Shakespeare: His Infinite Variety

Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of His Death

Krystyna Kujawińska Courtney and Grzegorz Zinkiewicz

Jagiellonian University Press

Shakespeare: His Infinite Variety

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Pub Date: February 2019

ISBN: 9788323345466

204 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $50.00£40.00

Shakespeare: His Infinite Variety

Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of His Death

Krystyna Kujawińska Courtney and Grzegorz Zinkiewicz

Jagiellonian University Press

The essays included in this volume attempt to answer, directly or indirectly, the following questions connected with Shakespeare’s popularity worldwide. Can we appropriate Enobarbus’s fascination with Cleopatra, borrowed for the motto of this volume: “age cannot wither Shakespeare, or custom stale”? What makes it so that his works do not “cloy” their recipients’ appetite, but instead constantly whet it for more? Can we still talk about Shakespeare’s “infinite variety” and how are we to understand this epithet in the twenty-first century? Does this opinion hold in the context of the international reception of his works? Why does he still enjoy such an exciting career—with his works still in active circulation—even though he died in 1616? How is it possible for works written with a quill over four hundred years ago by a man in ruffs and tights to resonate with the hearts and minds of contemporary recipients all over the world?
It might appear that everything has been already said about Shakespeare, and yet new theatrical productions show how well Shakespeare’s plays function in new contexts and surprising interpretations. The great asset of Shakespeare: His Infinite Variety is its wide historical and geographical range – that is, from the time of the Bard himself to the latest metamorphoses of meanings that new electronic media has made available. Every reader, depending on his/her age and prior experience with Shakespeare, is at a different moment of this great historical-theoretical continuum of world culture. Everyone can also begin one’s own intellectual journey through cultural history – any time, any place. Despite the once popular but now outdated claim, history has not ended. This volume testifies to the benefits of combining historical perspective in its fairly elementary version, which is a linear sequence of events, with an in-depth analysis of the transformations in understanding, exhibiting, and using (appropriating) Shakespeare’s works in our rapidly changing reality. Marta Wiszniowska-Majchrzyk, professor emerita, Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw

About the Author

Krystyna Kujawińska Courtney is full professor and chair of the British and Commonwealth Studies Department, University of Łódź. She has been a fellow of the Kosciuszko Foundation, Fulbright, and the Folger Shakespeare Institute. Her articles and essays on Shakespeare’s global authority in early modern and modern culture have been published internationally and domestically. She is a member of the WSB and a coeditor of the journal Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation, Performance. Her latest monographs (in Polish and in English) discuss the reception of Shakespeare worldwide (2017), the contribution of women to international Shakespeare studies (2013), and Ira Aldridge’s theatrical career (2009).

Grzegorz Zinkiewicz is assistant professor in the British and Commonwealth Studies Department at the University of Łódź. His primary field of study is literature and literary studies, literary theory in particular. Another subject of his research is utopia seen from various perspectives – literary, philosophical, social and political. Zinkiewicz has written papers and/or had conference presentations on, among others, William Morris’ News from Nowhere, Polish rock bands of the 1980s, emergence and the structure of dramatic texts from the psychoanalytical perspective and British socialism of the late nineteenth century. In 2017, he published a monograph entitled William Morris’ Position Between Art and Politics. He is currently doing research on literary cartography, especially with regard to the mapping of utopian/utopic constructs studied from a literary and philosophical viewpoint.