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Shakespeare at Rhodes

Thanks to a generous bequest from the late Dr. Iris Annette Pearce, Rhodes enjoys a range of Shakespeare-related resources unique among American liberal arts colleges. The Pearce Shakespeare Endowment was established in 2007 to enrich courses in Shakespeare and support events for the entire campus.

Funds generated by Dr. Pearce’s gift aid Shakespeare studies through lectures by visiting scholars; conferences and symposia; support for research; productions of plays; periods of residence by performing artists; and other innovative programming to enhance Shakespeare at Rhodes and in the greater Memphis community. Key institutional partnerships have helped bring these events to a wide range of audiences.

"The Pearce Endowment provides a wonderful set of resources for Shakespeare studies at Rhodes. The events that it supports both on and off campus bring together world-class scholars and performers to speak to each other and, even more importantly, to students. Because these lectures, symposia, and performances are integrated with ongoing coursework, Rhodes students have the opportunity to think about Shakespeare — and their own work — beyond the boundaries of the classroom." — Andrew Miller, ′11 

1616 Symposium

April 21-22, 2016: A multidisciplinary symposium on 1616—a year that saw the deaths of Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Tang Xianzu; the closing of Japan to foreigners; Copernicus placed on the  Index; Pocahontas visiting London; Galileo meeting with  Cardinal Bellarmine to discuss heliocentrism; Ben Jonson’s collected plays published; a smallpox epidemic that decimated the indigenous population of New England; Harvey discussing his theory of circulation of blood; and the first slaves arriving in the British colony of Bermuda. 

The 1616 Symposium will involve a keynote address (Thomas Christensen, author of 1616: The World in Motion), the regional premiere of a show based on the last days of Shakespeare’s life (by UK artist Transatlantyk2), and lectures by scholars ranging across the liberal arts. Invited speakers include:

Mark Algee-Hewitt (Stanford) on print culture c. 1616

Owen Gingerich (Harvard) on Galileo

Roland Greene (Stanford) on Cervantes

Heather Miyano Kopelson (Alabama) on the origins of slavery in the Bermudas

Michael Legaspi (Penn State) on the genesis of biblical hermeneutics

Gideon Manning (Caltech) on early modern medicine

William Newman (Indiana), on alchemy and chymistry

Catherine Swatek (UBC), on Tang Xianzu and Kun opera

Henry Turner (Rutgers) on the early modern corporation

Selected lectures will be published in The Hare, an online journal of Renaissance studies.
As part of the symposium, Barret Library will display 1616-related items from our special collections. At the University of Mississippi, a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio will be on display from April 11–May 1, 2016.

Generously co-sponsored by the Rhodes College Office of Academic Affairs, Africana StudiesArt & Art HistoryAsian Studies,  Barret LibraryBiologyChemistryCommunities in ConversationEnglishHistoryInternational StudiesLatin American StudiesMathematics and Computer ScienceModern Languages & LiteraturesPhysicsPolitical EconomyPsychologyReligious StudiesSearchTheatre, Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), and the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis (CIUM).


Mark your calendars for a lecture on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, 2015: John Guillory (NYU) will discuss "Monuments and Documents: On the Object of Study in the Humanities" (7pm, Blount). Guillory will reflect upon Erwin Panofsky’s use of the terms ‘monument’ and ‘document’ to describe the works of art studied by the art historian or critic, and on the utility of these terms in describing the object of study across humanities disciplines generally. Guillory is best known for his book Cultural Capital (1993), which applied Bourdieu’s sociology of aesthetics to clarify debates about canon formation in literary studies. More recently, he published a widely-discussed essay on the genesis of the concept of "media," a series of philological annotations from the early modern era to the present. Co-sponsored by English, Art, and the Search Program.

Marjorie Garber Lecture

March 27: Lecture by Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Marjorie Garber (Harvard University): "Shakespeare and/in the Humanities”

7pm, Hardie Auditorium. Free and open to the public. Read an interview with Garber in Chapter 16; Memphis Flyer book blog; "We Recommend." 

There was a time when Shakespeare’s plays were not considered serious enough, or appropriate for, study in libraries or universities. And there was a time, a slightly later time, when Shakespeare’s plays were considered the property of a subset of the learned class, different from, and distinct from, the practitioners of applied or practical knowledge. Today the plays are part of contemporary culture, in popular music, advertising, and journalistic headlines; and they are also part of literary culture, the culture of “the humanities.” In fact, for many people, Shakespeare is the humanities, quoted, cited, and sung as an authority on philosophy, statecraft, character, love and death. What’s next for Shakespeare studies, in and beyond the academy? What can the itinerary of “Shakespeare” in the last hundred years tell us about the future of the humanities in the twenty-first century?

Marjorie Garber is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, and Chair of the Committee on Dramatic Arts. She has published seventeen books and edited seven collections of essays on topics from Shakespeare to literary and cultural theory to the arts and intellectual life. Newsweek magazine chose Shakespeare After All as one of the five best nonfiction books of 2004, and praised it as the “indispensable introduction to an indispensable writer ... Garber’s is the most exhilarating seminar room you’ll ever enter.”

Garber has served as Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard, Chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, and Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. She is the former President of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and a continuing member of its advisory board. She currently serves as a Trustee of the English Institute and on the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies and a member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2010, she chaired the judging committee of the non-fiction category of the National Book Awards. This past summer, she was a featured commentator on the BBC/PBS television series, "Shakespeare Uncovered."

Garber’s visit is co-sponsored by the Rhodes College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; the Department of English; the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; Greek & Roman Studies; the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment; the Search program; and the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities.

H4 Screening

November 2, 2013: Regional premiere of H4 at the Indie Memphis film festival (Playhouse on the Square)

H4 is the first black Shakespeare film. It transports Shakespeare′s Henry IV plays to contemporary Los Angeles to explore political struggles in the black community. Performed in Shakespeare′s original language, H4 will appeal to Shakespearean aficionados and newcomers alike.

Actor/producer Harry Lennix and scholar/screenwriter Dr. Ayanna Thompson (George Washington University) attended the screening. Earlier in the day, Lennix and Thompson also engaged in an informal discussion with Rhodes students, faculty, and staff (3:30pm, Rhea Lounge).

Interviews with Lennix: PopEntertainment.comFerdy on FilmsJET.

Reviews: Show Biz ChicagoAntagony & EcstasyMemphis Flyer: "Director Paul Quinn′s brave embrace of theatrical device and nonrealism should be an inspiration, and possibly even a model, for filmmakers looking to tell huge stories with miniscule budgets. . . . Much ado has been made of Lennix′s dedication to H4, a film that the Shakespeare aficionado has described as a labor of love, but he′s one player in a strong ensemble that includes Keith David, Heavy D, Amad Jackson, and Geno Monteiro making a star turn as Hotspur, the rebel knight." The Bloodshot Eye: "Also in town will be Harry Lennix and screenwriter Ayanna Thompson of "H4," an adaptation of Shakespeare′s "Henry IV" set in modern inner-city Los Angeles. You may not recognize Lennix′s name but you definitely will recognize his face; imposing and authoritative, the actor has a string of impressive credits."

Kickstarter page for H4.

Harry Lennix currently stars as FBI head Harry Cooper in NBC’s action-thriller "The Blacklist." Lennix is an accomplished film, television and stage actor who appears in the Warner Bros. feature "Man of Steel." Other recent credits include "Emily Owens, M.D.," "Dollhouse" and "Little Britain," as well as the critically acclaimed series "24."

Lennix made his Broadway debut in August Wilson′s Tony-nominated play "Radio Golf." He was seen on the big screen in Working Title’s "State of Play." In 2006, Lennix starred in the Golden Globe-nominated ABC show "Commander in Chief" as Jim Gardner, Chief of Staff to the POTUS. His other appearances include the Oscar-winning film "Ray," "The Matrix: Reloaded" and "The Matrix: Revolutions." Lennix received critical acclaim and a Golden Satellite Award as Aaron in Julie Taymor’s "Titus," starring Anthony Hopkins. A host of other film credits include "Across the Universe," "Barbershop 2" and "Love and Basketball." Lennix starred as the legendary Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in Showtime′s "Keep the Faith, Baby" for which he won a Black Reel Award and was nominated for both an NAACP Image Award and a Golden Satellite Award. He continued to make his presence known with recurring roles on "ER" and "Diagnosis Murder" and guest-starring appearances on shows such as "Law & Order: Los Angeles."

Lennix has directed and appeared in stage productions across the country, including the Northlight Theater Company′s production of "Permanent Collection" at the Greenway Arts Alliance in Los Angeles, which, under his directing consultation, was remounted at Los Angeles′ Kirk Douglas Theater. He directed the stage version of Robert Townsend′s "The Five Heartbeats," which received three NAACP Theater Award nominations, and "The Glass Menagerie" for the Steppenwolf Theater Company. As a stage actor, Lennix was the first distinguished recipient of an Ollie Award for his portrayal of Malcolm X at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and two Joseph Jefferson Citations for his roles in "Ma Rainey′s Black Bottom" and "Caught in the Act." He starred in the title role of August Wilson′s "King Hedley II" at the Mark Taper Forum. In 2001, he was part of the first American company to be invited to the Royal Shakespeare Company in the production of "Cymbeline." View his online discussion with Ayanna Thompson, "Acting While Black" (ASU).

Dr. Ayanna Thompson is Professor of English at George Washington University. She specializes in Renaissance drama and focuses on issues of race and performance. She is the author of two books: Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage (Routledge, 2008), and the editor of two books: Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) (co-edited with Scott Newstok) and Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance (Routledge, 2006). View her online lecture, "Race and Shakespearean Performance" (UMBC).

Co-sponsored by African American Studies, Film Studies, and the Black Student Association at Rhodes College; African and African American Studies at the University of Memphis; and presented in collaboration with Indie Memphis and Hattiloo Theatre.

Did You Know?

Lectures from the 2008 Rhodes symposium "Shakespeare in Color" were published in the 2010 essay collection Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance, co-edited by Scott L. Newstok and Ayanna ThompsonHarry Lennix was one of two dozen contributors to this volume.

The Past and Future of the Book 

On Friday, October 11, Rhodes College hosted a free public symposium on the latest developments in book history as well as innovative digital approaches to interpreting Shakespeare. Facebook event pageFlyer interview; Counterpoint interview; Smart City Memphis ; Intermission ImpossibleCommercial Appeal.

9:00 am: Lukas Erne discussed "Disseminating Printed Shakespeare in Early Modern England.” Dr. Erne is Professor of English at the University of Geneva. He is author of Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist (2003); Shakespeare and the Book Trade (2013); Shakespeare’s Modern Collaborators (2008); and Beyond ‘The Spanish Tragedy’: A Study of the Works of Thomas Kyd (2001). He has won the Hoffman Prize, the Roma Gill Prize, and the Robert Harvey Prize.

10:00 am: Michael Witmore addressed "Writing Literary and Cultural History at the Level of the Sentence.” Dr. Witmore became the Folger Shakespeare Library′s seventh director on July 1, 2011. He is the author of Landscapes of the Passing Strange (2010); Shakespearean Metaphysics (2008); Pretty Creatures: Children and Fiction in the English Renaissance (2007); and Culture of Accidents: Unexpected Knowledges in Early Modern England (2001). He is co-winner of the Perkins Prize.

11:00 am: Robert Darnton responded to these presentations, and engaged in a roundtable discussion with Erne and Witmore. Dr. Darnton is University Professor and Director of the Harvard Library system. Among his honors are a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Humanities Medal. He has written and edited many books, including The Great Cat Massacre (1984, translated into 18 languages) and The Case for Books (2009).

Dr. Darnton also lectured at the University of Memphis on Thursday, October 10 (6:00pm, UC-Theatre): "Digitize and Democratize: Libraries, Books, and the Digital Future". View his lecture online.


At Rhodes College: the Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities; the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment; and the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

At the University of Memphis: the Helen Hardin Honors Program; the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society; the Department of English; and the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities (MOCH).

For further information, please contact Scott Newstok:

Event Poster (pdf).

Related readings:

Darnton: "The National Digital Public Library is Launched!"; The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future; "What is the History of Books?"

Erne: Shakespeare and the Book TradeShakespeare as Literary DramatistShakespeare′s Modern Collaborators

Witmore: Wine Dark Sea; "Bits and the Bard"; "Shakespeare as Killer Software"; "The Data-Mining′s the Thing"; Shakespearean Metaphysics

Photo: Donna Ruff, "Es-tu comme moi?" (2008) 

Global ′Hamlet′s Symposium

Friday, October 5, 2012

A free public symposium that explored adaptations and appropriations of Hamlet across the globe, in ArabBritishChinese, and South African contexts. Media: poster (PDF); lobby placard (PDF); Smart City MemphisMemphis FlyerWKNO interview.


Alex Huang (George Washington University):"Icons of Modernity: Hamlet and Ophelia in Chinese Confucian Culture"

David Schalkwyk (Folger Shakespeare Library): "Hamlet′s Dreams: The Robben Island Shakespeare"

Margaret Litvin (Boston University): "Hamlet on the Barricades: Global Shakespeare, Arab Dreams"

Nick Hutchison (RADA): "A Player′s Advice to Hamlet"

Reception with performance by Opera Memphis


"The Banquet" (aka Legend of the Black Scorpion, dir. FENG Xiaogang, China, 2006), a Kung Fu adaptation, was screened Thursday, October 4, 7:30pm, Blount Auditorium (Buckman Hall -- #67 on campus map)

Baritone aria from Ambroise Thomas′ French grand opera Hamlet, was performed by Opera Memphis at the reception following our October 5 symposium

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) was performed by the Tennessee Shakespeare Company (September 20-October 7, Poplar Pike Playhouse); tickets for the October 5 performance subsidized for members of the Rhodes community by CODA: The Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts

The Poet′s Heart, the Composer′s Pen: Music set to writings of great poets was performed by Rhodes Singers, Chamber Singers, Women′s Chorus and Men′s Chorus (Sunday, October 21, 3:30pm, St. Anne Catholic Church)

Rhodes co-sponsors:

Asian Studies

British Studies at Oxford


International Studies




Ann Thompson on the first and second quartos of Hamlet

BBC interviews with Alex Huang here and here; articles on "Multilingual Shakespeare"; "Borrowed Robes"; "Shakespeare and Translation"

"From the Globe to the Global" -- Folger NEH Summer Institute

"Global Shakespeares" Video & Performance Archive

"Globe to Globe" festival at Shakespeare′s Globe

"Hamlet Works" website, including Q2/F "enfolded"

HyperHamlet, a database of references to Shakespeare′s play

The Hamlet Zone: Reworking "Hamlet" for European Cultures, from the conference "Hamlet in Europe"

International Shakespeare Association

International Shakespeare Conference

Parallel text versions of Q1/Q2/Folio Hamlets

Royal Shakespeare Company

"Shakespeare and Globalization" (Anston Bosman article)

Shakespeare Around the Globe

• Shakespeare Quartos Archive

• "Technologies of Memory" (Katherine Rowe article)

• World Shakespeare Bibliography

• World Shakespeare Festival

• World Shakespeare Project (Emory University)

1611 Symposium

The King James Bible’s 400th anniversary

On November 10–13, 2011, over 1000 people attended a series of events across the city of Memphis exploring the making and legacy of the 1611 publication of the "King James" Bible. These events were supported by Pearce Shakespeare Endowment and over a dozen co-sponsors, noted below. Media: flyer; poster; schedule; facebook pageChapter 16 interview with Alter; Counterpoint interview with Alter; Commercial Appeal review of Alter′s book; Memphis Flyer interview with Alter; Daily Helmsman article on symposium; Faith in Memphis entry on "Manifold Greatness" exhibit; Manifold Greatness blog entry and follow upThe Bible and Interpretation blog.

November 9-December 21 (10am-5pm daily), Barret Library is displaying "Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible." This traveling exhibition for libraries was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, with assistance from the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas, to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. This exhibition is free and open to the public, and was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

On Thursday, November 10, 6:30-8pm (reception, 6:00pm) at the University of Memphis (University Center), Robert Alter (UC-Berkeley) delivered the keynote lecture on "The King James Bible and the Question of Eloquence." Alter′s visit was co-sponsered by the Naseeb Shaheen Memorial Lecture of the University of Memphis Department of English, the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities (MOCH), Christian Brothers University, the Project for the Study of Liberal Democracy at Rhodes College, and the Society for Comparative Research on Iconic and Performative Texts (SCRIPT), with a major matching grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

On Friday, November 11, 1-5pm at Rhodes College (Blount Auditorium), brief (25-minute) presentations were delivered by five distinguished scholars, with a response by Robert Alter and a roundtable discussion.

* Michael Leslie on behalf of Brian Cummings (Sussex): "In the Literal Sense: The Protestant Bible and the Theory of Reading"

Hannibal Hamlin (Ohio State University): "Reflections after 2011: What I′ve Learned from the KJV Anniversary"

Naomi Tadmor (Lancaster): "The Social Universe of the King James Bible"

Ena Heller (Museum of Biblical Art): "Against the King′s Wishes: Art and the King James Bible"

Vincent Wimbush (Claremont Graduate University): "White Men′s Magic: The Black Atlantic Reads King James:

Their visits were co-sponsored by African American Studies, History, the Lillian and Morrie Moss Endowment for the Visual Arts, Religious Studies, Search, and the Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities.

On Sunday, November 13, 7-9pm (Hardie Auditorium), the consort of viols Parthenia performed an early music recital, sponsored by the Mike Curb Institute for Music.

Additional 1611-related events in the region:

January 27: Commemoration of the King James translation, Harding University Graduate School of Religion Library

July 6–January 8: Exhibit: "Divine Words/Common Tongues: Reformation Era Bibles and Print," Brooks Museum of Art

August 22–January 31: Display of Elvis Presley′s copy of the King James Bible, Graceland

September 15: Film screening: Shakespeare′s Globe Theatre presents "Henry VIII," Malco Paradiso

September 15-17: Conference on KJV 400: Legacy and Impact, Union University (Jackson)

September 16–February 19: Display of seventeenth-century English coffer box, The National Ornamental Metal Museum

October 1-9: Exhibit: "The Enduring Word: The Bible Before 1611," Museum of Biblical History (Collierville)

October 5–November 9: Seminar on "1611 and All That" at the Meeman Center, Rhodes College, taught by Michael Leslie, Dean of British Studies at Oxford

October 5-23: Production of Macbeth, Tennessee Shakespeare Company (Shelby Farms Park)

October 23, 3:30pm: Concert: "A Bit of Byrd and a Bit of the Bard," with Rhodes Singers, Women′s Chorus, and theatrical guests, Evergreen Presbyterian Church

October 24: Lecture: Ellie Bagley on "Catholics and the King James Bible: Stories from England, Ireland, and America," Spain Auditorium, Christian Brothers University

November 6, 5:30pm: Evensong service for All Saints, with music by Elizabethan composers, St. George′s Episcopal Church (Germantown)

November 12, 10:30am: Film screening: "The Seventh Seal" (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman, 1957), Brooks Museum of Art

November 17, 7:00pm: Documentary film screening: "Preacher" (USA, Daniel Kraus, 2010), Brooks Museum of Art 

November 29, 4:00pm: Lecture: "The Significance of the Translation of the King James Bible," LeMoyne-Owen College, Hanson Student Center

Other events, as noted by the King James Bible Trust:

"400 Years of the King James Bible", a conference at Baylor University, April 7-9

"The King James Bible and Its Cultural Afterlife", a conference at Ohio State University, May 6-8

"The Bible in the Seventeenth Century", a conference at the University of York, July 7-9 "On Eagle′s Wings", an exhibition at the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), New York, July 8-October 16

"Manifold Greatness", an exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, September 23-January 14 

Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) conferences in London (July) and San Francisco (November)

Upcoming Events

2014–15 Memphis-area events:

November 1, 2014: a screening of Romeo and Juliet in Harlem, November 1, 2014 at Indie Memphis Film Festival (9:45pm, Hattiloo Theatre; reception 9:00pm). Director Aleta Chappelle and actor Harry Lennix have been invited to attend the screening. Co-sponsored by the Rhodes Africana Studies Program, Rhodes Office of Multicultural Affairs, Rhodes Film Studies, CODA, and the African and African American Studies Program at the University of Memphis.

April 23, 2015: Shakespeare′s Birthday Lecture by John Guillory (NYU), who will discuss "Monuments and Documents: On the Object of Study in the Humanities" (7pm, Blount). Guillory will reflect upon Erwin Panofsky′s use of the terms ′monument′ and ′document′ to describe the works of art studied by the art historian or critic, and on the utility of these terms in describing the object of study across humanities disciplines generally. Guillory is best known for his book Cultural Capital (1993), which applied Bourdieu′s sociology of aesthetics to clarify debates about canon formation in literary studies. More recently, he published a widely-discussed essay on the genesis of the concept of "media," a series of philological annotation from the early modern era to the present. Co-sponsored by English, Art, and the Search Program. 

September 24: "Secrets of the Dead: Resurrecting Richard III," WKNO (9pm)

October 30–November 1: Richard III, Tennessee Shakespeare Company (GPAC)

December 11–21: Twelfth Night, Tennessee Shakespeare Company (Dixon Gallery & Gardens)

December 13: Shakesbeer fundraiser for Threepenny Theatre (Memphis Made Brewing Company)

February 19–28: Macbeth, University of Memphis

March 6: Mendelssohn′s A Midsummer Night′s Dream, Memphis Symphony Orchestra (7:30pm, Lindenwood Christian Church)

April 17–18: Marlowe′s Dido, Queen of Carthage, Threepenny Theatre (Playhouse on the Square), part of the Midtown Opera Festival

May 5–31: Kiss Me, Kate, Playhouse on the Square

June 4–21: A Midsummer Night′s Dream, Tennessee Shakespeare Company (University of Memphis)

June 19–July 5: Othello, Threepenny Theatre (TheatreWorks)

Past Events

March 27, 2014: Phi Beta Kappa lecture by Marjorie Garber: "Occupy Shakespeare: Shakespeare and/in the Humanities." Interview in Chapter 16; Memphis Flyer "Shakespeare Our Contemporary"; "Occupied Shakespeare."

November 2, 2013: Regional premiere of H4 at the Indie Memphis film festival (Playhouse on the Square). H4 is the first black Shakespeare film, transporting the Henry IV plays to contemporary Los Angeles to explore political struggles in the African American  community. Actor/producer Harry Lennix and scholar/screenwriter Dr. Ayanna Thompson (George Washington University) attended the screening as well as engaged in an informal discussion with Rhodes students, faculty, and staff (3:30pm, Rhea Lounge). Interviews with Lennix:; Ferdy on FilmsJET. Reviews: Show Biz ChicagoAntagony & EcstasyMemphis FlyerThe Bloodshot Eye.

October 10–11, 2013: "The Past and Future of the Book" symposium on the latest developments in book history as well as innovative digital approaches to interpreting Shakespeare. Lukas Erne discussed "Disseminating Printed Shakespeare in Early Modern England”; Michael Witmore addressed "Writing Literary and Cultural History at the Level of the Sentence”; Robert Darnton responded to these presentations, and engaged in a roundtable discussion with Erne and Witmore. Darnton also lectured at the University of Memphis: "Digitize and Democratize: Libraries, Books, and the Digital Future".Facebook event pageFlyer interview; Counterpoint interview; Smart City Memphis ; Intermission ImpossibleCommercial Appeal; event poster (pdf).

April 12–13, 18–21, 2013: Production of As You Like It, with the return of visiting director Nick Hutchison. Interview with the director; review in the The Memphis Flyer; view photos. This production garnered nine Ostrander nominations for most outstanding college drama, winning awards for Supporting Actress in a Drama (Madison Tallant) and Supporting Actor in a Drama (Stephen Brown).

October 5,  2012: Symposium on "Global Hamlets," with Alex HuangNick HutchisonMargaret Litvin, and David Schalkwyk. Media: poster (PDF); lobby placard (PDF); Smart City MemphisMemphis FlyerWKNO interview.

November 10-11, 2011: Symposium on "The King James Bible′s 400th Anniversary," with Robert AlterHannibal HamlinEna HellerNaomi Tadmor, and Vincent Wimbush. Media: flyer; poster; schedule; facebook pageChapter 16 interview with Alter; Counterpoint interview with Alter; Commercial Appeal review of Alter′s book; Memphis Flyer interview with Alter; Daily Helmsman article on symposium; Faith in Memphis entry on "Manifold Greatness" exhibit; Manifold Greatness blog entry and follow upThe Bible and Interpretation blog.

April 1-2, 14-17, 2011: Production of Twelfth Night, in celebration of the McCoy Theatre′s 30th anniversary season, with visiting director Nick Hutchison. Review in The Memphis Flyer; this production garnered eight Ostrander nominations for most outstanding college drama, winning awards for Leading Actress (Kilby Hodges), Leading Actor (Stephen Brown), and Supporting Actor (Donald Jellerson).

January 23, 2011: Panel discussion of the history and practice of adapting Shakespeare′s works to music, with Rhodes professors Donald Jellerson (English) and Vanessa Rogers (Music). Presented in conjunction with Opera Memphis′ production of a new musical version of A Midsummer Night′s Dream (Playhouse on the Square).

March 26, 2010: Symposium on "Green Shakespeare: Environmental Studies and the Bard," with a keynote lecture by Robert Watson was followed by a roundtable discusion on the "state of the field" with Dan BraytonSimon EstokSharon O′DairKaren Raber, and Robert Watson. Co-sponsored by the Rhodes College Environmental Program, with additional support from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) and the Rhodes College Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts (CODA). Press release; newspaper article; Memphis Flyer recommendationSmart City blog posting; Counterpoint radio program; Watson′s lecture handout

October 20, 2009: Concert: Music of Shakespeare′s England, performed by The City Musick.

April 24, 2009: Lectures on The Taming of the Shrew by Dympna Callaghan and Leah Marcus, co-sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

October 3, 2008: Lecture on As You Like It by Paul Kottman, co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and by CODA.

January 25, 2008: Symposium on Macbeth, “Shakespeare in Color” (PDF), with Aleta ChappelleWallace CheathamPeter EricksonHarry LennixMarguerite RippyAmy Scott-Douglass, and Ayanna Thompson. Co-sponsored by CODA, the African American Studies program, and the Departments of English and Theatre. This event was held in conjunction with the production of the play at Hattiloo Theatre, directed by Professor Cookie Ewing, and Verdi′s Macbett by Opera Memphis. Lectures from the symposium (by Wallace CheathamPeter EricksonHarry LennixMarguerite RippyAmy Scott-Douglass, and Ayanna Thompson) have been published in an expanded collection of essays, Weyward Macbeth.

Research Resources

The Rhodes College Media Center holds over 100 Shakespeare film adaptations on DVD, and many more on VHS. In 2009, the College Archives scanned nearly three hundred 19th-century illustrations from the Farnsworth Shakespeare Print Collection, all of which are available for viewing online. In addition to hundreds of scholarly studies in the stacks (scan the call numbers PR2800-PR3000), Barret Library subscribes to many online databases and journals useful in the study of Shakespeare, including:

Dictionary of National Biography - illustrated collection of 50,000 specially written biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of Britain′s past.

EEBO - Early English Books Online - digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in English from 1473-1700.

Oxford English Dictionary - online edition of the OED, the historical dictionary of the English language, with numerous citations from Shakespeare′s works.

Shakespeare Bulletin

Shakespeare Quarterly

Shakespeare Survey

World Shakespeare Bibliography -database of Shakespeare-related scholarship and theatrical productions published or produced worldwide since 1962.

Additional online resources include:

100+ books on Shakespeare
All the World′s a Stage Direction
Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive (A-S-I-A)
British Black and Asian Shakespeare (BBAS)
British History Online
Broadside Ballad Archive

Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespearean Appropriation
British Book Trade Index

Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare

Copia - Cambridge English Renasissance Electronic Service
Cultures of Knowledge

DEEP - Database of Early English Playbooks
Dictionary of Shakespeare′s Classical Mythology
Digital Renaissance Editions
The Early Modern Commons
Early Modern London Theatres
Early Stuart Libels

EMLS: Early Modern Literary Studies; they also provide a detailed list of Renaissance texts available online, and additional resources
English Emblem Book Project
English Short Title Catalog (ESTC)
Experiential Shakespeare
First Line Index
Folger Digital Texts
Folger Luminaray Shakespeare App

Folger Shakespeare Library
Folger images
Henslow-Alleyn Digitisation Project
Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies
Internet Shakespeare Editions
King Lear Quarto vs. Folio variant exercise
Leeds Verse Database
LEME - Lexicons of Early Modern English
Literature Compass: Shakespeare
Lost Plays Database
Map of Early Modern London
Mapping Shakespeare′s London
M.I.T. Shakespeare Project - including the Global Shakespeares video & performance archive and Hamlet on the Ramparts
National Archives
Patrons and Performances
Play Shakespeare
Records of Early English Drama (REED)
Renaissance Society of America
The Richard Brome Project - Dean Michael Leslie is one of the editors
SAA - The Shakespeare Association of America
Scriptorium: Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Online
Shakes-Scenes: William Shakespeare Annotated Bibliography and Filmography
Shakespeare and Dance Project
Shakespeare at Play
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Shakespeare DATABASE Project
Shakespeare on Film, Television, and Radio
Shakespeare′s Globe Theatre in London
Shakespeare Illustrated
The Shakespeare Institute
SHAKSPER (Shakespearean list-serv)
Shakespeare Quartos Archive
The Shakespeare Standard
Shakespeare′s Words
Sh:in:E - Shakespeare in Europe
Six Degrees of Francis Bacon
Small Latine & Lesse Greeke - T. W. Baldwin′s 1944 study
Taiwan Shakespeare Database
Token Books of St. Savior Parish

Touchstone - a tool for Shakespeare research in the United Kingdom
Translation Arrays
Visualizing English in Print

Productions at Rhodes

The Rhodes College Department of Theatre has produced over a dozen Shakespeare plays during its first three decades.

Faculty discuss their approach to producing Shakespeare in a video documentary.

As You Like It—Season 32

Twelfth Night—Season 30

The Taming of the Shrew—Season 28

The Tempest—Season 25

Hamlet—Season 22

Much Ado About Nothing—Season 19

Richard III—Season 17

Romeo and Juliet—Season 15

As You Like It—Season 12

A Midsummer Night′s Dream—Season 10

Cymbeline—Season 9

Two Gentlemen of Verona—Season 8

Twelfth Night—Season 5

Love′s Labour′s Lost—Season 4

The Taming of the Shrew—Season 3

The Tempest—Season 2

Productions Beyond Rhodes

Germantown is home to the Tennessee Shakespeare Company.

Many other local theatres regularly produce Shakespeare’s plays, including: Germantown Community Theatre
 Hattiloo Theatre
 Playhouse on the Square
 Theatre Memphis
 University of Memphis

Additionally, there are a number Shakespeare festivals within driving distance of Memphis:

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre

Birmingham Shakespeare in the Park

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival (Kansas City) 

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival (Louisville)

Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Oxford Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare Festival at Tulane

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

Tennessee Shakespeare Festival


In its first five years, the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment has reached thousands of audience members through the help of dozens of partners.

Rhodes Programs: African American Studies; Art & Art History; Asian Studies; British Studies at Oxford (BSAO); Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts (CODA); English; Environmental Studies & Sciences; Film Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Greek & Roman Studies; History; International Studies; Meeman Center; Mike Curb Institute for Music; Music; Office of Academic Affairs; Political Science; Project for the Study of Liberal Democracy; Religious Studies; Rhodes Singers; Search; Theatre; and the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities.

Memphis Institutions: Brooks Museum of ArtChristian Brothers UniversityGracelandHarding School of TheologyHattiloo TheatreIndie MemphisMarcus W. Orr Center for the HumanitiesMemphis Public Library & Information CenterMemphis Theological SeminaryNational Ornamental Metal MuseumMuseum of Biblical HistoryOpera MemphisSt. George′s Episcopal ChurchTennessee Shakespeare Company; and the University of Memphis.

Regional and National Partners: American Library AssociationFolger Shakespeare LibraryNational Endowment for the HumanitiesNational Humanities AllianceSociety for Comparative Research on Iconic and Performative Texts; and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Media Coverage Chapter 16; Checking on the Arts (WKNO); The Commercial AppealCounterpoint (WUMR and WKNO); The Daily HelmsmanFaith in Memphis; The Memphis Flyer; SHAKSPER: The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference; Talk of the Nation (NPR); Smart City MemphisThe Sou′wester.

About Us

Dr. Iris A. Pearce

Dr. Iris Annette Pearce attended Rhodes College in the 1940s, when it was named Southwestern at Memphis, before graduating from Vanderbilt University. During World War II, she joined the women’s corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve (WAVES). As a medical student, she followed a long-established path in her family, where four generations of physicians preceded her. Yet she was also breaking new ground as a woman: she was one of only two female students in her University of Tennessee class; she served as the first female internal medicine resident at John Gaston Hospital (The Med); and she eventually became the director of the City of Memphis Hospitals while serving as a professor at the University of Tennessee. In recognition of her significant contributions to the health of the community, in 1981 she was named the winner of the L. M. Graves Memorial Health Award. When she died in 2005, Dr. Pearce left a generous bequest to Rhodes to share her lifelong enthusiasm for Shakespeare with future generations.

The late professor of Shakespeare studies at Rhodes, Dr. Cynthia Marshall, played an instrumental role in establishing preliminary planning for this bequest. A revered teacher and scholar, Dr. Marshall won both of Rhodes College′s highest faculty honors, the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Clarence Day Award for Research and Creative Activity. Dr. Marshall was the first of only five Rhodes professors to attain both distinctions. Dr. Marshall was the author of Last Things and Last Plays: Shakespearean Eschatology (Southern Illinois University Press, 1991) and The Shattering of the Self: Violence, Subjectivity, and Early Modern Texts (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), and editor of As You Like It for the "Shakespeare in Production" series (Cambridge University Press, 2004). 

"The Pearce Endowment for Shakespeare Studies gives Rhodes students like myself opportunities unavailable to most undergraduates. The visiting scholars on campus have provided me with expert insight into issues I was addressing in the final research paper for my Shakespeare course; their willingness to personally discuss my project with me was overwhelmingly helpful. With the Pearce Endowment, Rhodes students can look forward to an even more enhanced intellectual education." — Lauren Oxner, ′10