Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham
This project, developed in discussion with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Head of Research, Dr Paul Edmondson, focuses on underexamined sub-genres of Shakespearean biography-making. It asks how assemblage — of artefacts, spaces and documents – functions in shaping and reshaping Shakespeare’s life story. Centring on the SBT’s five Stratford sites and underexamined SBT archives, while building an oral history archive of guides’, visitors’ and curators’ engagement with the spaces, my research encompasses ‘off-the page’ life-writing, adopting Julie Sanders’s stance that Shakespeare walks, for example, can be seen as “part of the wider field of biographical ‘writings’ on Shakespeare”. The project has potential widespread application to the study of the cultural production of off-the-page life-writing. It is underpinned by a confirmed partnership with the SBT, offering access to untapped archives in Stratford-upon-Avon, while allowing me to anchor theory in the SBT’s, Stratford-upon-Avon’s, and Warwickshire’s, physical curated spaces. My project will apply spatial theory (e.g. Gaston Bachelard, Henri Lefebvre, Gilles Deleuze) to key sites and will attempt to provide an original theoretical framework, based on Manuel DeLanda’s Assemblage Theory, in order to ask how fresh biographical formulations of Shakespeare’s life continue to arise.