I joined the School of English in September 2011 as Teaching Associate, following completion of my PhD at the University of Warwick under Professor Jonathan Bate. From September 2012, I will be taking up a position as Lecturer in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama in the School. I am a Trustee of the British Shakespeare Association, a member of the advisory boards for Digital Renaissance Editions and Apocrypha Redivivus, and the author of several articles and chapters on aspects of Shakespeare's textual and performative history.
You can follow my theatre reviewing activity at The Bardathon review blog and on Twitter at @drpetekirwan .
My primary research interrogates the idea of the 'Shakespeare Apocrypha' and the methodologies used to separate 'authentic' from 'disputed' plays. I am interested in questions of canonicity and cultural value as attached to Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and the mechanisms/assumptions that shape our perceptions of Shakespeare. I'm also interested in dusting off neglected plays and building a broader picture of the early modern theatrical scene. My other main research area is contemporary performance of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. My research interests include:
- Early modern drama and book culture
- Contemporary Shakespearean performance, modern theatre and reviewing theory
- Textual and editorial theory and practice
- Digital scholarship and social media
- Collaborative, anonymous and disputed drama, and authorship studies
- Pedagogy (especially the use of rehearsal/performance techniques)
Prospective PhD students interested in these areas can get in touch using the details above.
Research and publications:
I am currently preparing a monograph entitled Shakespeare and the Idea of Apocrypha and a co-edited collection (with Dr. Christie Carson, Royal Holloway) entitled Shakespeare and the Digital: Redefining Scholarship and Practice for Cambridge University Press. I am also an Associate Editor for the new edition of Collaborative Plays by Shakespeare and Others (Palgrave, 2013), edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen.
Recent and forthcoming articles and book chapters include:
- '"Eke out our performance with your minds": The Impact of the RSC's Complete Works Festival on Audience Expectations and Involvement' in Cahiers Élisabéthains Special Issue (2007), 99-102.
- '"What's past is prologue": Negotiating the Authority of Tense in Reviewing Shakespeare' in Shakespeare 6.3 (2010), 337-42.
- 'The First Collected "Shakespeare Apocrypha"' in Shakespeare Quarterly 62.4 (2011), 594-601.
- 'Canonising the Shakespeare Apocrypha: Shakespeare, Middleton, and Co-Existent Canons' in Literature Compass 9/8 (2012), 538-48.
- 'The Popular Play' in The Elizabethan Top Ten, eds. Andy Kesson and Emma Smith (Ashgate, forthcoming).
- 'Twelfth Night: Environments and Contexts for Learning' in Twelfth Night: A Critical Guide, eds. Alison Findlay and Liz Oakley-Brown (Continuum, forthcoming).
- '"We ring this round with our invoking spells": Magic as Embedded Authorship in The Merry Devil of Edmonton' in Magic and the Occult on the Early Modern English Stage, eds. Helen Ostovich and Lisa Hopkins (Ashgate, forthcoming).
- 'Theobald Restor'd: Double Falsehood at the Union Theatre, Southwark' in The Quest for Cardenio: Shakespeare, Fletcher, and the Lost Play, eds. David Carnegie and Gary Taylor (Oxford, forthcoming).
- 'Apocrypha and Canonical Expansion in the Marketplace: Or, My Shakespeare's Bigger Than Yours' in Philological Quarterly, forthcoming.
- '"From the table of my memory": Blogging Shakespeare in/out of the classroom' in Shakespeare and the Digital, eds. Christie Carson and Peter Kirwan (Cambridge, proposed).
I have also contributed stage histories for nine individual editions in the RSC Shakespeare (ed. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen): Richard II, Coriolanus, The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Pericles, Henry VI, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Troilus and Cressida (2010-2012).
In addition I review books and performances for Shakespeare, Shakespeare Bulletin, Shakespearean Criticism, Early Thaetre, Editionen in der Kritik, Arts Professional, Research Opportunities in Medieval and Renaissance Drama, Cahiers Elisabethains and Law and the Humanities.
In 2011-12 I presented papers or talks at: The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon; Hertford College, University of Oxford; The University of Montpellier; The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon; Queen's University Belfast; Lancaster University; Nottingham Playhouse; The Shakespeare Association of America conference, Boston; Newcastle University; The University of York; Darwin House, London; and Sheffield Hallam University. For details of these and older papers, see my academia.edu page.
Upcoming talks include:
A lecture on The Two Gentlemen of Verona for Nottingham Shakespeare Society, December 2012.
A seminar in the series "Documents of Shakespearean Performance", Institute of English Studies, early 2013.
A seminar paper at The Shakespeare Association of America annual conference, Toronto, March 2013.
A plenary lecture at "Not Shakespeare", Magdalen College, University of Oxford, April 2014.
I am the School Senior Tutor, and my office hours are Monday 4pm-6pm and Tuesday 11am-12noon. Please e-mail for appointments, or just drop in.
In 2012-13 I am teaching the following courses:
I welcome PhD applicants in any area of Shakespeare/ early modern drama studies, particularly those with a focus on theatre history, textual practices, editing or contemporary performance. I also supervise undergraduate and MA dissertation projects in these areas.
I am co-convenor of the MA in Creative and Professional Practice in Arts and Education, recruiting from September 2013. Please do get in touch with queries about this course.
My primary current research is on the plays of the Shakespeare Apocrypha, their cultural and textual history, and the implications for modern notions of the Shakespearean canon. My work combines… read more
KIRWAN, P, 2012. Canonising the Shakespeare Apocrypha: Shakespeare, Middleton, and Co-Existent Canons Literature Compass. 9/8, 538-48
KIRWAN, P., 2011. The first collected "Shakespeare Apocrypha" Shakespeare Quarterly. 62(4), 594-601
KIRWAN, P., 2010. "What's past is prologue": Negotiating the authority of tense in reviewing Shakespeare SHAKESPEARE -TAYLOR AND FRANCIS-. VOL 6(NUMBER 3), 337-342
PETER KIRWAN, 2012. Apocrypha and Canonical Expansion in the Marketplace Philological Quarterly. (In Press.)
My primary current research is on the plays of the Shakespeare Apocrypha, their cultural and textual history, and the implications for modern notions of the Shakespearean canon. My work combines recent work on repertory studies and theories drawn from the new movement in early modern textual studies to consider how authorial identity was formed in the early modern period in relation to printed objects and ephemeral performance. I then explore how subsequent centuries of changing modes of addressing authorship have re-shaped the way we build the Shakespeare canon, coming up to date by critiquing work in authorship studies that has attempted to 'solve' the 'problem' of plays of disputed authorship. This research is feeding into an upcoming monograph as well as a range of articles and book chapters.
The interest in the period of Shakespeare's consolidation leads me increasingly towards the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, and in coming years I anticipate working more closely on Shakespeare's print collaborators in this period of canon consolidation.
Alongside this research, I am working on an edited collection on Shakespeare and the Digital, which aims to capture a moment of transition in Shakespeare studies influenced by the increased negotiation with digital technologies, social media and electronic databases. Reflecting on changing practices and identifying best practice to take forward, the collection will hopefully provoke further informed discussion on where Shakespeare, within the humanities as a whole, is headed in the twenty-first century.
My final major strand of research is on contemporary Shakespearean performances on stage and screen. My reviewing work is summarised at The Bardathon, and I review contemporary performance for a range of journals (especially of apocryphal plays, tying together my work). I am particularly interested in the broader range of Shakespearean appropriations and new writing inspired by Shakespeare, and am currently writing a long paper on Ben Power's A Tender Thing and Paul Griffiths's let me tell you, a play and a book whose words are drawn entirely from small sections of Shakespeare's corpus.