Jerzy Limon (1950 – 2021)

We have been shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the loss of Jerzy Limon. Jerzy helped organise the conference we hosted at the Rose Theatre in 2015 on ‘Jan Kott: Our Contemporary’; and he co-chaired ‘New Old Spaces’, the conference that launched ARTS, the Association of Replica Theatres, at the Rose on 8 December 2018. There he delivered an inspirational talk about the development of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre that is his lasting memorial. We are attaching the recording of this presentation as a tribute to our friend.

Jerzy Limon was a man of invincible enthusiasm, and this was on abundant display in the lecture he gave to the conference on ‘Sex in Shakespeare’ at the Rose Theatre on 22 June 2018. His title, ‘Visiting Netherlands’, alluded to his surprise ongoing project on sexual imagery in European art and drama. We are sure you will appreciate the joie de vivre Jerzy shows in the video of this presentation, which is also in evidence in his farewell picture above: leaving El Vino, close to the site of Shakespeare’s Mermaid Tavern, en route to Gdansk, on 24 January 2020.

Timo Uotinen
Richard Wilson
Kingston Shakespeare Seminar

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Catherine Belsey (1940-2021)

It is with deep sadness that we received the news that Catherine Belsey died on 14 February. Kate was an enthusiastic supporter of our ‘Shakespeare in Philosophy’ project, and gave two important and inspiring lectures in the programme. On 15 October 2013 she spoke at the Rose Theatre on ‘Shakespeare, the Uncanny, and the Cartesian Cogito’, and on 7 April 2018 she gave a lecture to conclude our symposium on ‘Shakespeare and Lacan’ at Garrick’s Temple. Both of these talks displayed her unique combination of wit and humanity with Olympian intellectual altitude. We will always be grateful to Kate for the comradeship and commitment she brought to these occasions. As a tribute to this ‘lass unparalleled’, we are proud to send the link for her magnificent Temple lecture on ‘Shakespeare and the Real’. We believe you will find her words on the work of mourning particularly apt:

We are sure you would also like to know that an obituary for Catherine Belsey has been published by her former colleagues at Cardiff University:


Timo Uotinen
Richard Wilson

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Peter Brook and Shakespeare, Oct 26, 2019

Peter Brook and Shakespeare promo pic

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Peter Brook’s seminal A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the founding of his International Centre for Theatre Research, the Institut Français and Kingston Shakespeare Seminar are honoured to co-host a conference on the director’s productions of Shakespeare. This event will celebrate one of the greatest Anglo-French cultural projects of our time, and reflect on the original impact and lasting influence of Brook’s Shakespeare, with contributions by distinguished actors, critics, directors and scholars from both sides of the Channel.

Brook, Peter_credit Régis d'AudevillePeter Brook will himself discuss his interpretation and staging with Sir Trevor Nunn, and Frances de la Tour, Sara Kestelman, Sir Ben Kingsley and Adrian Lester will look back on their experience of working with him on the plays, in a session chaired by Dame Janet Suzman. A panel from Paris will include François Marthouret and William Nadylam: Timon and Hamlet in Brook’s productions at the Bouffes du Nord; and Stephen Unwin will lead a discussion by directors Robert Icke, David Thacker and Deborah Warner. Other panels will consider critical responses to Brook’s Shakespeare, and its enduring worldwide significance.

During the conference Peter Brook will be signing latest book: Playing By Ear: Reflections on Music and Sound published by Nick Hern Books.

‘Peter Brook and Shakespeare’ gratefully acknowledges the support of
Kent University, Kingston University, Nick Hern Books and the Rose Theatre.

The conference will run from 10am to 6pm.
Tickets are £25 (£12 with concessions).
Book them at the Institut Français website.

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Hannah Arendt and Shakespeare programme, Sept 7, 2019



Arendt and Shakespeare symposium image


09.30: Coffee (Temple Pavilion) 

10.00:  Chair: Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

Avraham Oz (University of Haifa):
‘Arendt, Shakespeare and the Banality of Nationhood’

11.00: Coffee (Temple Pavilion) 

11.30: Chair: Hannah Crawforth (King’s College University of London) 

Cecilia Sjöholm (Södertörn University):
‘Arendt and Shakespeare: Voices in the Belly’

Paul Kottman (New School, New York):
‘On Sea-Changes and Metamorphoses’

13.00 Lunch (Bell Inn, Hampton)

14.30: Chair: Detlef Wagenaar (Saxion University, Netherlands)   

Paul Dahlgren (Georgia Southwestern State University):
‘Arendt’s Shakespeare Revisited’ 

Caroline Lion (University of Birmingham):
‘Hannah Arendt’s Worst Nightmare’

16.00: Tea (Temple Pavilion) 

16.30: Chair: Richard Burt (University of Florida)

Howard Caygill (Kingston University):
‘Shakespeare in Dark Times’

17.15: Round Table Discussion


Tickets are £20 (includes tea, coffee and sandwich lunch at the Bell Inn).

To register for this event go to:

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CFP: Shakespeare and European Romanticism, Oct 24-25 2019

Workshop CFP:

Shakespeare and European Romanticism

24-25 October 2019
Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church

Once I had read an entire play, I stood there like a blind man given the gift of
sight by some miraculous healing touch

Edward Pechter’s 2011 monograph Shakespeare Studies Today bore the subtitle Romanticism Lost. But is Romanticism (still) “lost” for today’s Shakespeare studies? And, conversely, can Shakespeare in any sense be “lost” for Romantic studies? Shakespeare scholars are certainly showing a revived interest in Romantic concepts and phenomena, while a range of important studies have examined Shakespeare’s remarkable influence in Britain and Europe from the late 18th to the early 19th centuries (Bate 1986, 1989; Delabastita and D’hulst 1993; Dávidházi 1998; Han 2001; Ortiz 2013; O’Neill 2013; Ryan 2015, 2019). This workshop is organised with the aim of finding out what Shakespeare and the European Romantics have to say to each other in the critical context of Europe today.

Romantic interpretations of Shakespeare range from Herder’s historicised playwright to
Blake’s visionary, and seem to offer writers and readers of the period not simply entertainment or insight into their own circumstances and societies, but a way of understanding the world. The playwright’s ghostly presence is equally apparent in the works of contemporaneous philosophers, especially those influenced by German Idealism, while his role in the nascent nationalisms of the period testifies to the peculiar power of his fiction to shape social and political realities.

This workshop hopes to forge new ground in this field by bringing together literary scholars, philosophers, theologians, art historians, and historians to better understand how and why such diverse thinkers and artists thought through Shakespeare. We invite contributions of 20- minute presentations (followed by a 5-minute response and 10 minutes of questions) from Romanticists working on Shakespeare and Shakespeareans working on Romantic poets, novelists, painters, composers and/or Idealist philosophy. Because of the workshop format, we can accept only a handful of proposals, but scholars are also welcome to attend as participants and contribute to the discussion. Confirmed speakers include Kiernan Ryan (Royal Holloway, London), Ágnes Péter (ELTE, Budapest), and David Jasper (University of Glasgow).

In particular, we aim to approach three main topics:
1. What functions did Shakespeare serve for thinkers of the romantic period?
2. How do Romantic/Idealist understandings of Shakespeare aid interpretation of
Shakespeare and his age?
3. What is the relevance of such understandings of Shakespeare for current
methodologies in literary studies?

Please send an abstract of 300 words and a brief biography to by 22 August 2019.

Organising committee:
Chairman: Tibor Fabiny
Members: Sam Gilchrist Hall
Veronika Ruttkay
Student helper: Gyöngyi Matus-Kassai (PhD student, ELTE)
Registration fee (covers lunch and coffee breaks):
Normal: 60 EUR
Student: 30 EUR
Partial fee waivers are available to participants from low and middle income countries.

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Hannah Arendt and Shakespeare, September 7, 2019

David Garrick built his Shakespeare Temple beside the Thames at Hampton in 1755, as a place where ‘the thinkers of the world’ would meet to reflect on the plays. He hoped Voltaire would come. Now the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar is realising the great actor’s vision, with a series of symposia on

Shakespeare in Philosophy

Each of these Saturday events features talks by leading philosophers and Shakespeare scholars, coffee and tea in the riverside garden designed by Capability Brown, and lunch at the historic Bell Inn.

Arendt and Shakespeare

On Saturday September 7 2019 the Temple symposium will be on


with contributions from

Richard Burt, Howard Caygill, Paul Kottman,

Caroline Lion, Avraham Oz, Björn Quiring, Cecilia Sjöholm

To register for the event go to

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The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare and Political Theology, Hampton Court/Garrick’s Temple, June 21-22 2019


The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare and Political Theology event consists of two related events, both of which highlight current thought on political theology in Shakespeare.

The first day, held in the Jane Seymour Room at Hampton Court Palace, dovetails into two themes: Crown and Crowd. The Crown section begins at 10 am and features talks on coronation rituals and absent kings by Charles Farris, Helen Phillips, Anthony Musson and Michael Hattaway. The crowd section begins at 2 pm with talks by Sam Gilchrist Hall, Edel Lamb, Sally Barnden and Yan Brailowsky. The day also features musical interludes by ARCHIcantiores performing ‘royal’ and ‘crowd’ music as well as ballads. Ticket price includes tea, coffee and a packed lunch.

The second day at Garrick’s Temple (a short walk from Hampton Court and Hampton Station) continues the symposia on Shakespeare in philosophy with a day on the seminal political theologian Ernst Kantorowicz (1895-1963). Speakers include Jennifer Rust, Lynsey McCulloch, Guillaume Foulquié, Adam Sitze, Stuart Elden, António Bento and Rachel Eisendrath. Tea, coffee and lunch are included in the ticket price.

Ticket prices are £20 for one day or £30 for both days.This event is organised by Kingston Shakespeare together with Historic Royal Palaces, Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare, the Shakespeare and Philosophy project.

Book tickets at

Here is the provisional programme:


Friday June 21:


Hampton Court Palace: Jane Seymour Room


10.00: Charles Farris (Historic Royal Palaces):
‘“Well worth the seeing’: The Ritual and Material Culture
of Medieval and Tudor Coronations’

Helen Phillips (Cardiff University):
‘Chaucer, King Richard, Queen Anne and Crown Images’

11.00: Coffee

11.30: Anthony Musson (Historic Royal Palaces):
‘The Hollow Crown and the Empty Throne:
Absent kings and absence of kingship in Shakespeare’s historical plays’

12.00: Musical Interlude: ARCHIcantiores

12.15: Michael Hattaway (University of Sheffield):
‘Ritual and Reification: Crowning in Richard II and Henry VIII

13.00: Lunch


14.00: Sam Gilchrist Hall (Károli Gáspár University/ Kingston University):
‘”But I doubt not the people”: Shakespeare and Thomas Müntzer’

14.45: Musical Interlude: ARCHIcantiores

15.00: Edel Lamb (Queen’s University Belfast):
‘Shakespeare and the Crowd at Astor Place, 1849’

15.45: Tea

16.15: Sally Barnden (King’s College London):
‘Staging Shakespeare’s histories for Adelaide and Victoria’

17.00: Musical Interlude: ARCHIcantiores

17.15: Yan Brailowsky (Université Paris Nanterre):
‘Crowds and authority in Coriolanus


Saturday June 22:


Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare: Hampton

10.00: Jennifer Rust (Saint Louis University):
‘Kantorowicz’s Mystical Body and Bottom’s Dream:
Political Theology to Political Aesthetics in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

11.00: Coffee

11.30: Lynsey McCulloch (Coventry University):
‘Effigial Bodies: Dignitas and the Death of Shakespeare’s Kings’

12.15: Guillaume Foulquié (Worcester University):
‘Towards the Decapitation of the King’s Two Biopolitical Bodies:
Performing Richard II in 2019 England’

13.00: Lunch 

14.00: Filippos Tsitsopoulos:
‘Talking to Shakespeare as Cardinal Wolsey’ (Performance)

14.30: Adam Sitze (Amherst College):
‘Conscience is the Essence of the Scholar’s “Office”’

15.15: Stuart Elden (Warwick University):
‘Kantorowicz, Shakespeare and the Oath’

16.00: Tea

16.30: António Bento (University of Beira Interior):
‘From the Late Medieval Church as a Mystical Body to
the Early Modern State as a Mystical Person: Ernst Kantorowicz and Carl Schmitt’

17.15: Rachel Eisendrath (Barnard College):
‘The Idea’s Two Bodies:
Kantorowicz’s meta-reflection on intellectual history in crisis’

18.00: Round Table Discussion

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Roy Eriksen (1948 – 2019)

Roy EriksenWe are deeply saddened to announce that Professor Roy Eriksen died last Monday, April 22. He had been a powerful supporter and a loyal contributor to the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar from its beginning, and the masterly lecture he gave in 2017 – on Marlowe’s Ovid – is remembered as one of the high points of the entire series. His presentation at our ‘Marlowe and Shakespeare’ conference was the definitive statement of a lifetime’s work on the authorship question, and the enthusiasm with which this was now received was a striking vindication of his pioneering research. Roy’s gift for conciliation was also in demand when he serenely chaired one of the most contentious debates of this conference, and it made him an ideal ambassador, as its international secretary, of the UK Marlowe Society.

Roy’s border-defying role was to be a courier, for a generation of scholars, between Britain and Norway, architecture and literature, the verbal and the visual, and ‘early modern’ and ‘Renaissance’ concepts of the Shakespearean world. This made him a true godfather to the Nordic Shakespeare Society, NORSS, which was launched in 2015 at the ‘Shakespeare and Scandinavia’ conference we hosted under his benign guidance and inspiration. Both the event and the new association grew out of the decade of peerless conferences he organised himself at Kristiansand, on ‘Toleration and the City’: another instance of how far his light shone into the future.

Late last autumn Roy Eriksen hosted one farewell symposium in Rome on crossing generic borders, where the wine flowed as generously as the conversation, and it is as a messenger bearing gifts from a better and brighter world that KiSS will celebrate and remember him.

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Walter Benjamin and Shakespeare symposium programme

Benjamin and Shakespeare symposium image

09.30: Coffee (Temple Pavilion)

10.00:  Chair: Richard Wilson (Kingston University)
Julia Ng (Goldsmiths, University of London):
As You Like It: Benjamin’s Comic Infinite’

11.00: Coffee (Temple Pavilion)

11.30 Chair: Richard Ashby (Royal Holloway)

Hyowon Cho (New York University):
‘Towards a “Critical” Historiosophy’

Jessica Chiba (Royal Holloway, University of London):
‘“From this day to the ending of the world”:
Messianic Time in Henry V

13.00 Lunch (Bell Inn, Hampton)

14.30:  Chair: Corin Depper (Kingston University)

Björn Quiring (Trinity College Dublin):
‘Hamlet’s Pregnant Silence’

Betty Schulz (Kingston University):
‘Hamlet, Baroque Sovereign? Walter Benjamin contra Carl Schmitt’

16.00: Tea (Temple Pavilion) 

16.30: Chair: John Joughin

Philip Lorenz (Cornell University):
‘Baroque Files: The Breakaway of Sovereignty in Late Shakespeare’

17.30: Round Table Discussion


To register for this event go to:

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Benjamin and Shakespeare symposium, April 6, 2019

Benjamin Shakespeare Collage

Walter Benjamin and Shakespeare symposium

Saturday April 6, 2019

Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare, Hampton

David Garrick built his Shakespeare Temple beside the Thames at Hampton in 1755 as a place where ‘the thinkers of the world’ would meet to reflect on the plays. He hoped Voltaire would come. Now the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar is realising the great actor’s vision, with a series of symposia on Shakespeare in Philosophy.

The first of the 2019 symposia focuses on the German philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940). Speakers are:

Howard Caygill (Kingston University)

Jessica Chiba (Royal Holloway University of London)

Hyowon Cho (New York University)

Philip Lorenz (Cornell University)

Julia Ng (Goldsmith’s University of London)

Bjorn Quiring (Trinity College Dublin)

This event, open to all, will include talks by leading philosophers and Shakespeare scholars, coffee and tea in the riverside garden designed by Capability Brown, and lunch at the historic Bell Inn. Tickets are £20, all profits go to supporting the Temple.

Book your tickets at:

How to get to Garrick’s Temple.

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