Friday, March 6, 2015

Professor's Corner: Shakespeare's King Lear in Adaptation

Lear and Cordelia Live  Between 1681 and the early nineteenth century, the most popular stage version of
Shakespeare’s 
King Lear was not, in fact, Shakespeare’s--it was Nahum Tate's revised adaptation with an in-

famous alternate ending.  Tate's version will be the subject of discussion at the next session of Professor's Cor-
ner, free and open to all, on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.  Image of Benjamin West's King Lear courtesy of the
Museum of Fine Arts Boston 
The next session of Professor's Corner, a free discussion group devoted to quality presentations on literary topics, is coming soon.  Please mark your calendar and join us on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 for Shakespeare's King Lear in Adaptation.   Refreshments will be served, and admission is open to all.  


ABOUT THIS SESSION
Between 1681 and the early nineteenth century, the most popular stage version of Shakespeare’s King Lear was not, in fact, Shakespeare’s.  This distinction belonged to Nahum Tate, a late-seventeenth-century playwright who, along with a number of his contemporaries, altered Shakespeare’s works to suit the Restoration stage. Among Tate’s revisions—the omission of the fool, the reordering of scenes, the introduction of a romance between Edgar and Cordelia—none is as infamous as the new ending.

A tragicomedy, not a tragedy, Tate’s Lear ends with a restored monarchy.  Lear and Cordelia live.  While Shakespeare’s play (which has its own complicated textual history) has been restored, its artistic and dramatic superiority acknowledged, Tate’s version is no less important a cultural artifact. 


In this session of Professor’s Corner we will compare key scenes from Shakespeare’s and Tate’s versions of Lear.  What are the interpretive consequences of Tate’s revisions?  What social, cultural and political forces shaped Tate’s (and other adapters') choices, and what do these choices in turn reveal about this dynamic period of British history?


WHEN & WHERE

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Denton Public Library, South Branch (3228 Teasley, Denton, Texas, 76210.  Just south of the Teasley/Lillian Miller intersection. A Google map and directions are available here.)

COST
This program is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.

SPEAKER
This session's presenter is Dr. Ashley Bender, a visiting Assistant Professor at Texas Woman’s University.  Dr. Bender earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of North Texas.  Although she specializes in Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature, spending most of her time on drama of the period, her other scholarly interests include the eighteenth-century novel, textual studies, and more recently, service learning in the college classroom.


OPTIONAL READINGS FOR THIS SESSION

King Lear, Adapted by Nahum Tate 
Shakespeare's King Lear (full text), presented by Project Gutenberg

THE PROFESSOR'S CORNER SERIES
The purpose of this free series is to meet a public need for high-quality presentations on literary topics by featuring local English professors who talk about their special interests.  The presentations are aimed at the general public and allow for discussion. Gatherings are usually held on the second Wednesday of specified months from 7:00 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m., and readings of modest length are usually available in advance.  Announcements are available by e-mail; to get on the mailing list send a request to Fred Kamman of the Denton Public Library at Fred.Kamman@cityofdenton.com.

STILL TO COME: PROFESSOR'S CORNER 2014-15
April 8, 2015:  The Legends of King Arthur (Dr. Matthew Brown, Speaker)
May 13, 2015:  It's Epic! Derek Walcott’s Omeros (Dr. Carl Smeller, Speaker)

SERIES COORDINATOR

Fred Kamman of the Denton Public Library (Fred.Kamman@cityofdenton.com or 940-349-8752) 
SERIES PRODUCER
Dr. Stephen Souris of Texas Woman’s University (SSouris@twu.edu or 940-898-2343)

THANK YOU TO THESE SUPPORTERS OF THE PROFESSOR'S CORNER SERIES
Many thanks to Denton Public LibraryVoertman'sRecycled Books Records CDs, and Cooper’s Copies and Printing for their support.  This program was also made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

We hope to see you on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.


~Dr. Stephen Souris

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