Shakespeare and European Romanticism
“Once I had read an entire play, I stood there like a blind man given the gift of sight by some miraculous healing touch.” Goethe
Edward Pechter’s 2011 monograph Shakespeare Studies Today bore the subtitle Romanticism Lost. But is Romanticism (still) “lost” for today’s Shakespeare studies? And, conversely, can Shakespeare in any sense be “lost” for Romantic studies? Shakespeare scholars are certainly showing a revived interest in Romantic concepts and phenomena, while a range of important studies have examined Shakespeare’s remarkable influence in Britain and Europe from the late 18th to the early 19th centuries (Bate 1986, 1989; Delabastita and D’hulst 1993; Dávidházi 1998; Han 2001; Ortiz 2013; O’Neill 2013; Ryan 2015, 2019). This workshop is organised with the aim of finding out what Shakespeare and the European Romantics have to say to each other in the critical context of Europe today.
Romantic interpretations of Shakespeare range from Herder’s historicised playwright to Blake’s visionary, and seem to offer writers and readers of the period not simply entertainment or insight into their own circumstances and societies, but a way of understanding the world. The playwright’s ghostly presence is equally apparent in the works of contemporaneous philosophers, especially those influenced by German Idealism, while his role in the nascent nationalisms of the period testifies to the peculiar power of his fiction to shape social and political realities.
This workshop hopes to forge new ground in this field by bringing together literary scholars, philosophers, theologians, art historians, and historians to better understand how and why such diverse thinkers and artists thought through Shakespeare. We invite contributions of 20- minute presentations (followed by a 5-minute response and 10 minutes of questions) from Romanticists working on Shakespeare and Shakespeareans working on Romantic poets, novelists, painters, composers and/or Idealist philosophy. Because of the workshop format, we can accept only a handful of proposals, but scholars are also welcome to attend as participants and contribute to the discussion. Confirmed speakers include Kiernan Ryan (Royal Holloway, London), Ágnes Péter (ELTE, Budapest), and David Jasper (University of Glasgow).
In particular, we aim to approach three main topics:
- What functions did Shakespeare serve for thinkers of the romantic period?
- How do Romantic/Idealist understandings of Shakespeare aid interpretation of Shakespeare and his age?
- What is the relevance of such understandings of Shakespeare for current methodologies in literary studies?
Please send an abstract of 300 words and a brief biography to firstname.lastname@example.org by 22 August 2019.
Organising committee: Tibor Fabiny (Chair), Sam Gilchrist Hall and Veronika Ruttkay (Members), Gyöngyi Matus-Kassai (PhD student, ELTE: Student helper)
Registration fee (covers lunch and coffee breaks):
Normal: 60 EUR
Student: 30 EUR
Partial fee waivers are available to participants from low and middle income countries.