Essays on Shakespeare and Performance
Barbara C. Hodgdon
Edited by Richard Abel and Peter Holland
Collects the keenly intelligent, witty essays of this revered scholar of Shakespeare & performance studies
Ghostly Fragments gathers the essays of the late Barbara C. Hodgdon, a renowned scholar of Shakespeare and performance studies. Her influential publications over thirty years reflected a remarkable intelligence, wit, and originality, as did her lectures and conference papers. Richard Abel and Peter Holland have selected essays that represent the wide sweep of Hodgdon’s scholarship, including unpublished pieces and those from hard-to-access sources. The essays reveal a thinker and writer who grows more self-reflective over time, with a distinctive, engaging, often wryly humorous voice that is accessible even to nonspecialist readers.
Following a general introduction by Peter Holland, the book’s five subsections (Teaching Shakespeare, Analyzing Stage Performances, Editing Shakespeare Texts, Analyzing Shakespeare Films, and “Shopping” in the Archives) are introduced in turn by scholars Miriam Gilbert, W.B. Worthen, Margaret Jane Kidnie, Richard Abel, and Pascale Aebischer. Collectively, the pieces confirm the originality and élan of Hodgdon’s thinking and writing over time, and reveal her as a natural essayist and stylist, with a distinctive engaging voice. The collection is unique in not only bringing together so much of Hodgdon's work in one place (with an extensive bibliography of her published work) but also in demonstrating how groundbreaking and influential that work has been in the field.
Barbara C. Hodgdon (1932–2018) was Professor of English at the University of Michigan, and previously worked as Ellis and Nelle Levitt Distinguished Professor of English at Drake University. Her many books include The End Crowns All: Closure and Contradiction in Shakespeare’s History Plays; Henry IV: Texts and Contexts; The Shakespeare Trade: Performance and Appropriation; and Shakespeare, Performance and the Archive. Richard Abel is Emeritus Professor of International Film and Media , University of Michigan. Peter Holland is McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies, University of Notre Dame.
Praise / Awards
“Hodgdon, as editor, reader, historicist, and someone attuned to contemporary reception, brings a stunning range of perspectives to the material she approaches. She can always see things, and help readers see things, from a new angle.”
—Emily Hodgson Anderson, University of Southern California
“Barbara Hodgdon was among the first scholars to write about Shakespeare on film, or to consider performance history, or to apply feminist criticism to the history plays . . . this invaluable collection represents all the stages and subjects of her career, including material that is hard to find or is not available in print.”
—Marianne Novy, University of Pittsburgh
"More than anything, [this book] made me want to teach. Barbara’s ghost will linger in these spaces; in theaters, libraries, cinemas, post-it notes, and in classrooms. If, at least to some extent, performance is defined by its disappearance—and Barbara, more than most, has followed the ghostbusting trail—then this collection of essays, this body of work, is called into being by her passing. Let it haunt you."
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