Shakespeare's Odysseys

deadline for submissions: 
December 31, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Shakespeare-Seminar 2022

In Episode 9 of James Joyce's Ulysses, “Scylla and Charybdis,” Stephen Dedalus develops a theory about the origins of Shakespeare’s works that is both original and controversial. It is in the National Library of Ireland that Dedalus, in a wild and winding conversation, develops his ‘Hamlet theory’. The episode stages the strong and sometimes comic appeal of a biographical approach to Shakespeare’s works and, at the same time, casts Dedalus – Joyce’s alter ego – variously as Hamlet, Hamlet’s father, Shakespeare, and as a modern-day Ulysses. In contrast to Homer’s Ulysses, Joyce’s Dedalus is not faced with a choice between two fantastical dangers – the six-headed monster Scylla or the deadly whirlpool Charybdis – but with a battle between two artistic dogmas: Aristotelian rhetoric and Platonic dialectic. Navigating these waters, Ulysses not only firmly establishes a connection between Joyce and Shakespeare, it also raises questions regarding the relationship between artist and artwork, text and intertext(s), modernism and gender, narrative and drama and many more.

This year’s Shakespeare-Seminar seeks to explore the various connections between Shakespeare, Joyce, Homer, modernism, and the classics through the notion of the Odyssey in a broad sense of the term. We are interested in papers that deal with Shakespeare’s classical sources, and the voyages – both metaphorical and literal – in as well as of his works. This could also include wider discussions of the relationship between modernity, early modernity, and antiquity. Topics may include, but are not restricted to

  • Shakespeare and Ulysses
  • Joyce and Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare’s antique sources
  • journeys in and of Shakespeare’s works
  • modernity, early modernity, and antiquity in Shakespeare’s works
  • performances centered around (Shakespearean) Odysseys
  • Shakespeare and (post)colonial Odysseys
  • gender, Joyce, and Shakespeare
  • the Odyssey(s) and Shakespeare’s sonnets

Our seminar plans to address these issues with a panel of six papers during the annual conference of the German Shakespeare Association, Shakespeare-Tage, which is scheduled to take place from 22–24 April 2022 in Bochum, Germany. Should travel be restricted or deemed unsafe by participants we endeavour to host the seminar as an online or hybrid event. As critical input for the discussion, we invite papers of no more than 15 minutes that present concrete case studies, concise examples and strong views on the topic. Please send your proposals (abstracts of 300 words) by 31 December 2021 to the seminar convenors

Dr. Lukas Lammers, Free University Berlin: l.lammers@fu-berlin.de 

Dr. Kirsten Sandrock, University of Göttingen: ksandrock@phil.uni-goettingen.de

The Seminar provides a forum for established as well as young scholars to discuss texts and contexts. Participants of the seminar will subsequently be invited to submit (extended versions of) their papers for publication in Shakespeare Seminar Online (SSO). For more information, please contact Kirsten Sandrock and Lukas Lammers. For more information about the events and publications also see: https://shakespeare-gesellschaft.de/?lang=en.