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  • Writer's pictureMisty Anderson

New Folger Blog - Strange Shakespeare

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Strange Shakespeare, 1660-1820: A Chapter in the History of Modern Gender and Race

Shakespeare has a long and on-going history of adaptation and appropriation on and off the British stage and this series of blogs looks at the formative period of 1660-1820 in which Shakespeare’s history intersects with the emergence of modern theories of race and of gender.  How were his plays and his characters rewritten and restaged to participate in representations of human variety that would have been foreign to Shakespeare’s first audiences?  To answer that question, we look at how Shakespeare’s characters were part of the process by which modern gender, racial and ethnic categories flickered into view by the 19th century.    

We start with Reimagining The Tempest, in which Kristina Straub explores how playwrights from the 1660s to the early 19th century re-imagined Prospero’s island as a way of grappling with emerging ideas of gender, sexuality, and race. Blogs by David Taylor, on Macbeth and the even weirder sisters, and Daniel O’Quinn on performing Shylock in the 18th-century boxing ring will follow later in the Fall.


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