SEM: Karen Newman (Brown University), 4 May 2018, “Strolling Players/Mobile Texts”

4 May 2018, 5.30 pm- 7.30 pm

Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de la Sorbonne,

Professor Karen Newman (Brown University) will be giving a talk entitled:

“Strolling Players/Mobile Texts”


Travelling players scoured Europe in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Accounts of the visits of the English actors show that their performances “attracted great crowds” of young and old, men and women, city fathers and “educated professionals.” Henslowe, entrepreneur and purveyor of costumes and stage properties to the London theatre, apparently numbered the continental troupes among his clients. The traveling players employed not only English actors, but foreign comedians as well, and thus fostered a theatre that was multi-lingual and what we today term transnational. Texts too were mobile. Long before “global Shakespeare,” before, in fact, the First Folio saw print, booksellers were peddling their intellectual property in Shakespeare internationally. Early advertisements of the First Folio offered for sale to a European market at the Frankfort Book Fair, evidence of the visits of English players to the Continent, and the presence of Shakespeare in various libraries suggest that the continental presence of Shakespeare and early modern English drama has been under-estimated and undervalued.


Karen Newman is Owen Walker ’33 Professor of Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature and English at Brown University. She has written widely on early modern English and continental letters and culture and on Shakespeare and Renaissance drama. Books include Fashioning Femininity and English Renaissance Drama; Fetal Positions: Individualism, Science, Visuality; Cultural Capitals: Early Modern London and Paris and Essaying Shakespeare. Recent collections include Early Modern Cultures of Translation, co-edited with Jane Tylus, and This Distracted Globe: Worldmaking in Early Modern Literature, edited with Jonathan Goldberg and Marcie Frank. She is currently working on early modern translation and on the reception of Shakespeare in Europe.

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