Event—Public Programming

Shakespeare’s Worlds of Words: Cosmopolitan Vernaculars in English Renaissance Drama

In his talk, Andrew Keener will discuss how the Elizabethan theater often categorized in national terms is full of what he calls "cosmopolitan vernaculars." For example, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, a play known widely among critics as "Shakespeare's English comedy," we find a town populated by Welsh schoolmasters, French-speaking doctors, and wannabe Italian suitors, along with a Falstaff who describes his adulterous plot as an act of translation. Analyzed alongside the dramatist's habitation among immigrants and his familiarity with Europe's most popular multilingual language manuals, this play can be seen differently as "Shakespeare's comedy of translation."