Scholars for the Shakespeare Is project include some of the finest experts on the life, work and influence of Shakespeare historically as well as today. Click on the name of one of these scholars to learn more, read interview excerpts, and hear audio highlights.

Charles Wu

Charles Wu

Charles Q. Wu was born and raised in Shanghai, China, and studied and taught at Beijing Foreign Languages Institute.  He left China in 1980 to pursue a Ph.D. at Columbia University in English literature with a specialty in romantic English poetry.  His dissertation explored a Taoist reading of William Wordsworth.

Dr. Wu is Professor Emeritus of Chinese and Humanities at Reed College, where he taught from 1988-2002.  He has published a translation of a contemporary Chinese play in Reading the Right Text: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Drama (University of Hawaii Press, 2003) and a revised translation of the play Thunderstorm for another anthology of modern Chinese drama to be published by Columbia University Press in 2010. He also served as a cultural advisor on the board of the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. Dr. Wu currently lives with his wife Diane Ma in Vacaville, CA.

Audio Excerpt

As an intellectual in Maoist China, Charles Wu was placed under solitary confinement. While there, Professor Wu wondered to himself, “Maybe it was people like us [Mao] had in mind to clean up all that was considered old and reactionary.” Those thoughts led Professor Wu to think of Shakespeare’s   Sonnet 29, which he transcribed in English in his diary. Here, Professor Wu reads Sonnet 29.

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Read on for interview excerpts


Gail Kern Paster

Gail Kern Paster

Gail Kern Paster has been the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library since 2002.  She is also Editor of the Shakespeare Quarterly and Professor at George Washington University.  Dr. Paster received her PH.D from Yale University and has held fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation and Yale University.  She also held a NEH Young Humanist Fellowship in 1973-4. She is the author of Humoring the Body: Emotions on the Shakespearean Stage (2004).


René Weis

René Weis, University College London

René Weis , Professor of English and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University College London was educated at the University of Edinburgh, the Università per Stranieri di Perugia, and at University College London, where he has worked since 1980.

His main area of research is Shakespeare, which he teaches extensively both at undergraduate level and on the Shakespeare MA. Among his other interests are the classical background of English literature, particularly Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, and Ovid; and modern drama from Ibsen and Chekhov to Miller, Williams, Pinter, and Mamet. Over the years he has supervised doctoral students on a diverse range of topics, including Shakespeare and Brecht, work and play on the Shakespearian Stage, Shakespearian maternities, and the Arts Council and modern British theatre. Current projects under his supervision include one on medicine and Shakespeare and another on queenship in the period.

Audio Excerpt

Weis talks about the magic of Shakespeare’s poetry

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Paul Edmondson

Paul Edmondson

Paul Edmondson is Head of Learning at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, an Honorary Fellow of The Shakespeare Institute, and an Honorary Fellow of The Society for Teachers of Speech and Drama. His first degree is from the University of Durham. He did his post-graduate work at The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, and produced a critical edition of The London Prodigal (1605) for his Ph. D.

Audio Excerpt

King Lear ends with the title character grieving for his daughter. In this audio excerpt, Paul Edmondson explains how Shakespeare uses direct language to get an eternal question: Why do the innocent suffer?

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Stanley Wells

Stanley Wells

Stanley Wells, Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare, former Director of the Shakespeare Institute. Described by Roy Hattersley as “Our greatest authority on Shakespeare’s life and work,” is Chairman of the Trustees of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Emeritus Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

He is the author and editor of many books including The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, 2nd Edition (OUP 2005); The Oxford Dictionary of Shakespeare (OUP, 2003); and Shakespeare in the Theatre (OUP, 1997).

Read a recent article.

Audio Excerpt

Shakespeare’s plays have always been open to interpretation. For this reason, he argues that “there is no such thing as a Shakespeare play.”

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Steven Mullaney

Stephen Mullaney, University of Michigan

Steven Mullaney is an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan (recorded in Philadelphia). Some of his publicatios include “Mourning and Misogyny: Hamlet, The Revenger’s Tragedy, and the Final Progress of Elizabeth I, 1600-1607,” Shakespeare Quarterly 45:2 (1994) and “The Place of the Stage in Elizabethan Culture,” Encyclopedia Britannica presents Shakespeare and the Globe: Then and Now.

Audio Excerpt

In 19th century theatre, Mullaney says, the actors were very much separated from the audience by “the fourth wall.” But in the interactive theatre of Shakespeare, that wall did not exist.

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See a list of publications.


Scholars

Scholars for the Shakespeare Is project include some of the finest experts on the life, work and influence of Shakespeare historically as well as today.