All events are in Central time unless specified.

Shakespeare Speaker Series: The Multitudinous Folio

4:00 pm
Love Library South Room: Peterson Room (Love 221)
1248 R St
Lincoln NE 68508
Additional Info: LLS
Target Audiences:
Prof. Jonathan Walker will give a keynote address that considers the undeniably profound literary and cultural value of the First Folio, while also questioning a popular view of the book’s perfection and the related notion that it is therefore an unmitigated force of good. 70 years ago, for instance, Charlton Hinman challenged the idea that surviving copies of the First Folio are exactly alike: because of the Renaissance printing practice of “stop-press correction,” whereby the printing process continued while errors were located and corrected (sometimes repeatedly), each First Folio was randomly assembled from both corrected and uncorrected printed sheets. This means that, in all likelihood, no two First Folios have ever been identical to one another. From a cultural perspective, the language of Shakespeare’s plays has for centuries been glorified as “the quintessence of Englishness and a measure of humanity itself” (Loomba and Orkin 1), making it a cornerstone of liberal education, social refinement, and artistic aspiration. And yet in India, in Australia, in New Zealand, in South Africa, and in other nations, Shakespeare has been a tool of “colonial philanthropy,” to use Emma Smith’s phrase, a calculated deployment of the English language to eradicate indigenous cultures under the guise of civilization and Christian benevolence. As we will see, these and other histories are as inseparable from the First Folio as the story of what we would have lost had it never been published in 1623.

Jonathan Walker is Principal Investigator of Shakespeare’s First Folio: 1623–2023 and Professor of English at Portland State University. He teaches and publishes on Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, gender and sexuality, and textual studies.

Download this event to my calendar