Shakespeare Jahrbuch 2015

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Celebrating Shakespeare

In 2014 the German Shakespeare Society celebrated Shakespeare’s 450th birthday and their own 150th anniversary – plenty of reasons for an issue of Jahrbuch dedicated to Shakespeare celebrations and festivities, from Stratford-upon-Avon to Sidney, and from the 18th century to the present day. The volume is introduced by Tobias Döring’s speech on the occasion of the Society’s birthday, followed by Peter Holland’s essay on David Garrick’s Shakespeare worship, which culminated in his ‘Shakespeare Jubilee’ of 1769. Holland contrasts Garrick’s bardolatry with the contemporaneous emergence of commentaries on Shakespeare’s plays that paid attention to their performative dimension . Diana Henderson takes the history plays as examples to discuss the complex functions of cultural commemoration, including the 9/11 memorial in New York, the re-interpretation of Guy Fawkes Day in contemporary popular culture, and Shakespeare jubilees. The subsequent contributions by Ton Hoenselaars, Philip Mead, Florence March, and Stephen Purcell are concerned with different Shakespeare celebrations in the 20th century: the Shakespeare tercentenary during World War I – in a German internment camp and in Australia; theatre festivals in southern France since 1947; and finally the Globe-to-Globe festival in London in 2012. In contrast with these festivities, celebrations in Shakespeare’s plays often strike a more ‘ominous’ note, as Ina Habermann observes. The essays by Claudia Olk and Heinrich Detering consider how 20th-century artists such as Samuel Beckett and Bob Dylan not only celebrated Shakespeare but also took inspiration from him. The volume concludes with a retrospective account of the 150-year history of Jahrbuch, written by Andreas Mahler.

Sabine Schülting