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Shakespeare and Modern Life

Date: Wednesday 20 April 2016
Time: 6.00pm for 6.15pm-8.15pm
Venue: Long Room, Customs House, 399 Queen Street, Brisbane
RSVP: Free event. RSVP essential by Friday 15 April 2016, online here.
Enquiries: Telephone: (07) 3365 4913, or email uqche@uq.edu.au

Refreshments and canapes will be served following the lecture

'Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety'. Shakespeare’s description of Cleopatra might well apply to his own work. This public lecture will try to get to grips with the question of why, four hundred years after his death, Shakespeare still matters. Why is his work continually performed, adapted, and cited in every part of the world, in both high and popular culture? Perhaps one reason lies in Shakespeare’s modernity. His characters are still alive today because in many ways they seem like us: self-determined independent individuals, on a constant quest for self-realisation, in control of their own destiny. Or so they think, as we do. Shakespeare’s plays give us access to the richness and diversity of human life—and simultaneously allow us to watch ourselves, and others, with a certain ironic detachment. A multitude of perspectives jostle one another in each play, suggesting to us that there are always other stories to be told.

Following the lecture, Professor Ghose will be joined in conversation by Sarah Kanowski, presenter of Books and Arts on ABC Radio National.

The lecture will launch 'The Delighted Spirit: Shakespeare at UQ 2016', a year-long series of lectures, symposia, concerts, film screenings, and other events marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s legacy. For more information about the series, click here.

Indira Ghose is Professor of English at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. Her research interests range from colonial to Renaissance literature. Her first book, Women Travellers in Colonial India (Oxford University Press, 1998), was followed by a number of anthologies of colonial travel writing. Shakespeare and Laughter: A Cultural History (Manchester University Press, 2008) examined Shakespearean theatre in the context of a history of laughter. Her study of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing will appear with Bloomsbury in 2017. Professor Ghose is currently working on a book about the Renaissance culture of courtesy and its impact on the theatre, and is a Partner Investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (Europe 1100-1800).

Sarah Kanowski is a writer, editor, and broadcaster with ABC Radio National.  She completed an undergraduate degree in English at the University of Queensland, and holds a Masters in English Literature from Oxford University. She has edited the Tasmanian literary magazine Island, and now hosts Books and Arts on ABC RN.

Presented by the UQ Node of the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions, in collaboration with The University of Queensland Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Images: Pinckney Marcius-Simons (USA, 1867-1909); watercolour illustrations painted onto the pages of an 1886 French edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, translated by Paul Meurice. 1908. Courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.