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Emma Smith

Dr Emma Smith's research combines a range of approaches to Shakespeare and early modern drama. She is currently working on the First Folio (1623), a project combining aspects of the history of the book, histories of reading, and the interpretation of Shakespeare on the page. Her next project will be on the construction of character in printed drama. With Tamara Atkin at QMUL, she is working on the way cast lists in printed drama through the sixteenth and seventeenth century can inform our understanding of the experience of seeing, as well as reading, plays. She is part of a team of scholars revising the Riverside Shakespeare under the general editorship of Douglas Bruster. She is also interested in drama in performance, in the methodology of writing about theatre, in reviewing and its rhetoric, and in developing analogies between cinema, film theory, and early modern performance. She is working with Charlotte Brewer on a pilot project on the Oxford English Dictionary and Shakespeare, which they hope will develop into a website and associated publications on the issue of Shakespeare’s linguistic creativity and how it has been recorded. Pedagogy is important to her and she continues to work on readerly editions of early modern texts and on books, articles and lectures which disseminate research to the widest possible audience. A good example is her involvement in the 'Sprint for Shakespeare' project.

Series featuring Emma Smith

# Episode Title Description People Date Media Files
1 Creative Commons 16.To Shakespeare and Beyond: a panel discussion. Cultural Connections discussion panel Casandra Ash, Peter Kirwan, Jose Perez Diaz and Emma Smith. Part of the Digital Humanities @ Oxford Summer School 2013. Cassandra Ash, Peter Kirwan, José Pérez Díez, Emma Smith 07 Aug 2013
  • (241.02 MB)
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2 Creative Commons Why should we study Shakespeare? Dr Emma Smith of Hertford College, Oxford, discusses her current research and proposes why we should still study Shakespeare. Emma Smith, Ilana Lassman 31 Jul 2013
  • (13.84 MB)
3 Creative Commons The Merchant of Venice This lecture on The Merchant of Venice discusses the ways the play's personal relationships are shaped by models of financial transaction, using the casket scenes as a central example. Emma Smith 20 Nov 2012
  • (20.02 MB)
4 Creative Commons Taming of the Shrew Emma Smith uses evidence of early reception and from more recent productions to discuss the question of whether Katherine is tamed at the end of the play. Emma Smith 09 Nov 2012
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5 Creative Commons A Midsummer Night's Dream This lecture on A Midsummer Night's Dream uses modern and early modern understandings of dreams to uncover a play less concerned with marriage and more with sexual desire. Emma Smith 05 Nov 2012
  • (18.73 MB)
6 Creative Commons Much Ado About Nothing Emma Smith asks why the characters are so quick to believe the self-proclaimed villain Don John, drawing on gender and performance criticism to think about male bonding, the genre of comedy, and the impulses of modern performance. Emma Smith 30 Oct 2012
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7 Creative Commons Hamlet The fact that father and son share the same name in Hamlet is used to investigate the play's nostalgia, drawing on biographical criticism and the religious and political history of early modern England. Emma Smith 23 Oct 2012
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8 Creative Commons As You Like It Asking 'what happens in As You Like It', this lecture considers the play's dramatic structure and its ambiguous use of pastoral, drawing on performance history, genre theory, and eco-critical approaches. Emma Smith 23 Oct 2012
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9 Creative Commons King Lear Showing how generations of critics - and Shakespeare himself - have rewritten the ending of King Lear, this sixteenth Approaching Shakespeare lecture engages with the question of tragedy and why it gives pleasure. Emma Smith 22 Feb 2012
  • (21.78 MB)
10 Creative Commons King John At the heart of King John is the death of his rival Arthur: this fifteenth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series looks at the ways history and legitimacy are complicated in this plotline. Emma Smith 10 Feb 2012
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11 Creative Commons Pericles, Prince of Tyre Pericles has been on the margins of the Shakespearean canon: this fourteenth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series shows some of its self-conscious artistry and contemporary popularity. Emma Smith 01 Feb 2012
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12 Creative Commons Richard III In this thirteenth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series the focus is on the inevitability of the ending of Richard III: does the play endorse Richmond's final victory? Emma Smith 25 Jan 2012
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13 Creative Commons The Comedy of Errors Lecture 12 in the Approaching Shakespeare series asks how seriously we can take the farcical exploits of Comedy of Errors, drawing out the play's serious concerns with identity and selfhood. Emma Smith 23 Jan 2012
  • (42.97 MB)
14 Creative Commons Henry IV part 1 Like generations of theatre-goers, this lecture concentrates on the (large) figure of Sir John Falstaff and investigates his role in Henry IV part 1. Lecture 11 in the Approaching Shakespeare series. Emma Smith 16 Nov 2011
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15 Creative Commons The Tempest That the character of Prospero is a Shakespearean self-portrait is a common reading of The Tempest: this tenth Approaching Shakespeare lecture asks whether that is a useful reading of the play. Emma Smith 14 Nov 2011
  • (44.91 MB)
16 Creative Commons Antony and Cleopatra What kind of tragedy is this play, with its two central figures rather than a singular hero? The ninth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series tries to find out. Emma Smith 10 Nov 2011
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17 Creative Commons Richard II Lecture eight in the Approaching Shakespeare series asks the question that structures Richard II: does the play suggest Henry Bolingbroke's overthrow of the king was justified? Emma Smith 01 Nov 2011
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18 Creative Commons Twelfth Night The seventh Approaching Shakespeare lecture takes a minor character in Twelfth Night - Antonio - and uses his presence to open up questions of sexuality, desire and the nature of romantic comedy. Emma Smith 20 Oct 2011
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19 Creative Commons Titus Andronicus Focusing in detail on one particular scene, and on critical responses to it, this sixth Approaching Shakespeare lecture on Titus Andronicus deals with violence, rhetoric, and the nature of dramatic sensationalism. Emma Smith 19 Oct 2011
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20 Creative Commons The Winter's Tale How we can make sense of a play that veers from tragedy to comedy and stretches credulity in its conclusion? That's the topic for this fifth Approaching Shakespeare lecture on The Winter's Tale. Emma Smith 09 Nov 2010
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21 Creative Commons Macbeth In this fourth Approaching Shakespeare lecture the question is one of agency: who or what makes happen the things that happen in Macbeth? Emma Smith 02 Nov 2010
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22 Creative Commons Measure for Measure The third Approaching Shakespeare lecture, on Measure for Measure, focuses on the vexed question of this uncomic comedy's genre. Emma Smith 27 Oct 2010
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23 Creative Commons Henry V The second lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series looks at King Henry V, and asks whether his presentation in the play is entirely positive. Emma Smith 20 Oct 2010
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24 Creative Commons The Bodleian Shakespeare: A treasure lost... and regained From the 2010 Alumni Weekend. Emma Smith reveals how Oxford University mobilised Alumni support to bring Shakespeare's First Folio back to the Bodleian library over 200 years after it was lost. Emma Smith 19 Oct 2010
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25 Creative Commons Othello First in Emma Smith's Approaching Shakespeare lecture series; looking at the central question of race and its significance in the play. Emma Smith 18 Oct 2010
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26 Dr. Emma Smith, Fellow in English, Hertford College Dr. Emma Smith on the UNIQ Summer School programme at the University of Oxford. Emma Smith 21 Jan 2010
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27 Creative Commons The Duchess of Malfi: John Webster In dramatizing a woman's sexual choices in a notably sympathetic manner, this tragedy articulates perennial questions about female autonomy and class distinction. Emma Smith 24 Nov 2009
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28 Creative Commons The Roaring Girl: Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker Based on a contemporary scandal of a woman who dressed in male clothing, this play of topsy-turvy genders has fun with some very modern ideas about sexuality, identity and whether we are what we wear. Emma Smith 13 Nov 2009
  • (44.18 MB)
29 Creative Commons The Revenger's Tragedy: Thomas Middleton A blackly camp tragedy - Hamlet without the narcissism - set in a court corrupted by lust and self-interest, this play is both fascinated and repelled by its own depravity. Emma Smith 06 Nov 2009
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30 Creative Commons The Shoemaker's Holiday: Thomas Dekker Like a Busby Berkeley depression-era musical, Dekker's comedy is a feel-good antidote to a context of shortages, political malaise and general pessimism, but real life in the shape of war, class antagonism and civic tensions, always threatens to intrude. Emma Smith 06 Nov 2009
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31 Creative Commons Arden of Faversham: Anon A true crime story of the murder of Thomas Arden by his wife and her lover, this play is concerned with the politics of the household, with gender roles within marriage, and presents a black comedy of botched murder attempts rather like The Ladykillers. Emma Smith 05 Nov 2009
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32 Creative Commons The Spanish Tragedy: Thomas Kyd Popular tragedy in which Hieronimo pursues aristocratic murderers of his son Horatio and takes revenge. It speaks, like Hollywood Westerns, to questions about private revenge versus public justice, and to the vexed religious questions of its age. Emma Smith 05 Nov 2009
  • (44.95 MB)