Cover of "Shakespeare's Golden Ages" by Kristine Johanson

Shakespeare's Golden Ages: Resisting Nostalgia in Elizabethan Drama

Publisher: Edinburgh Critical Studies in Renaissance Culture, Edinburgh UP, 2022
Role: Author

Diverging from critical paths that have focused on nostalgia as a memorializing practice or on Stuart nostalgia for Elizabeth, this book argues that Shakespeare’s Elizabethan history plays stage nostalgia as a future-focused political rhetoric.

In doing so, the book suggests new directions for studying nostalgia. Case studies including Richard II and Julius Caesar demonstrate how Shakespeare creates a dramatic argument for nostalgia’s power and possibility, even as he represents the fruitlessness of trying to reclaim the past and the fiction of that past’s ideal nature. In his dramaturgy, nostalgia functions as a persuasive call for (short-lived) political change. The book provides new interpretations of Shakespeare’s contemporaries to illustrate how his use of nostalgia depends on, innovates from and influences his fellow playwrights. By reading literary, religious and political texts alongside Shakespeare’s histories, this book attends additionally to the extra-dramatic valences nostalgic rhetoric obtains in Elizabethan England.

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Cover of "de Nederlandse Boekengids" ("The Dutch Review of Books")

Lezen zonder lezingen

De Nederlandse Boekengids, volume 6 issue 3

Publisher: Merlijn Olnon Publicis & Stichting De Nederlandse Boekengids, 2021
Role: Reviewer

A review essay of Bas Belleman’s Shakespeares Sonnetten, which finds much to praise in his translation – and finds some questionable choices, too.

Considering the 160-year-old tradition of translating Shakespeare in the Netherlands, it is hardly a given that a new translation will offer with it a new approach or perspective. Bas Belleman, however, does just that.

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Cover of "Staged Normality in Shakespeare's England"

Regulating Time and the Self in Shakespearean Drama

In R. Loughnane and E. Semple (Eds.), “Staged Normality in Shakespeare’s England”

Publisher: Palgrave, 2019
Role: Essayist

This essay explores the pre-modern idea that time is individual and, looking at a range of Shakespeare’s plays, argues that his drama participates in constructing the same temporal norms it questions, thus resisting the ‘totalizing individuality of time’.

This edited collection looks at the staging and performance of normality in early modern drama. Analysing conventions and rules, habitual practices, common things and objects, and mundane sights and experiences, this volume foregrounds a staged normality that has been heretofore unseen, ignored, or taken for granted. It draws together leading and emerging scholars of early modern theatre and culture to debate the meaning of normality in an early modern context and to discuss how it might transfer to the stage. In doing so, these original critical essays unsettle and challenge scholarly assumptions about how normality is represented in the performance space. The volume, which responds to studies of the everyday and the material turn in cultural history, as well as to broader philosophical engagements with the idea of normality and its opposites, brings to light the essential role that normality plays in the composition and performance of early modern drama. Writing in Renaissance Quarterly, Iman Sheeha states that ‘the collection is an excellent addition to the existing scholarly literature on early modern drama and will, no doubt, open avenues for fresh interpretations of plays not examined here from similar and complementary perspectives.’

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Cover of "The Sonnets, The State of Play"

‘Our brains beguiled’: Ecclesiastes and Sonnet 59’s Poetics of Temporal Instability

In H. Crawforth , E. Scott-Baumann, & C. Whitehead (Eds.), “The Sonnets: The State of Play”

Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2017
Role: Essayist

Here, I demonstrate how Sonnet 59’s temporal discontinuities undermine any secure comprehension of time that the sonnets might suggest elsewhere to readers. In her positive review of the collection in the Times Literary Supplement, Katharine Craik writes that my essay is one that ‘find[s] new ways to illuminate Shakespeare’s own historical moment’ […] Kristine Johanson shows how [the Sonnets] draw from Ecclesiastes in order to explore the desirability (and impossibility) of returning to the past’, TLS, 30 January 2018.

Scott F. Crider in The Review of English Studies describes the collection’s essays as ‘intelligent, original and well written’. Reflecting on the readings in the collection’s first section, he writes that ‘it is Johanson’s essay that promises a new direction […] Johanson offers a fascinating reading of [Sonnet] 59’.

All the essays offer new perspectives and combine to give readers an up-to-date understanding of what is exciting and challenging about Shakespeare’s Sonnets. The approach, based on an individual poetic form, reflects how the sonnets are most commonly studied and taught.

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Cover of Parergon magazine

Approaches to Early Modern Nostalgia

Parergon, Special Issue 33:2

Publisher: Parergon, 2016
Role: Editor

With contributions from an international group of early modern literary scholars, this special issue of Parergon explores and historicizes early modern England’s understandings of what we now name nostalgia.

This issue includes my editorial “On the Possibility of Early Modern Nostalgias” (pp. 1-15) and my essay, “In the Mean Season: Richard II and the Nostalgic Politics of Hospitality” (pp. 57-78).

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Cover of "Shakespeare Adaptations from the Early Eighteenth Century"

Shakespeare Adaptations from the Early Eighteenth Century: Five Plays

Publisher: Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2014
Role: Editor

This book presents a scholarly edition of five of the first adaptations of Shakespeare from the eighteenth century, the period when Shakespeare became “Shakespeare.”

Written by men influential in early Augustan cultural spheres, these adaptations demonstrate how contemporary literary principles and contemporary politics were applied to Shakespeare’s texts.

Writing in The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer (2015), Matthew J. Rinkevich positively reviews the edition. ‘As an editor, Johanson proves informative, clear, and—when turning to the plays themselves—laudably unobtrusive […] she provides a far-reaching examination of the English stage and its relationship to the nation’s political and cultural life during the early Hanoverian period, and she constructs an excellent resource for those unfamiliar with the dramatic history of the early eighteenth century.’ Mark Fortier notes in his review, ‘Ms. Johanson is a judicious commentator, and her general introduction and introductions to the particular plays are helpful. Shakespeare Adaptations would make for a fine textbook’.

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