News from the 9th World Shakespeare Conference

July 20, 2011

Written by Peter S. Donaldson, MIT


The Global Shakespeares editors, collaborators and advisory board members have been a major presence at
the World Shakespeare Congress meeting in Prague this week, chairing 10 events,  offering 11 seminar papers and 11 talks at panels and workshops  (See previous post Global Shakespeare Scholars at Prague Conference for partial list).

The main event for our project was the Workshop on Global Shakespeares in the Digital Archive convened by Global Shakespeares Editor-in-Chief Peter Donaldson and Co-Editor Alex Huang.  At this event, attended by more than 100 Congress participants,  Donaldson and Huang presented a report on the current status of the archive, demonstrated how it can be used in research and teaching, and outlined many ways in which scholars and students can become involved in the project. Alex also offered a dynamic visual model of  how the project can function to shift academic practice toward close comparative readings of performance through the making and sharing of video sequences.

Nicholas Clary (Editor of HamletWorks and of the MLA New Variorum Edition of Hamlet) and Peter Donaldson took the audience through a tour of how the rich commentary notes and textual annotations of HamletWorks might be combined with the image and video resources of  Global Shakespeares and MIT’s Shakespeare Electronic Archive.  Choosing a single line from Hamlet that exists in two distinct forms in the early texts, they showed how in an integrated interface a user might move from that variant line to more than 50 commentary notes from the 17th to 20th centuries, through numerous illustrations and art works depicting the moment at which Hamlet comes upon the King in prayer  and has an opportunity to take revenge,  then through the corresponding moments in Olivier’s 1947 film, the Ryutopia Company’s 2007 production (in Japanese) and in Ham-Let, a Brazilian production of 1993.

Liana Leao, Anna Camati and Celia Arns, Global Shakespeares editors for Brazil gave a report on their work on the archive including video extracts from the director interviews they are conducting, and Poonam Trivedi, editor for India discussed the difficulties as well as the successes in her work on the archive, and raised theoretical issues concerning the “global,” how that term structures our current understanding of the project, and how we might make the site more international.   Discussion was intense and productive.

During the conference we have met with more than a dozen prospective future collaborators, all of whom may bring new skills, materials and perspectives to our work, and help us to extend the collections to new areas, especially Central and Eastern Europe.

View the website for the 9th World Shakespeare Conference in Prague.

Leave a Comment