Sabbatical Leave Report
Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre History
I appreciated the chance during my sabbatical to write more articles for a broader readership. I had three pieces run in The New Yorker online about ways that we reconsider Shakespeare today. One, “American Playwrights Try to Reinvent the History Play,” looked at a series of commissions from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that adapt the model of Shakespeare’s history plays to represent change in American history; a second, “Two Ways to Bring Shakespeare into the Twenty-First Century,” reviewed contrasting experimental Shakespeare productions that I saw in the U.K.; and a third, “The Radical Argument of the New Oxford Shakespeare,” evaluated the claim of a controversial new edition of the complete works that credits many other Renaissance playwrights as Shakespeare’s collaborators. I brought my scholarly interests to bear on popular culture, too, in a piece for Slate about Shakespeare’s legacy in the American West as reflected in a new HBO show (“Westworld Is Full of Shakespeare Quotations, but It’s Using Them All Wrong”), and two articles editorially solicited for the online academic review Public Books: one about reading the scripts of two popular shows (“'Harry Potter' and 'Hamilton' from the Page to the Stage”) and another about the gender politics of Disney musicals (“Lin-Manuel Meets Moana”). Most unexpectedly, I made an appearance on The New York Times opinion page when I learned that President Trump’s chief strategist had written an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus that offered surprising insight into his vision of social change (“Behold, Steve Bannon’s Hip-Hop Shakespeare Rewrite: Coriolanus”). I found it invigorating to write about current events and contemporary culture, and I hope these pieces can help to bring Linfield a higher national profile as a college where scholars engage in the public humanities.
Pollack-Pelzner, Daniel, "Sabbatical Leave Report" (2017). Post-Grant Reports. Report. Submission 120.