John Henry Williams, 1747-1829: Pastoralia and Politics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Winchester
Department Name: History


The project employed critical concepts of presence, performance and display in an investigation of the previously often overlooked reception history of Shakespeare in the domestic and private setting. It sought to contribute to the study of Shakespeare's place and significance in cultural history, through increasing awareness of Shakespearian 'afterlives' in performance and reception outside the public, theatrical and national spheres. More broadly it sought to contribute to histories and theorisations of domesticity, and to key enquiries within Performance Studies into the relationships between performance, audience and location. The selected case studies were chosen to cast a light on different aspects of the expectance of Shakespeare in the home; (a) Shakespeare and the culture of childhood; (b) reception of Shakespeare in the home through media of radio, television and recordings; (c) the domestic performance of Shakespeare in the form of readings and recitations; (d) the display of Shakespeare - related objects in the home. In each case the nature of documented every day and private performances of Shakespeare was examined in order to trace some of the ways in which Shakespeare has been absorbed into the practices and physical environments of actual homes and families. In so doing special attention was paid to the role of women and children in these processes. The project also examined surviving evidence of the material culture connected with Shakespeare in the home, in the form of books, pictures, games, toys, clothes, decorative objects and interior and exterior decoration inspired in some way by Shakespeare's plays and poems, or his own life and supposed personality and appearance.
The project gave rise, as envisaged to five essays, one published, one in press (at proof stage), and three on the point of submission for publication, together with a number of other completed of forthcoming outcomes such as conference papers, keynotes lectures and research seminars.


10 25 50