The Department of English presents:
The Faculty Research Colloquium
“‘Break[ing] into this woman’s mood’ The Lab Space of
Shakespeare’s Henry IV”
by Sarah Neville
In Jean Howard’s words, Shakespeare’s histories seem to “tap into a yearning for a return to masculine rule and marital values.” By 1598, when the first part of Shakespeare’s Henry IV was being written, the virgin queen Elizabeth had been ruling England for over 30 years, and concerns over her succession were reaching fever pitch. Shakespeare’s similar preoccupation with primogeniture in his two Henry IV plays – a preoccupation that he passes along to his titular character – is thus rooted in the specific concerns of his present day. My talk will explore the ways that the current production of Henry IV onstage at WVU’s Creative Arts Center subverts the underlying patriarchal messages at the root of Shakespeare’s tetralogies to turn a pair of history plays into a feminist tragedy for our modern age.
The talk is accompanied by an exhibition of the First Folio and other Shakespeareana curated by Stewart Plein, WVU libraries.
Free Public Lecture
April 23, 2014
2:30 p.m., Robinson Reading Room, WVU Downtown Library