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Still Shakespeare and the Photography of Performance


  • Date Published: August 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108738255

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • Still Shakespeare and the Photography of Performance examines the place of photography in the reception of the Shakespeare canon since the invention of the camera, looking at how photographic images have shaped perceptions of historicity, performance, and Shakespearean character, and how their dissemination has affected Shakespearean authority. Barnden reveals how photography has conditioned the reception of Shakespeare's works in two key ways. Firstly, as a form of performance documentation, photographs shape the way individual performances are remembered and their positioning in relation to traditional and iconoclastic interpretations of the text. Secondly, photographs are vehicles of Shakespearean iconography, encouraging certain compositions and interpretations. Exploring both theatrical and staged art photographs, Still Shakespeare demonstrates the role of photography as a contributor to the calcification of Shakespearean quotation, advertising, and iconography, and to the attrition of the relationship between image and text whereby images become attached to narratives far beyond their original context.

    • Covers a long period of study that ranges from 1850 to 2016
    • Including over thirty illustrations, Barnden offers detailed readings of specific images to anchor the book's argument in a range of examples
    • The book's interdisciplinary approach combines art history, performance studies and media history
    • Provides a model for thinking about Shakespeare performance in the context of media history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… Shakespeare and the Photography of Performance is a fascinating book for this photoshopping age … Still Shakespeare offers an enlightening and engaging introduction to the study of Shakespeare photography that should appeal to performance historians and theatre creators alike.' Daniel Yabut, Cahiers Élisabéthains: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108738255
    • length: 262 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.359kg
    • contains: 34 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: leave not a rack behind
    Part I. Photographing Performers:
    1. Liveness, documentation, and the RSC's dreams, 1954–77
    2. Photographing the past in the theatre of Charles Kean
    3. Julia Margaret Cameron, sympathetic Shakespeare and photographic afterlives
    Part II. Iconography, Photography, and Hamlet:
    4. 'Too much of water': Ophelia, photography, dissolution
    5. Poor Yorick: the photograph as memento mori
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Sally Barnden, King's College London
    Sally Barnden is a Research Associate on the AHRC-funded project 'Shakespeare in the Royal Collections' at King's College London. Her research on Shakespeare performance and still photography inspired the 'Still Shakespeare' animation project, a collaboration with Film London Artists' Moving Image Network. Her work has been published in Shakespeare Bulletin and Theatre Journal.

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