Cervantes and Shakespeare: A Transnational Conversation | Newberry

Cervantes and Shakespeare: A Transnational Conversation

A Joint Cervantes Symposium/Early Modern Studies Symposium
Thursday, April 14, 2016Friday, April 15, 2016

3:15 to 7:30 pm Thursday, 9 am to 3:30 pm Friday, see related program at 10 am on Saturday

Ruggles Hall

Featured speakers: William Egginton and James Shapiro
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Early Modern Studies Program
Cervantes Symposium

To commemorate the lives of Cervantes and Shakespeare, two towering figures of European literature, on the occasion of the four hundredth anniversary of their shared death date in April 1616, the Center for Renaissance Studies will host a three-day public symposium to spotlight their achievements and examine the parallels and intersections of their work.

Download a printable pdf flyer.

Cervantes 400 Event Display

A display in the exhibition space adjoining Ruggles Hall will feature selections from the Newberry’s extraordinary collection of versions of Don Quixote, from first editions of both volumes through modern illustrated editions, translations, and adaptations.

Viewing times

  • Thursday: 2 to 2:55 and 4:45-5:45
  • Friday: 9 to 9:55 and 12 to 1:55.

Thursday, April 14, at the Newberry

3 to 4:45 pm Session 1: The Worlds of Cervantes and Shakespeare

Chair: Anne J. Cruz, University of Miami


Mercedes Alcalá-Galán, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Steven Hutchinson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
James Knapp, Loyola University Chicago
Scott Sowerby, Northwestern University

4:45 to 5:45 pm Reception

6 to 7:30 pm Session 2: Dialogue on Cervantes and Shakespeare

Moderator: Liesl Olson

William Egginton, Johns Hopkins University
James Shapiro, Columbia University

Friday, April 15, at the Newberry

9:30 to 10 am Coffee and Continental Breakfast

10 am to noon Session 3: Selections from Cervantes’ Eight Interludes

Introduction: Bruce Burningham, Illinois State University

Dramatic reading by The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, followed by discussion with Dr. Burningham, the director, and the cast.

  • The Divorce Court Judge
  • The Man Who Pretended To Be from Biscay
  • The Marvellous Puppet Show

Translated by Dawn L. Smith. Directed by David Skidmore. Cast: Jeff Christian, Will Clinger, Kathy Logelin, Doug MacKechnie, Michelle Shupe, David Skidmore, Daniel Patrick Sullivan, and Mark Ulrich. George Zahora, Sound and Music Design.

Noon to 2 pm Lunch Break

2 to 3:30 pm Session 4: Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Performance, A Roundtable Discussion

Chair: Glen Carman, DePaul University

Rosilie Hernández, University of Illinois at Chicago
Javier Irigoyen-García, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

David Skidmore, The Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Will West, Northwestern University

Friday, April 15, at the Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, 31 West Ohio Street

4:30 to 6 pm Keynote Address

Cervantes and Shakespeare: Speaking to History
Mary Gaylord, Harvard University

Like many Renaissance writers, Shakespeare and Cervantes used figures and circumstances from the real and imagined past to speak to their own times. While the Bard’s commitment to history takes celebrated shape in a series of plays about British monarchs, Roman imperialists, Danish princes, and ill-fated Venetians, Cervantes engages with Spain’s past and its evolving destiny no less insistently, though in ways more diffuse and even unlikely. None of these approaches to history proves more slippery than his pseudo-historical chronicle of the exploits of the immortal Ingenious Gentleman. There, working behind the festive mask of literary parody, Cervantes carries on a phantom dialog with the serious historians of his day, about their nation’s ways of writing its history.

6 pm Reception

Saturday, April 16, at the Newberry

10 am to 12:30 pm Staged Reading of Cardenio

See the related program: The Shakespeare Project of Chicago will perform a staged reading of the play Cardenio, by Charles Mee and Stephen Greenblatt, inspired by a lost play of Shakespeare’s that was based on a story from Don Quixote. The performance begins at 10 am, with an introductory talk fifteen minutes beforehand.

About the Cervantes Symposium

The Newberry has hosted Cervantes Symposia since 2001. This year’s symposium is organized by Anne J. Cruz, University of Miami, Rosilie Hernández, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Carla Zecher, Renaissance Society of America, and cosponsored with the Cervantes Society of America, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at DePaul University, and the Instituto Cervantes of Chicago.

Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Cost and Registration Information 

This program is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration in advance is required. 

Registration for this event has closed.