The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought, Goldsmiths University of London

Research Centre run jointly between the Departments of Sociology and English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths University, London

Walter Benjamin and Shakespeare: A Conference (WBLRN / Warburg Institute; 28-29 Nov 2018)

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Walter Benjamin and Shakespeare

A Conference co-hosted by the Walter Benjamin London Research Network, Kingston University, and The Warburg Institute

Date: 28 November 2018, 4:00pm – 29 November 2018, 5:00pm

Venue: Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, London WC1E 7HU

One of the key figures in Walter Benjamin’s Origin of the German Mourning Play is Hamlet; for Benjamin as for Schmitt and Agamben, Shakespeare’s tragedy is emblematic of a political theology as distinctive for the 17th century as for its latter day reception in the 20th century. There are, however, repeated references to Shakespeare throughout Benjamin’s writings. While a central part of the workshop will focus on Hamlet, the Baroque and Benjamin’s theory of the mourning play, the workshop will also seek to offer analyses of the constancy of reference to Shakespeare, both tragic and comic, in translation and in stagecraft. The workshop will open with a discussion of the new Italian translation of Benjamin’s Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels, presented by the translators Alice Barale and Fabrizio Desideri.

Speakers: Alice Barale, Fabrizio Desideri, Julia Reinhard Lupton, Freddie Rokem, Howard Caygill, Julia Ng, Andrew Benjamin, and Björn Quiring.



Wednesday 28 November

3:30-4:00 Registration

4:00-4:10 Welcome: Bill Sherman (Director, Warburg Institute)

4:10-5:15 Translating Walter Benjamin’s Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels: Alice Barale (Firenze), Fabrizio Desideri (Firenze)

(Chair: Andrew Benjamin, Kingston)

5:30-7:00 Julia Reinhard Lupton (Irvine) — Creature Caliban Revisited: Shakespeare, Benjamin, and the Idea of Post-Tragic Form

(Chair: Julia Ng, Goldsmiths)


Thursday 29 November

9:00-9:30 Registration

9:30-10:45 Freddie Rokem (Tel Aviv) — “But a storm is blowing from Paradise”/”Aber ein Sturm weht vom Paradiese her”: Walter Benjamin and The Tempest

(Chair: Andrew Benjamin, Kingston)

10:45-11:00 Refreshment Break

11:00-11:45 Howard Caygill (Kingston) — Benjamin, Kraus and the Sonnet Form

11:45-12:30 Julia Ng (Goldsmiths) — As You Like It: Benjamin’s Comic Infinite

(Chair: Frederika Tevebring, Warburg Institute)

12:30-1:30 Lunch Break

1:30-2:15 Björn Quiring (Trinity College Dublin) — Hamlet’s Pregnant Silence

2:15-3:00 Fabrizio Desideri (Firenze) — Out of Joint. Hamlet and the End of the Trauerspiel

(Chair: Christopher Law, Goldsmiths)

3:00-3:15 Refreshment Break

3:15-4:00 Concluding Roundtable (Chair: Andrew Benjamin, Kingston)

4:00-5:00 Drinks Reception


Free and open to all. For booking please visit the event page at The Warburg Institute.


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