The Celebrated Shakespeare: public commemoration and biography

full name / name of organization: 
Shakespeare 450
contact email: 

Seminar leader: Michael Dobson (Shakespeare Institute, Birmingham).

This seminar is part of the Shakespeare 450 conference. Paris, April 21-27, 2014.

This seminar welcomes short papers (up to 3,000 words) on the ways in which festivals, anniversaries and other public celebrations of Shakespeare's achievements have required or prompted particular accounts of who Shakespeare was. Which versions of Mr William Shakespeare have great civic and international occasions preferred? Have these periodic attempts to interest a larger public in Shakespeare been valuable stimulants to the study of his life, or regrettable fountains of hearsay?

Papers might consider:
- the representation of Shakespeare in particular genres associated with anniversaries (odes, pageants, press releases);
- what might be learned from the comparative study of the Shakespeares promulgated in different times and places;
- what might be learned from comparative studies which set these public accounts of William Shakespeare alongside the biographical element in comparable celebrations of the likes of Molière, Cervantes, Dante, etc;
- whether the Shakespeare advanced as a focus for collective celebration is always a conservative figure or whether there have been more progressive interventions by Shakespearean biography into the realm of public life.

Please send proposals to by September 15, 2013 and include:
- Name, email and affiliation
- Title of proposal
- 300-word abstract.

Michael Dobson is Director of the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Professor of Shakespeare Studies, Birmingham University. His publications include The Making of the National Poet (1992), England's Elizabeth (with Nicola Watson, 2002), The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (with Stanley Wells, 2001, and regularly revised since), Performing Shakespeare's Tragedies Today (2006), Great Shakespeareans: John Philip Kemble (2010) and Shakespeare and Amateur Performance (2011).

For more information on the conference: