Shakespeare's Italy (abstract due Sept. 30)
This panel seeks participants interested in exploring the complex and multi-faceted relationship between Shakespeare and Italy. Key areas of focus will be, among other things, the impact of the Italian Renaissance on England; early modern English translations of Italian works; Shakespeare's use of Italian texts for both direct source and indirect inspiration; Italian settings and characters in Shakespeare's plays; the influence of Italian genres, such as tragicomedy, in Shakespeare's drama; early modern English attitudes towards Italy in general and certain Italians (such as Machiavelli) in particular; and later Italian adaptations of Shakespeare, particularly for the opera and for the cinema. This is just to scratch the surface though, as Shakespeare's engagement with Italy (and Italy's engagement with Shakespeare) is a topic too under-analyzed by early modern scholars. That may seem to be a strange or perhaps even a false statement, but it seems that it stands true in relation to how far many early modern scholars are actually willing to extend their gaze beyond the perfunctory nod to the importance of the Italian Renaissance. In other words, instead of just merely noting the importance and moving on, this panel really wants to grasp with the core issues at stake with this relationship, a relationship always acknowledged but rarely truly explored.