Next Meeting

Next Meeting

Friday 7 February 2020 at 6.30 pm


Charles Wilson Building, Park Lounge (1st Floor) and Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 3



Professor Nigel Wood

Image and Myth:

Shakespeare’s Richard III and Its Film and Theatre Traditions


Nigel Wood is Professor of Literature at Loughborough University, and has also held posts at De Montfort and Birmingham Universities. He is, presently, Secretary of University English and on the editorial board of Shakespeare and Eighteenth-Century Studies. He graduated with a First from University College Oxford and then won a James Knott scholarship to pursue PhD work at Durham University. He has also a MA from Indiana University. His research interests are principally in the eighteenth century, and his latest project in that area is a new biography of Alexander Pope for Princeton University Press. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford, and he is completing (for Arden Bloomsbury) studies of Shakespeare and Staged Meaning and Shakespeare and Response Theory.

Image and Myth: Shakespeare’s Richard III and Its Film and Theatre Traditions

Richard III has been a test for any aspiring actor, a mixture of exotic villain and – ultimately – a figure of pathos. This apparent contradiction issues from at least two traditions that Shakespeare recognised in this and other works: the necessity of the Tudor myth to ensure political stability (a deliverance from Richard’s embracing of anarchic individualism) yet at the same time a distrust of regal authority in more general terms. Throughout its stage and film history there have also been nuances that have both attracted and challenged an audience’s sympathies. This lecture will examine the theatre and film mythology that has surrounded Richard with a view to explaining why we may now find his legacy relevant and appealing.

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