Great Expectations

A blog of the Department of English at BGSU:A place for faculty, students and alumni to connect.

Drama and the Politics of Generational Conflict in Shakespeare’s England

Posted by bgsuenglish on January 25, 2010

Assistant Professor Dr. Stephannie Gearhart (Literature) will give a talk, “Drama and the Politics of Generational Conflict in Shakespeare’s England” tomorrow (Tuesday, January 26) at 1:00 p.m. in Room 207 (Mylander) of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. The talk is part of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society‘s 2009-2010 Scholars and Artists in Residence Lecture series.

Although it is often overlooked by critics, generational conflict was an important aspect of early modern English life. A preoccupation with age shows up in portraits, pamphlets, and plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. From Lear’s well-known decla¬ration, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is / To have a thankless child,” to Portia’s complaint that “the will of a living daughter [can be] curbed by the will of a dead father,” the early modern theatre staged count¬less scenes of generational conflict.

Rather than thinking of it as universal, inevitable, or identical across time and place, Dr. Gearhart proposes that generational conflict should be historicized. In her talk, she will outline the cultural factors responsible for propagating and perpetuating youth-elder tension in the early modern era and explain how Shakespeare’s theatre played a vital role in negotiating the politics of generational conflict in the period.

Dr. Gearhart’s research interests include age relations in early modern English culture and Shakespearean adaptations. Among her publications are “‘Take My Part’: Using Generational Conflict to Teach King Lear” and “‘Faint and Imperfect Stamps’: The Problem with Adaptations of Shakespeare for Children.” Her ICS talk comes from Drama and the Politics of Generational Conflict in Shakespeare’s England, a book manuscript in progress.

Special thanks are due to the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research for their support of this event. All events are free and open to the public; for more information call (419) 372-0585.

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