The Third Annual London Shakespeare Lecture in Honor of Stanley Wells, CBE

On March 24, 2014, the University of Notre Dame London Global Gateway hosted the Third Annual London Shakespeare Lecture in Honor of Stanley Wells, CBE, in collaboration with The Shakespeare Institute and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  The lecture, entitled “You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said” Have we heard it all? was given by Ann Thompson, Emeritus Professor of King’s College London and General Editor of the Arden Shakespeare series.

The event was organized and hosted by the Director of the London Global Gateway, Dr Warren von Eschenbach, and Dr Boika Sokolova, Professor of Shakespeare for the London Undergraduate Program, who introduced Ann Thompson with a brief biography of her professional life and works.

Thompson’s lecture focused on her experience of editing three versions of Hamlet for Arden publishers, and particularly, Act 3 Scene 1 and the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy which she claimed “appears in a place which is difficult to justify in terms of character or narrative”.   She talked about the challenges of teaching, directing, and editing Hamlet while also highlighting and analyzing the differences in the three versions of the play, the varying interpretations onstage, the controversies surrounding performance and presence of characters in the scene, and the inconsistencies throughout. In her paper, Thompson questioned the meaning of Hamlet’s soliloquy and the placement of this speech within the play as well as discussed how editors tackle uncertainties and queries using footnotes and references.  Thompson concluded her talk by stating, “There is nothing straightforward about Hamlet…I cannot confidently tell you what Lord Hamlet said and I don’t think we have heard it all.”

The Q&A session included discussions about the parts of Shakespeare that do not advance the plot, editing in the 21st century, and Thompson’s favorite production of Hamlet.

Guests included Professor Stanley Wells, C.B.E. (Honorary President of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust), Rev. Dr Paul Edmonson (Head of Knowledge and Research, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust), students, distinguished academics, actors, directors, journalists and members of the general public.  About the lecture, Wells said, “It was the talk of an expert who knows all the texts of Hamlet like the back of her hand.  She succeeded in conveying the differences and their significance very well to the audience.”  Sokolova added, “In a manner typical of her deep and careful scholarship, Professor Thomson chose the most famous speech in the English language to question the foundations of our understanding of its role in Shakespeare’s play and problematize the stability of the meanings we attribute to it in criticism and performance.”


For further reading on this event, please see the review After Arden: Ann Thompson and Hamlet by Michael Caines, (The Times Literary Supplement).

Contact: Emily Grassby, Communications and Planning Specialist, London Global Gateway

Student Article Published in the British Art Journal!

Marriage a la Mode: II - The Tete a Tete, c.1743 (oil on canvas)We are thrilled to announce that an article by undergraduate Kaitlyn Farrell, written for the ‘Masterpieces: Making and Meaning’ course in Spring 2013 has been published in the latest issue of the British Art Journal. This is a truly exceptional achievement, and we pass on our congratulations to Kaitlyn. Copies of her article will be available in the London Undergraduate Program library soon.

Kaitlyn FarrellA dog’s world: The significance of canine companions in Hogarth’s Marriage A-la-Mode’, British Art Journal, XIV, no. 2

– Lois Oliver (Professor of Art History, London Global Gateway)

Image: William Hogarth, Marriage A- la-mode, c. 1743, Scene 2: The Tête à Tête (The National Gallery, London)

Notre Dame junior wins New York Times journalism contest

Congratulations to Nicole Sganga, currently studying on the London Undergraduate Program, for winning a trip with award-winning journalist Nick Kristof this summer!  Jane Murphy reports:

“Sganga is the winner of Kristof’s annual “Win A Trip with Nick” contest. Her prize is traveling with the Times’ columnist to a developing country to raise awareness about global poverty. During the trip, she will report for a blog and videos that will be published on The New York Times website.”

Go to Notre Dame News to read on.

Art History Trip to Paris

Lois Oliver with Students at Opera GarnierOn Friday 21 February, students taking the new Art History course “Encounters: Art in London and Paris c. 1850-1900” enjoyed a busy day out in Paris.

Our first stop was the Opera Garnier (opened 1875), the crowning glory of Second Empire Paris, placed at the intersection of the grand boulevards laid out during the modernization of Paris led by city-planner Baron Haussmann during the 1860s. After taking in the extraordinary grandeur of the interiors (the perfect complement to our study of theatre paintings by Degas, Renoir and Cassatt), we ate lunch in the 6th floor restaurant of Galeries Lafayette, which commands stunning views across Paris; this glamorous department store still possesses the fin-de-siècle glass dome designed to attract the same affluent bourgeoisie who also constituted the most important audience for nineteenth-century art.

An afternoon walking tour through the streets of Paris offered the chance to take in key locations linked to our study of nineteenth-century art, including No. 35 Boulevard des Capucines (venue for the First Impressionist Exhibition of 1874), the Place Vendome (closely associated with the radical Paris Commune of 1871), and the Tuileries Gardens, where we strolled in the footsteps of Charles Baudelaire and Edouard Manet, before crossing the Seine to the Musée d’Orsay. There we examined major works by key artists studied during the first half of the semester, including Cezanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and their contemporaries, before ending our day with a tour by “petit train” through the artistic quarter of Montmartre, home to artists including Degas, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Renoir, Seurat, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

– Lois Oliver (Professor of Art History, University of Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway)

Image Lois Oliver with students at the Opera Garnier ©Lois Oliver