Shakespeare’s Tercentenary: Staging Nations and Performing Identities in 1916

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The worldwide commemorations of the three-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare's death were held amid the global upheaval of the First World War. As empires battled for world domination and nations sought self-determination, diverse communities vied to claim Shakespeare as their own, to underpin their sense of collective identity and cohesion. Unearthing previously unknown Tercentenary events in Europe, the British Empire, and the USA, Monika Smialkowska demonstrates that the 1916 Shakespeare commemorators did not speak with one unified voice. Tributes by marginalised social, ethnic, and racial groups often challenged the homogenising narratives of the official celebrations. Rather than the traditionally patriotic Bard, used to support totalising versions of national or imperial identity, this study reveals Shakespeare as a site of debate and contestation, in which diverse voices – local and global, nationalist and universalist, militant and pacifist – combined and clashed in a fascinating, open-ended dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781009280839
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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