Performance of the Queen’s Voice: Private and Public Discourses in the Writings of Elizabeth I


Queen Elizabeth I is an author of a large volume of prosaic and poetic works that so far have not attracted much critical attention. A great step in the discovery of Elizabeth’s voice was the publication of her complete works in the year 2000 in a volume edited by Leah S. Marcus. In my paper I propose to investigate Elizabeth’s speeches and selected poems. It is my claim that these works are a part of complex textual performance that aimed at manipulating the readers of the Queen’s writings and at presenting a particular image of the English monarch. To my understanding these two groups of work repeat one of the most popular conceptions of monarchy in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period: the King’s Two Bodies. If the speeches represent the body politic, the poems –constructed as intimate confessions, presented as valuable private belongings of the Queen– are reserved for the performance of the body natural. The poetic works offer a vision of a vulnerable woman, susceptible to the changes of time, apprehensive of the future. These works are positioned in a complex textual performance that insists on their secretive character, on their belonging to the most valuable private belongings of Elizabeth. Therefore, in the core of my paper stands the discussion of the dichotomy public/private based on an analysis of Elizabeth’s poetic and prosaic works.





Profesor Titular (Professor)

Universidade de Vigo




Gelotophobia in Early Modern Culture: The Case of Alexander Oldys’s The Fair Extravagant (1682)


This paper borrows the term gelotophobia from recent studies on the fear of derisive laughter, most of them done from a psychological perspective, in order to relate it to early modern comments on laughter such as Philip Sidney’s, Robert Burton’s, Thomas Hobbes’s, or John Dryden’s, on the one hand; and to explain the behaviour of the male protagonist in part of the plot of Alexander Oldys’s novel The Fair Extravagant (1682), on the other. According to Michael Titze (2009), gelotophobia is a variant of shame-anxiety and a social phobia, defined as the pathological fear of being an object of laughter. Although it cannot be said that Polydor’s fear of the jeering of his relatives and friends after being (apparently) abandoned by his newly-wed wife is pathological, it is certainly a heightened and prolonged distressing emotion that he suffers at that particular and crucial moment of the story. He voices his worry explicitly in several passages of the novel, and this reveals his fragile self-confidence under the strong pressure of the shame culture and gender politics prevailing in Restoration England.




PhD candidate

Universidad de Murcia, Spain




Shakespeare’s Pending Tray: Commemorating and Rewriting Shakespeare in the 1960s


Shakespeare’s anniversaries and centenaries generally provide an occasion for an appreciation of his life and works but frequently they also invite a challenge of his cultural value and literary presence in contemporary society. His authorship is questioned, his political and religious views are contested, and his plays and poems are shown to be in need of revising, as they no longer speak to contemporary audiences.  In 1964, the celebrations marking the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth provided several tangible examples of such tension. Some British magazines and newspapers devoted space to imagining what would happen if Shakespeare came back to life in 1964. In these articles, Shakespeare witnessed the celebrations held to commemorate his achievement or saw his plays revised for 20th century audiences and TV broadcasting. As the technological advances of the 1960s impinge on the reception of the plays, Shakespeare is seen as an author in need of updating the copy in his ‘pending tray.’ Through a close reading of these newspaper sketches, and bearing in mind the socio-economic conflicts surrounding the celebrations of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary in Stratford, this paper aims to examine how certain commemorative tributes in the press questioned the unchanging value of Shakespeare and his works. Commemoration thus becomes an opportunity to both celebrate Shakespeare and display his shortcomings.





Profesor Titular (Professor)

Universidad de Jaén, Spain




“Put the Moors habits on, and paint your faces with the oil of hell”: The Representation of Blackness as Damnation in English Dramatic Texts from 1500 to 1660


A number of English plays (at least 131) from the Early Modern Period from 1500 to 1660, as available in the 1994 Chadwyck-Healey English Verse Drama Full-Text Database (Literature Online), refer indirectly to or present direct presentation of the figure of the Moor directly in several capacities and offices both in and out of the European semiosphere. In all of them the main marker of identity is blackness or several degrees of dark skin. The second marker is religious affiliation with a blurred conception of Moors rather as non-Christian and pagan, and hence doomed. Further, in some references these two markers are presented together and mutually dependant through the theological interpretation of blackness as a stain of sin, damnation, and ultimately hell. This goes together with the possibility impossibility of washing an Ethiopian / Blackamoor  white, which as a frequent impossibilia motive, appears in the iconography of the period and also naturally in the corpus of plays under study. This paper probes into the mutual relationship of the black and dark skinned face and body as a signified, its interpretation in terms of difference and the limits it imposes on the process of integration and acceptance of the Other in the English semiosphere.





PhD candidate

University of Murcia, Spain




The Departure from Shakespeare and Colonialism: A Case Study of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s 1942: A Love Story (1994)


Shakespeare achieves an important cultural presence in the Indian subcontinent during the colonial period. Shakespeare was part of the education programme elaborated for the Indian intelligentsia, and of the entertainment programme for the English colonizers. His works were performed either in English or in the vernacular Indian languages, and were targeted at English colonizers first, and, then, at educated Indians. This paper focuses on a Romeo and Juliet offshoot 1942: A Love Story (dir. Vidhu Vinod Chopra, 1994), which explores the connection between the British Raj and Shakespeare in India. Set in the “Quit India” movement in 1942, the first half of the movie has extensive allusions to Shakespeare by means of a play-within-the film and some characters modelled on Romeo and Juliet. However, the second half of the movie is characterised by a departure from Shakespeare, and what he implies. Through a postcolonial approach, the aim of this paper is to show how this is a necessary step for the film to promote a nationalist discourse as understood in the right-wing Hindutva doctrine, given that the film aims to reach a diasporic audience. The implication is that in Bollywood political Shakespearean offshoots, Shakespeare is still an ‘enemy’ to fight against, a vestige of the colonial past.





Profesora Contratada Doctora (Lecturer)

Universidad de Sevilla, Spain



Becoming a(n) (Early) Modern Reader: Genre Adaptation and the Impact of the Printing Press


The aim of this paper is to present the research project “Del manuscrito a la imprenta: estudio de la evolución de las adivinanzas y el romance en Inglaterra desde la Edad Media al Renacimiento”, currently in progress at University of Seville. This study explores the impact the revolutionary invention of the printing press had on the literary genres of the romance and the riddle collection as these two very popular forms of medieval literature had to adapt to survive in the cultural, social and economic circumstances of the Early Modern period. This new milieu completely alters the generation and reception conditions for riddles and romances to the point that the literary market refashions them according to the demands of an increasing readership. Although in their medieval origins these texts featured an instructional character and as such had a public dimension, these gradually disappear and make space for individual or family leisure, what makes their reading a private act and part of the domestic sphere. The learned insular riddle, whose prestige as didactic resource had already been established in the Anglo-Saxon period, turn into a radically different product catering for the tastes of a secular, popular urban audience and, as a result, its subject-matters, themes and scope change dramatically; on the other hand, the romance progressively departs from its original celebration of aristocratic class values and orients now towards a wider audience not necessarily identifying with chivalric ideals. Thanks to the quicker and cheaper distribution offered by the new technologies, the printed versions of riddles and romances became the best-seller works of their age, thus contributing to fix the linguistic standards and book formats of Early Modern literature.




Profesor Titular (Professor)

Universidad de Sevilla, Spain



“Intrigues laid open”: Continental Influences and Elizabeth I’s Embodiment of Affective Femininity


The transformation of Elizabeth I from the Protestant near-martyr of the mid-sixteenth century into the goddess Astraea at the end of her reign does not explain her iconic and literary metamorphosis into a sentimentalized heroine by 1700. This paper tries to fill that gap by focusing on the first continental dramatic deliveries of the queen’s alleged “amours” with the Earl of Essex: A. Coello’s El Conde de Sex o Dar la vida por su dama (1633) and La Calprenède’s Le Comte d’Essex (1639). Both texts display the motifs that will feature prominently in English presentations of the theme for more than a century: Elizabeth as a character divided between her private feelings and her public role, Essex’s pride and the conflict of divided loyalties. If Coello’s play pictures the monarch who had challenged the power of Spain with feminine traits in order to bring to the front her weaknesses, La Calprenède focuses on the violence and instability of England’s past, a  popular theme among French audiences and readers. Nevertheless both dramatic strategies have an unwanted effect: they present a moving portrait of the tyrant and by doing so both authors open the path to future handlings of Elizabeth that will remake her within the new fashions of sentimentality and court “secret histories”. 





Profesora Asociada (Associate Lecturer),

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain



Feeling is First: On How e. e. cummings Recreates Shakespeare and Campion


The American poet e. e. cummings had a habit of making vocabulary lists collecting interesting words in foreign languages, useful words he came across in miscellaneous reading and odd words used by Shakespeare. By using complex syntax and vocabulary tricks, Cummings affirms that the mind is a villain when it becomes dissociated from feeling. However, he does not mean that we must act unconsciously; he simply invites audiences to live each moment of life to its utmost. My purpose in this paper is: first, to prove that, by using William Shakespeare’s and Thomas Campion’s works as well as seventeenth-century love songs, Cummings makes linguistics and feelings compatible; and second, to explore how he transports seventeenth-century authors to his time by recreating them in a new language. In order to demonstrate it, I will analyze a selection of his works, which clearly evoke the rumors of a Jacobean garden for the delectation of the reader.






Profesor Titular (Professor)

Universidad de Murcia, Spain



Bandín Fuertes, Elena

Ayudante Doctor (Assistant Lecturer)

Universidad de Murcia, Spain



Cerdá MARTÍNEZ, Juan Francisco

Profesor Asociado (Associate Lecturer)

Universidad de Murcia, Spain



SHAKREP:  Database of Shakespearean Performances in Spain


SHAKREP is a free online database of all the Shakespearean productions performed in Spain from 1772 to the present. The virtual environment we have developed contains details of plays performed in Spain in different periods, venues and languages. It includes performances in the different languages spoken in Spain as well as productions by visiting troupes. Not all of these productions are for the theatre (in the strict sense of the term), and we have included other modes of performance (zarzuela, puppet shows, circus, etc.), which nonetheless have a Shakespearean origin. Similarly, we have also included production of work which is not strictly Shakespearean, but which has sought to adapt or develop his plays for different purposes or, alternatively, is based on Shakespeare’s biography and times. The entries of individual plays are contextualised through basic information, crew, revivals, critical responses, sources and multimedia. Users can search through a comprehensive database to find the play or plays that are relevant to their own research needs. The presentation will include a hands-on demonstration of the database and a discussion on the problems of filing Shakespearean performance, from the transformation of the theatrical event and the way it affects recording data, to problems of terminology, and the nature and reliability of the evidence archived in the database.


Link to SHAKREP, Universidad de Murcia:





Associate Professor

American University of Bulgaria




Looking Before and After: Prologues and Epilogues in the Plays of Shakespeare


Most studies of Prologues and Epilogues in Shakespeare, and there have been but few, focus on the question of liminality, or the transitioning of audiences between the worlds of reality and of the stage, often spoken in the voice of the playwright himself. In my reading, I have found that Shakespeare, when he bothers to include a Prologue or Epilogue or both, often sends a message to the audience designed to put them off balance regarding the storyline of the play.  For example, Chorus, functioning as Prologue in Romeo and Juliet, is slyly misleading in his/her summation of the play’s events.  As Tiffany Stern and others have pointed out, the “new mutiny” of the Montagues and Capulets is largely confined to the children of “their parents’ strife.”  The result of this is to create a tension among the play’s auditors, which can only be resolved by the unraveling of the plot.  [Their expectations versus what actually occurs.]  Often, then, Shakespeare sets up a textual conflict in his Prologues or in their substitutes that is a corollary to the dramatic one.  The Epilogue, on the other hand, where it occurs, strives typically for resolution.  In my paper, I plan to provide some history, both on the conventions of the Prologue and the Epilogue and on the research that exists in the field. 






Universidade do Porto, Portugal




“Sordid wealth”, “adulterate blood”: Anxieties of Power and Sex in Philip Massinger


Philip Massinger (1583-1640) has long been a challenging subject for criticism. For many, he was definitively put to rest in 1920 by T.S.Eliot, whose notorious description of a dramatist swayed by conventions while lacking emotions or imagination still resonates nearly a century later. However, Massinger’s reputation has seen significant inflections since the last quarter of the twentieth century. This paper will consider the recovery of an interest in this playwright as a reflection of current concerns. It will argue that the counter-canonical tendencies in recent criticism, involving a sceptical approach to the hierarchies that underlie literary fame, have allowed for a revaluation of aspects of Massinger’s career and reputation that historically caused him to appear as the underdog of late Jacobean and Caroline drama. Drawing especially on the political, ethical and sexual uncertainties raised by The Maid of Honour and The Great Duke of Florence, this paper will counter recent attempts to find a full-fledged social and moral philosophy in Massinger’s drama – proposing him rather as the practitioner of an art that, in its very contingency, confirms our sense of the human.




LANIER, Douglas M.


University of New Hampshire, USA

Director of the UNH London Program




Othellos True Identity and True Identitys Othello


Controversy over the nature of Othellos “true” or essential identity, typically centering on the meaning of the term Moor”, has dominated the criticism of the play and its history of performance since at least Rymers discussion of the play in 1693. The shift away from blackface performance of Othello’s part toward performance almost exclusively by black actors, the turning point marked conventionally by Paul Robesons performance of the role on Broadway in the early 1940s, raises some difficult political and theoretical questions about the relationship of actors’ identities to this particularly racially-charged Shakespearean role, the current politics of cross-racial cosmetics and “passing”, and the conceptualization of “essential” racial identity in contemporary performance of Shakespeare. In modern stage and film practice, Othello is bound up in the interplay between racial and facial politics. It has become a vehicle for the performance of black identity now reserved for black actors (and for good reasons). However, the relationship between role, race and face which underlines that practice begs for critical re-examination, especially in light of reconceptualizations and critiques of identity politics in current criticism. 

I will explore these issues in the film True Identity (dir. Charles Lane, 1991), in which Miles Pope, a black actor who longs to play Othello, dons whiteface and impersonates an Italian gangster in order to evade being murdered. The film thus engages the tricky politics of cross-racial cosmetics by employing whiteface as a substitution and metaphor for blackface; Miles’ ability to “pass” as white challenges his own conception of his racial identity and its relationship to performance. The film concludes with Miles’s performance as Othello, without makeup and in some sense as himself. That performance forms an interestingly complex performative ironizing of the “essential” blackness that, so contemporary practice would have it, underlies Othello’s identity. This complexity is compounded by the fact that the actor playing Miles Pope is the noted black British comic Lenny Henry, who brings his own complex history of performing blackness in the context of cross-racial cosmetics to the role. Henry got his start as a performer in the stage version of the British television show The Black and White Minstrel Show, a show which preserved the minstrel tradition of performance in blackface in a broadcast medium well into the 1970s; Henry’s stand-up routine, developed in working mens clubs in the mid-sixties, involved impersonating white characters, though without the aid of whiteface. Before playing Miles Pope, Henry controversially observed in an interview that he disliked Shakespeare because Shakespeare had nothing to do with him as a British black man with a Caribbean heritage. Interestingly, despite these remarks, Henry went on to play Othello in 2009 at Leeds and London (at the Trafalgar Studio). My concluding point will be that this stage production plays against True Identity in surprising, revealing and troubling ways. The stage production’s divided critical reception, all of which centered on the casting of Lenny Henry in the role of Othello, reveals that somewhat crude conceptualizations of the relationship between role and race, conceptualizations paradoxically with a basis in progressive identity politics, remain stubbornly in play when it comes to evaluating Shakespeare’s Othello.





Ayudante Doctor (Assistant Lecturer)

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain




Exploring a Shakespearean Citation: Mrs Death, Mrs Dalloway and Cymbeline


The Catalan poet Salvador Espriu opened his book Mrs Death (1952) with a line from William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline (1609-1610): “Whiles yet the dew’s on ground, gather those flowers” (I.5.1). As a metaphorical frontispiece, this epigraph may lead to considering key images and themes in Espriu’s book, bringing them into relation with Shakespeare’s play and with Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (1925), which contains allusions to Cymbeline as well.

The key to explaining the inclusion of the Shakespearean citation may very well be its echo in one of the last poems of Mrs Death, where death is viewed as preparation and where the lyrical speaker seems ready to transcend into a new form of existence. Accordingly, “gather those flowers”, in the context of Espriu’s book, might be interpreted as meaning “prepare your life in order to face death”. In giving to death connotations of relief, Espriu’s poems are close to the dirge sung by Guiderius and Arviragus and quoted (“Fear no more”) at crucial points of Mrs Dalloway. Two of the central themes of Woolf’s novel, death and the destructive power of war, would very precisely define Espriu’s own work.

Also worth considering are the appeal that some of Shakespeare’s characters (especially, the King’s doctor and Posthumus) must have had for Espriu and the emphasis on peace and forgiveness in the last scene of the play, which can be associated with Espriu’s hopes for Catalonia and Spain after the Civil War.





Profesor Titular (Professor)

Universidad de Jaén, Spain




Paradoxing the Alien: the Morisco in Early Modern English Texts


This paper will address the English early modern problematization of the Spanish Moriscos, tragic representatives of the period’s increasingly complex and contradictory preoccupation with the uncertain and ambiguous identities of the ‘enemy within’, while it will also attempt to establish their visibility in the English 16th and 17th centuries.  While the exploration of how English early modern texts deal with a diversity of others -encountered both at home and abroad- has been sufficiently documented along the past two decades, this paper will suggest that the English semiosphere (in Lotmanian terms) did not only script and reject these strangers but was also contaminated with a multiplicity of others, who were simultaneously admired, absorbed, adapted, and misrepresented in a diversity of non-literary texts: drama, dictionaries, pamphlets, and travel narratives. Among these others, the Spanish Morisco cuts across various faultlines, as a simultaneously religious, cultural and political alien of uncertain identity and contradictory allegiance.





Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) Fellow, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland




The Arts of Remembrance and Recovering Intended Reception

This paper investigates those principles of the memory-training tradition that become appropriated to cultural, artistic and literary practices in the early modern period. To achieve this, I analyse the recurring principles for prompting memory found in classical, medieval and early modern texts on memory training. While the memory texts written in different periods may be intended for varying practices (from oratorical aids to humanist endeavour), I describe how three principles are uniformly prescribed for individual exercises in all memory-training treatises: the use of order, repetition, and imagery (either associative or evocative). That these principles can also be observed in many of the emerging cultural, artistic and literary practices in the late medieval and early modern period, suggests that the memory-training tradition may be diffusely influential. A common theme of such emerging practices, I suggest, is the didactic instruction of a certain code of prudential subject behaviour (secular and religious); a code dependent upon the receiver remembering their subjection to authority and the consequences of transgressing the rules set out by that authority. Moreover, this marks a major shift in the tradition’s sphere of influence: from memory-training exercises for an individual, to appropriating the principles of memory-training to direct a wider audience’s attention to certain key ideas. This paper then moves to examine the indirect and/or residual influence of this tradition for early modern drama by identifying sequences of aural, visual and verbal cues or prompts in the plays to recover how we are directed (by the playwright’s writing and/or dramaturgical structure) to receive a text. The emphasis of this paper will be on not only what is potentially signified by these (oftentimes polysemous) cues, but also on the writing process of signification and direction. In a brief but illustrative example, I will discuss how such a critical approach might be adopted to read the play-within-the-play scene from Hamlet, while I also attend to reservations about over-privileging certain readings (or indeed play-texts) and the thorny issue of intentio auctoris.    




Senior Assistant Lecturer

Szegedi Tudómany Egyetem (University of Szeged), Hungary




Meanings of Play in Love’s Labour’s Lost


In my proposed project I plan to explore the forms and functions of thematizing play in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Representing play in the drama is understood in the paper as a means of the drama to map out the intricate relationship between itself, illusion, artistic fiction, and reality. The contemporary understanding of play was so dynamic and versatile in the age that it could appear both as the lack of reality as well as the tool necessary for reality to be created both in the theatrical sense, and in a more general sense of playing social roles in the real world. Keeping in mind this heterogeneous view of play, I wish to focus on metadramatic elements that exemplify the creative power of performance as opposed to play understood as mere fiction in order to explore my preliminary hypothesis according to which the relationship between reality and play is presented not as the opposition between the authenticity of reality on the one hand and the fictitiousness of play on the other; reality and play are not incompatible, but rather play is one of the most important characteristics of reality, or perhaps its prerequisite.



OGGIANO, Eleonora

PhD Candidate

Università degli Studi di Verona, Italy




Between Public and Private: Elizabeth I and the Rhetoric of Diminutio


Recent studies on Elizabeth Tudor have focused on the analysis of her speeches, letters, and poems in order to offer insights into both her extraordinary rhetorical expertise and her ability to construct a powerful royal iconography. The intersection of two specific modes of expression, the verbal and the visual, played a crucial role in the queen’s private and public spheres, enabling her to perform an agenda of personal and political self-fashioning. This essay discusses Elizabeth’s use of miniature paintings and its relation with a wider rhetorical programme which engages different aspects of her political scheme. I will seek to demonstrate that an emphasis on the coupling of secrecy and openness, intimacy and monarchical authority affects both her handling of miniatures and the circulation of her poems and public speeches. In addition, special attention will be paid to the queen’s construction of a rhetoric of diminutio used for specific political purposes. In other words, littleness seems to have acquired a particular rhetorical meaning for Elizabeth, involving, on the one hand, her choice to employ companies of ‘boy-actors’ during her royal entertainments, and, on the other hand, her use of specific discursive strategies, both on private/public occasions, which finds its roots in some famous rhetorical prescriptions.




Magalhães Oliveira, Susana Paula

PhD candidate

Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal




Women’s Renaissance: the Private and the Public Spheres


The Renaissance was a period of change and reassessment. The humanist educational movement and the Reformation led to innovative perspectives of the worldview, of God, and of the individual. However, the Renaissance society was simultaneously the keeper of a legacy made of traditional and scholastic ideologies on women, who were supposed to be limited to the private sphere. Women should be submissive, obedient and silent, as those were the requirements established both by the Greek philosophers and the Jewish-Christian Bible, and further postulated by the Fathers of the Church and Scholasticism exegesis. How did Aristotle, Tertullian, Thomas Aquinas, Saint Peter, or Saint Paul contribute to the ideologies which limited Renaissance women to the private sphere of events? Were the changes introduced in the Renaissance English society sufficient to alter the archetypes of mala mulier or mulier seducta and to consent her involvement in the public sphere? 

Though experiencing a ‘rebirth’ much different from that of men’s, Renaissance women slowly began/started finding ways to evade from the private sphere. The education of women advocated by the humanist movement and the private reading of the Bible defended by the Reformation empowered a minority of women, who gradually conquered the access to education and some became authors as well. It was also during this period that England faced the inevitability of having a Queen, who became both a political and a religious leader, thus transforming the established conventions regarding the limitation of women to the private sphere. Therefore, the Renaissance also implied a certain degree of change for women, namely regarding matters involved in the concepts of the private and the public spheres.





Profesor Titular (Professor)

Universidad de Extremadura, Spain




News, Tidings, Tears and Water: Some Notes on a Feature of Shakespeare’s Style


In Shakespeare’s plays –as it occurs in drama in general–, changes in the characters’ emotional frame of mind are very often caused by the news brought or communicated to them by other characters, such as messengers, servants, etc. Consequently, a number of metaphors are used by Shakespeare to refer figuratively to news –be they bad or good– which will differ depending on the effect they cause. Thus, words can be turned metaphorically into weapons –“These words like daggers enter in mine ears”, Hamlet  III.iv)–, but they can also be “fruitful tidings” for “ears that long time have been barren” (Antony and Cleopatra II.v).

This paper –whose main objective is to explore the metaphors that underlie the giving and receiving of news in Shakespeare’s drama– reports on a survey of the words news and tidings in his plays. By concentrating on these two words, the paper seeks to show that even though both nouns are normally glossed in dictionaries as synonyms or near synonyms, the latter seems to be stylistically marked, as it often occurs in contexts in which water imagery seems to be evoked by the formal similarity of this term and others related to water.





PhD candidate

Universidad de Sevilla, Spain




Burning the Heretic: Conscientious Revision in Henry Constable’s “Falselye doth envie of youre praises blame”


Among the secular sonnets of the poet and courtier Henry Constable (1562-1613), there is a significant number which present meaningful textual variations among the different versions preserved. This is especially the case when contrasting the two printed editions of his sequence Diana (1592, 1594), with the manuscript versions extant in compilations dating from the late 16th to the early 17th century. The variants found in different copies of the sonnet “Falselye doth envie of youre praises blame” point to a process of literary transmission and revision, in which the most radical changes were introduced by either the author or his friend Sir John Harington. As it appears in the Marsh MS (1588), the poem –a love complaint– is laden with anti-Catholic references, particularly in the image of fire as a punishment for heretics. These allusions disappear in the subsequent version found in the Harington MS (1589), and the milder, more conventional result is preserved in the printed editions and the Todd MS (early 17th century). My paper will analyse the revision of this sonnet as the product of a drift in the author’s –or the compiler’s– religious views, bearing in mind that Constable converted from Protestantism to Catholicism and Harington’s faith was often under challenge.




POWER, Andrew

Adjunct Lecturer,

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland




Remembering Richard II: Refracted History in Shakespeare’s Richard II


When Shakespeare was writing The Winter’s Tale in early 1611 he remembered, or perhaps reread a phrase, “weighing well the end” from The Mirror for Magistrates, a source he had used circa 15 years earlier for Richard II. This single remembered phrase is indicative of the complex fusion of memories that can resonate in the mind of the author as he constructs a character. Richard II is itself a play that is in many ways about memory. It is a remembrance of a past king, and hence of a past era. It is also often a remembrance of past drama that is also remembered, for instance, in moments where Richard (anachronistically within the play setting) seems to recall Doctor Faustus, “Was [/Is] this the face…” (Richard II, IV. i. 281, 283 and 285 and Doctor Faustus, V. i. 97). Faustus too is a remembrance of past drama in its reworking of the allegorical tradition, a drama that is a step closer to Richard’s epoch. This tradition finds voice within Richard II in the person of John of Gaunt, “Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave, / Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.” (II. i. 82-3)

This paper looks at the complex interweave of sources that contribute to Richard II in terms of memory. These sources are effectively like memories and remembrances; memories thick with signifying allusions that are recalled in the mind of the author and that resonate with his audience. In the play, single metaphors or phrases may act in a way like “perspectives” which divide “one thing entire to many objects” (Richard II, II. ii. 18), or perhaps collapse multiple layers of significance into a single dramatic instant. Richard is most regularly the focal point for the most weighted of allusions and as such is the character who has seemed to critics the most lyrical of Shakespeare’s historical protagonists. But Richard becomes problematic to himself precisely because of this pressure of history and past remembrance focussed within a mind (albeit a mind imagined by Shakespeare) that is at once filled with remembrances of things past and at the same time unable to remember himself. “I had forgot myself, am I not king?” (III. ii. 82-4).





PhD candidate

The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon,

University of Birmingham, UK




“Priuate, or open Audience”: A New Perspective on the Public and Private Theatres


For much of the twentieth century scholars of English Renaissance theatre history differentiated between outdoor and indoor playhouses by using the terms ‘public’ and ‘private’. The terms still have some currency today but they are often regarded with scepticism because they seem to be loaded terms which can easily mislead: is an indoor theatre really “private”? Alfred Harbage used the idea of public and private theatres to differentiate between popular and elite audiences: an approach that later critics such as Andrew Gurr and Roslyn Knutson have challenged as reductive. There is seemingly a difference between the audiences, the repertories and the admission prices, for example, but Harbage overstated the distinctions. Public and private have seen to be difficult and ideologically charged words yet they were used in the period in relation to theatre and to outdoor and indoor playhouses. This paper will rethink those terms, not only from the perspective of what they tell us about the theatre, but from the perspective of what they tell us about the words public and private in Renaissance England. The terms are sometimes used inconsistently, as Zachary Lesser and Alan Farmer have noted, but I argue that this does not invalidate further investigation. Many critics have thought about the modern, ideologically-charged nature of the terms, but there is little attention to how they would have been understood by Renaissance theatregoers and theatre practitioners.




RAYNER, Francesca C.

Assistant Professor

Universidade do Minho, Portugal




Onstage / Offstage intersections: Women in Portuguese Performances of Shakespeare 1990-2010


While much critical attention has been paid to the limitations and possibilities in onstage representations of women within the Shakespearean repertoire, there has been much less attention to the offstage roles women play in Shakespearean performance Such roles include not only those of director, dramaturge or translator, but also set and costume designer, producer or public relations professional. How might the traditionally separate spheres of onstage and offstage theatrical activity be linked for women, both aesthetically and ideologically? How might critical practice bring the offstage presence of women more effectively into the spotlight? This paper aims to look at the continuities that might exist between the onstage and offstage roles women have played in contemporary performances of Shakespeare in Portugal. On the one hand, their continuing absence from the high-status spheres  of director or major performer and their prevalence in the low status spheres of “assistant to” or costume manufacture, suggest long-term inequalities in the theatrical sphere. On the other, their more varied presence within adaptations of Shakespeare and greater equality in the structures of more recent theatrical projects suggest radically altered scripts for women in the last twenty years. What kind of feminist criticism might chart such a diverse theatrical reality whilst avoiding the pitfalls of essentialist notions of both women and men?





Tenured Assistant Professor

Universidade Aberta, CEAUL (Centro de Estudos Anglísticos da Universidade de Lisboa) / ULICES (University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies), Portugal




Reading between the Jewels: Power, Majesty and Sovereignty in the Portraits of Elizabeth I


The Tudor dynasty was characterised by peculiarities and fragilities right from the beginning in 1485, when the obscure Earl of Richmond became victorious over the last Plantagenet king of England. From then on, Henry VII and all his descendants had to face serious dilemmas, fears and menaces of various kinds and origins, at a time of deep changes in every dominion. The fundamental issue of legitimacy, intertwined with the consolidation of power and sovereignty, remained always latent, emerging now and again for one reason or another.

The Tudor Myth is undoubtedly founded on powerful and diverse propaganda policies, carried out in two major moments and through two main processes: the first moment was brought about by the skillful Henry VII and rendered mainly by historiography; the second one, much more complex and elaborate, would be materialised by his no less skillful granddaughter Elizabeth, by means of a munificent powerful iconography deeply interwoven with literature, mainly with lyric poetry.

To approach these complex processes and interrelations, I intend to focus on some of the many iconographic representations of Queen Elizabeth I and specifically analyse three of her most paradigmatic portraits: the Coronation Portrait, the Rainbow Portrait and the Armada Portrait.




PhD candidate

Universidad de Sevilla, Spain




From Manuscript to Print: The Case of Wyatt’s “My love took scorn my service to retain”


Tottel’s Miscellany, published in 1557, became one of the best-selling poetic anthologies of the century and played a crucial role in popularizing the work of court-poets such as Wyatt and Surrey. However, the texts of the poems printed by Tottel sometimes present a wide range of differences with the versions preserved in manuscript compilations. This is particularly noticeable in the case of Wyatt, and the sonnet “My love took scorn my service to retain” affords a good example. This paper compares the two versions of this sonnet extant in the Devonshire manuscript and in Tottel’s anthology and attempts to analyze the variations in the context of the rise of the printing press and of the complex development of a print culture. The transition from manuscript to print circulation involved the adaptation of court literature to an emerging wide reading public, a process in which the textual complexity of the original poems was sometimes simplified and reduced to a more standard format.




Ayudante Doctor (Assistant Lecturer)

Universidad de Granada, Spain




The Fall of Famagusta and the Development of the Turkish Black Legend in 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-Centuries English Literature


How did the anti-Turkish feeling that had been encouraged by Venetian narratives during the Wars of Cyprus (1570-71) evolve in the English perception of the Ottoman “other” during the following centuries? Once the 17th century was over, the wars of Cyprus and the literary recreation of the alleged tortures cruelly inflicted on the heroic Venetian defenders of Famagusta, especially Marc Antonio Bragadino’s martyrdom by the allegedly sadistic Lala Mustapha Pasha during the conquest and subsequent sack of the Cypriot city, remained in propagandistic limbo up to the second half of the 19th century. Indeed, during the 18th century, the ludicrous events that had taken place in the island of Cyprus during its conquest and the alleged inhumanity, brutality and untrustworthiness of the Turks, already a politically decadent nation and therefore incapable of threatening Christian Europe like it had done in the past century, did not raise much interest in English literature. Nevertheless, a revived anti-Turkish feeling was encouraged in 19th-century Britain during the Greek War of Independence, the Bulgarian massacres of 1876 and above all, the occupation of the island of Cyprus from the Ottomans in 1878, which once more brought the tragic sack of Famagusta to the fore of Victorian public opinion.




Profesora Contratada Interina (Interim Lecturer)

Universidade de Vigo, Spain




“Only for his pleasure; for there is some in laughing at fools”: Enjoying Laughter in William Wycherley’s The Plain Dealer (1676)


Recent studies of human attitudes towards laughter coming from the field of psychology, such as that of Proyer and Ruch (2010), focus on people who enjoy laughing at others more than average. They refer to these people as katagelasticists, a term which comes from the Greek verb κατα-γελάω, to laugh at, and which is used to designate those who actively seek and exceedingly enjoy laughing at others. Among the traits which define katagelasticists, it is possible to highlight the following: aggressive, cold, egocentric, impersonal, impulsive, antisocial, unempathetic, creative, and tough-minded. Our purpose is to borrow this term for the analysis of humour and comic characterisation in the Restoration period, particularly in William Wycherley’s The Plain Dealer (1676), a play that features characters who not only reveal the pleasure they find in laughing at others but also show most of the abovementioned traits. So, this paper will focus on these characters and on the situations in which they mock the other characters, in an attempt to analyse the reason why they rejoice in making fun of others, the way in which the other characters become the butts of the laughter-raising situations, and the consequences derived from the katagelasticists’ procedures.




Profesor Titular (Professor)

Universitat de València, Spain




Uses of “Hamlet” in Spanish Nineteenth-Century Journals and Newspapers


This paper will describe and explain ways in which Shakespeare's *Hamlet* has been used and appropriated in journals and newspapers in nineteenth-century Spain. Based on a research of occurrences of the term Hamlet in the periodicals until 1900 facilitated by the "hemeroteca digital" of the National Library in Madrid, this paper will account for references, quotations, similes and metaphors that use Hamlet or his words in order to provide a picture of the associated ideas and cultural meanings that the play and its protagonist produced through these media in Spain, thus contributing to an aspect of the reception of Shakespeare in Spain in general.




Profesor Titular (Professor)

Universidad de Cádiz, Spain




Conflicting Passions in William Davenant’s The Rivals (1668)


The Rivals is an adaptation of the Jacobean comedy The Two Noble Kinsmen (first published in 1634) by Fletcher and Shakespeare. In the original play one of the secondary female characters, the jailer’s daughter, is driven crazy by the notion that the man she loves, Palamon, is dead. In The Rivals this plot is further developed by Davenant, and the anonymous “jailer’s daughter” becomes Celania, one of the two main characters in the play. Her precarious mental condition is further exacerbated when she is led to believe that the man she loves, Philander, and whom she has helped escape from prison, is similarly dead in the woods.

Throughout the play Davenant monitors and describes the onset and symptomatology of Celania’s madness, providing a complete description of the behavior and language associated with the woman’s psychopathology: a real case history. Even if the representation of mad characters on stage, especially female ones, is not exclusive to the Restoration, it is in this period that female characters—particularly those divorced from reality—acquire an increasingly prominent role. This preoccupation with the verbal and physical expression of insanity reaches its climax in the so-called mad scenes: elaborate renderings of women’s deliriums set on stage and usually marking a turning point in the development of these characters in the play.  This type of scenes became very popular later in the period and playwrights wrote them with enormous success. The Rivals, written in 1668, advances some of the formal characteristics of the prototypical mad scene, that is, a solo performance where the commonplace and expected fantastic language of a deranged mind intermingles with music to create specific mad songs, that is, the ultimate expression of delusion.

The aim of this paper is to analyze the character of Celania from a multiple perspective, namely, as a forerunner of the Restoration’s “distracted” heroine and as a pioneer in the creation and performance of theatrical mad songs.




Ayudante Doctor (Assistant Lecturer)

Universidad de Jaen, Spain




When Imagination Fails: Ralph Roister Doister, or “a brainsick fool”


Against the backdrop of what has been termed early modern “medicine of the mind”, in this paper I shall attempt to analyse the connection between reason and foolishness in the Tudor comedy Ralph Roister Doister (ca. 1550-1553), commonly ascribed to the Head Master of Eton, Nicholas Udall. On the basis of the theories about reason, imagination, and passions expounded by English physicians and philosophers like Timothy Bright, Thomas Rogers, John Davies, Thomas Hill, or Thomas Wright, I examine the portrayal of the main character in the play, Ralph Roister Doister, and argue that his folly, which is constantly mocked by the other characters of the story, is not merely an excuse for comedy and farce, but it seems to be somehow related to this “medicine of the mind”.









Catedrática (Chair) aconcha@flog.uned.es



Profesor Titular (Professor)  aballesteros@flog.uned.es



Profesor Titular (Professor) mcerezo@flog.uned.es



Profesor Asociado / PhD candidate jcora@flog.uned.es


Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)


“In bloody death and ravishment delighting”: The Representation of Gender Violence in English Renaissance Texts

 In their joint introduction to the volume Making a Difference. Feminist Literary Criticism (1985), Gayle Greene and Coppélia Kahn rightly argue that “literature is a discursive practice whose conventions encode social conventions and are ideologically complicit”, to the point that it becomes “a mediating, moulding force in society that structures our sense of the world.” Feminist literary criticism –they go on– explores “the collusion between literature and ideology” as well as the interests canonical works serve, thus alerting to the “omissions, gaps, partial truths and contradictions which ideology masks” and which have been instrumental in the subordination of women. This subordination has often resulted in physical violence, obliquely expressed in –when not artfully obscured by– literature and myth. In the light of these theoretical assumptions, the panel will address particular Renaissance literary works that in various ways show how socially constructed conceptions of the feminine, clearly subservient to political interests, paved the way to the naturalization and, therefore, to the masking of gender violence.      

Marta Cerezo Moreno will be dealing with the role the aestheticization of rape and literary appropriation have played in the normalization of gender violence and also with the way the stylization of rape can also help to make this normalization visible. Taking as a starting point Shakespeare's insertion of Troy's ruin as a metaphor of sexual violence in The Rape of Lucrece, her presentation will analyse how the transmission and interpretations of canonical literary texts have both served to reinforce a clearly ideological naturalization of gender binaries and to open up new and ground-breaking approaches to gender violence that uncover its cultural nature.  

Antonio Ballesteros González will deal with the representation of gender violence in early Renaissance English versions and translations of Petrarch's Rime 190, taking into consideration Sir Thomas Wyatt's “Whoso List to Hunt […]” and Edmund Spenser’s Amoretti LXVII (“Lyke as a huntsman after weary chace”).

Jesús Cora Alonso will focus on the sexualised iconographical representations and discourse of the discovery of America, how this works as a two-way metaphor relating the exploration of America, sex and violence and their connection with the body of Elizabeth I. Tracing the relationship between iconographical materials and John Donne’s “"Elegy [XIX]: To His Mistress Going to Bed", lines 25-32, and how this is an allusion to the relationship between the Queen and Sir Walter Ralegh,  he will discuss the “discovery” of the Queen’s body in John Stubbes’s The Discoverie of a Gaping Gulf (1579), a pamphlet against the negotiations on the prospective marriage between the Queen and Francis de France, Duke of Anjou and Alençon. This analysis will show  how Stubbes’s male political and discursive violence resulted in the suppression of this pamphlet, and the exertion of real institutional violence on the male body in the form of the amputation of the author’s right hand as a punishment for discussing openly, i.e. “touching”, the Queen’s body in very offensive terms. The whole incident evinces that one of the consequences of the political anomaly of England being a patriarchal society ruled by a female sovereign was that Elizabeth could use her royal prerogative, institutional discipline and violence, not only to put a stop to and punish Stubbes’s offence of lese majesté, but also his violent male discursive considerations of the female and royal body by replying with the very real mutilation of the author’s male body.


Organising Committee:

Departamento de Filologías Extranjeras y sus Lingüísticas,

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED),

Edificio de Humanidades,

Paseo de la Senda del Rey, 7

28040 Madrid

Telephone: +34 91 398 84 68

Fax:              +34 91 398 73 99

E-mail:         sederi2011@flog.uned.es




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