Playfulness in Shakespearean Adaptations  book cover
1st Edition

Playfulness in Shakespearean Adaptations

ISBN 9780367256463
Published June 15, 2020 by Routledge
270 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $170.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Four hundred years after William Shakespeare’s death, his works continue to not only fill playhouses around the world, but also be adapted in various forms for consumption in popular culture, including in film, television, comics and graphic novels, and digital media. Drawing on theories of play and adaptation, Playfulness in Shakespearean Adaptations demonstrates how the practices of Shakespearean adaptations are frequently products of playful, and sometimes irreverent, engagements that allow new ‘Shakespeares’ to emerge, revealing Shakespeare’s ongoing impact in popular culture. Significantly, this collection explores the role of play in the construction of meaning in Shakespearean adaptations—adaptations of both the works of Shakespeare, and of Shakespeare the man—and contributes to the growing scholarly interest in playfulness both past and present. The chapters in Playfulness in Shakespearean Adaptations engage with the diverse ways that play is used in Shakespearean adaptations on stage, screen, and page, examining how these adaptations draw out existing humour in Shakespeare’s works, the ways that play is used as a pedagogical aid to help explain complex language, themes, and emotions found in Shakespeare’s works, and more generally how play and playfulness can make Shakespeare ‘relatable,’ ‘relevant,’ and entertaining for successive generations of audiences and readers.

Table of Contents

1. "Did Shakespeare really write this racy stuff?": Playfulness in Shakespearean Adaptations

Marina Gerzic and Aidan Norrie

Section 1: Page to Stage / Stage to Page

Page to Stage / Stage to Page

Marina Gerzic and Aidan Norrie

2. "This great stage of fools": Anachronisms and Mockery in Three Victorian Burlesques of King Lear

Roberta Grandi

3. "Covering the main points": Playing with The Tempest in Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed

Miranda Fay Thomas

4. "I wish the bastards dead": Adapting Richard III in Children’s Literature

Marina Gerzic

5. Playing with Genre and Form: The "Magic Art" of Graphic Novel Adaptation in Shakespeare

Chelsea L. Horne


6. When Fictions Collide: Shakespearean Inspiration and Adaptation in Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters

Sophie Shorland

Section 2: Practising Shakespeare On Stage and Screen

Practising Shakespeare On Stage and Screen

Marina Gerzic and Aidan Norrie

7. Byte-Size Shakespeare: The Irreverent Play of Shakespeare Republic

Sally McLean

8. An Irreverent richard III redux: [Re]cripping the Crip

Kaite O’Reilly and Phillip Zarrilli


Section 3: Adapting the Man

Adapting the Man

Marina Gerzic and Aidan Norrie

9. Bill Begins: The Rise of the Contemporary Shakespeare ‘Origin Story’

Ronan Hatfull

10. William Shakespeare and Elizabeth I: The Special Relationship?

Aidan Norrie


Section 4: Adapting the Plays

Adapting the Plays

Marina Gerzic and Aidan Norrie


11. Hamlet 2, Shakespeare, and Cruel Optimism

Jennifer Clement

12. Sport, Meritocracy, and Shakespeare

Christian B. Long

13. "What’s in a gnome?": Gender, Intertextuality, and Irreverence in Gnomeo and Juliet

Sonja Kleij

View More



Marina Gerzic works for the ARC Centre for Excellence for the History of Emotions, the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies Inc., and Medieval and Early Modern Studies at The University of Western Australia in both research and administration roles, and is the editorial assistant for the academic journals Parergon and Shakespeare Bulletin. She is the editor, with Aidan Norrie, of From Medievalism to Early-Modernism: Adapting the English Past (Routledge), and has published articles on film and adaptation theory, Shakespeare, pedagogy, cinematic music, cultural studies, science fiction, comics and graphic novels, and children’s literature.

Aidan Norrie is a historian of monarchy, and a Chancellor’s International Scholar in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at The University of Warwick. Aidan is the editor, with Marina Gerzic, of From Medievalism to Early-Modernism: Adapting the English Past (Routledge); with Lisa Hopkins, of Women on the Edge in Early Modern Europe (Amsterdam University Press); and, with Mark Houlahan, of New Directions in Early Modern English Drama: Edges, Spaces, Intersections (Medieval Institute Publications). Aidan is currently working on a monograph, Elizabeth I and the Old Testament: Biblical Analogies and Providential Rule, which is forthcoming from Arc Humanities Press.


"From Victorian burlesque to contemporary graphic novels, this collection provides a range of material for the reader interested in Shakespearean adaptation of drama…the range covered in this collection is extensive. Overall, the collection offers thoughtful and wide-ranging new insights into the concepts of play and irreverence in Shakespearean adaptations for readers old and new."

-- Jennifer E. Nicholson, The University of Sydney, Parergon 38.2 (2021)

Playfulness in Shakespearean Adaptations introduces a range of both mediums and methods of adaptation, many of which have received relatively little critical attention… Overall, the book successfully provides a wide-ranging overview of the role of play and playfulness in adaptations of Shakespeare, giving examples that vary in scope, period, and medium.

-- Anna Quercia-Thomas, The University of Western Australia, Limina: a Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies 27.2 (2022)