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The Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference

Call for Papers

“Lovers, Madmen and Poets:
Shakespeare and the Imaginary, Supernatural, and Divine”
October 24 and 25, 2014
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

Plenary Speakers:
Evelyn Gajowski, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
David George, Urbana University

The Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference seeks papers and panels relating to all things Shakespearean, especially those focusing on the spectral, the fantastic, the mad, and the fey. We take our cue from Theseus: “Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, / Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend / More than cool reason ever comprehends.” The place of the world-beyond-the world, the line between reality and fantasy, and the demarcation of the sane from the mad are ever-present and controversial aspects of Shakespeare’s work and of early modern literature more broadly. As the plays we now call ‘romances’ or ‘dark comedies’ suggest, the transformation of the tragic into the comedic relies, to some extent, on the willing suspension of disbelief, on the capacity to accept what is otherwise contrary to our understanding, expectation, or experience. From Samuel Pepys’ condemnation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to the oblique resonances between Hamlet and Derrida’s Specters of Marx, the relationship between the ‘unreal’ and the ‘real’ is everywhere present and significant in Shakespeare’s works, and centrally a focus of performance history and critical reception from the earliest moments to the present. This conference will especially highlight these aspects of Shakespeare’s oeuvre.

Join us October 24-25, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. Papers of 20 minutes, roundtable topics, and suggestions for panels on Shakespeare’s work and that of his contemporaries welcome.

Please send abstracts of 500 words to nunn@uakron.edu by September 12, 2014.

The OVSC publishes a volume of selected papers each year, and conferees are welcome to submit revised versions of their papers for consideration. Students who present are eligible to compete for the M. Rick Smith Memorial Prizes.