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"The Quality of Mercy": Compassionate Shakespeare
Wed, March 29, 2017, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM MST
Presented by Paul Hartle
Fellow in English and Senior Tutor, St Catharine's College, Cambridge
ACMRS Scholar Series Lecture & Brown Bag
Free and open to the public
Parking is available in Lot 20 (pay per space) for $3/hour
From his earliest work (Two Gentlemen of Verona, Titus Andronicus) to his latest (The Tempest, The Two Noble Kinsmen), Shakespeare is persistently and deeply concerned with the practice and cost of human compassion. In this lecture, I set the concept of compassion into its Early Modern context, discussing its use in several key contemporary texts, before exploring Shakespeare’s many stagings of acts of compassion (or a contrasting lack of it), paying especial attention to the compassionate choices of the powerful and the disempowered as they are theatrically juxtaposed (several scenes will be screened). Although I will range across almost the whole canon, there will be particular focus on The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, King Lear and The Tempest.
Paul Hartle is Fellow in English and Senior Tutor at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he has had his feet under the table for more than forty years, man and boy. He has published on a wide range of Medieval and Renaissance topics (with a particular interest in the cultural afterlife of the Classics) and several times been Visiting Professor in the USA (twice at ACMRS) and in Japan. His first book was on Medieval poetry, and he has recently completed his Oxford Clarendon Texts edition of the complete poetry of Charles Cotton (1630-1687), which will finally see the light of publication in July this year. His current project is an account of the presence and perception of Japan in Early Modern British culture, and he has twice given papers on this new work at the ACMRS Annual Conference. At St Catharine's, he teaches across the Medieval and Renaissance range of papers and particularly enjoys arguing about Shakespeare productions on stage and screen; several of his former students are now professional actors and directors.