Research Group The Bergen Shakespeare and Drama Network

New publication

Early Modern Literary Studies

A special issue of EMLS, published at Sheffield Hallam University addresses the topic of Shakespearean configurations.

Jean-Christophe Mayer (CRNS/Montpellier), William Sherman (CREMS/York) and Stuart Sillars (BSDN/Bergen) were responsible for arranging two conferences on Shakespeare and configuration, which have now resulted in a publication - a special issue of Early Modern Literary Studies, from whose introduction the following citations are taken:

"This collection takes a fresh look at configurations—and reconfigurations—of Shakespeare from the first quartos to the most recent incarnations. It offers new approaches for studying the packaging of the plays and poems through time, between cultures and across media. We have been prompted to explore the potential of the concept of configuration by two sweeping developments in Shakespeare Studies: the sustained attack on the idea of an authentic, original text produced by a single, isolated author; and a corresponding attention to the reformulation and assimilation of Shakespeare’s texts in cultures very different from the one in which they were created. These two areas (the one associated with Textual Scholarship and the other with Adaptation, Performance and Postcolonial Studies) have only recently begun to speak to each other, and together they pose a set of far-reaching questions which the essays gathered here seek to investigate:

  • Where does configuration end and reconfiguration begin? And where, for that matter, does configuration begin?
  • Who or what is responsible for shaping texts and how does the work of printers, actors, editors, and readers relate to that of the author?
  • How useful is the distinction between 'original' and 'adaptation,' in theory and in practice?
  • If there is no fixed original form that is later subjected to reconfiguration, are all versions equally valid?
  • Do non-theatrical treatments of the plays have a different status and value from those produced for the stage?
  • To what extent do our own scholarly frames reconfigure Shakespeare?


The articles and approaches brought together in this collection grew out of two recent conferences on the topic of "Shakespearean Configurations." The first, in 2009, was hosted by the University of York (UK) in association with the University of Bergen (Norway); and the second, the following year, was hosted by the University of Montpellier (France). We would like to acknowledge the support of our sponsors, including York's Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies, Bergen's English Department, and Montpellier's Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l’Age Classique et les Lumières (IRCL). We are also grateful to the speakers whose work does not appear here but who did so much to make these meetings so productive (including Ilaria Andreoli, Erin Blake, Judith Buchanan, Dympna Callaghan, Russell Jackson, Florence March, Alan H. Nelson, Marcus Nevitt, Varsha Panjwani, Erica Sheen and Emma Smith)."

This special issue of EMLS contains articles by Professor Sillars and Svenn-Arve Myklebost (PhD), from the BSDN/Dept. of Foreign Languages at the University of Bergen.

The journal is online and free to access at: http://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/si-21/00-Contents.htm