Shakespeare’s Tercentenary

Tuesday 27th February | 6:00 pm

LIVE Lit & Phil Event | FREE


Image: Sourced from UnSplashed. Bust of William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Dr Monika Smialkowska
Senior Lecturer in English Literature, Northumbria University.

Commemorating the Shakespeare Tercentenary in 1916

In 1916, the worldwide commemorations of the three-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death coincided with the global upheaval of the First World War. As empires battled for world domination and nations sought self-determination, various communities claimed Shakespeare as their own, using him to underpin their sense of collective identity and cohesion.

This talk examines Tercentenary tributes from Germany, the British Empire, and the USA. It showcases the fascinating diversity of their authors’ approaches, ranging from ultra-patriotic and militant to universalising and pacifist. It demonstrates that the 1916 Shakespeare commemorators did not speak with one unified voice, but rather engaged in a dialogue in which a range of positions and identities – local, national, imperial, and global – combined and clashed. Shakespeare provided a starting point and a shared language in which that dialogue was conducted.


(If you would prefer to book directly over the phone, please call the Library Desk team on 0191 232 0192 and they will be happy to help)

Bust of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), 1760.
Sculptor: John Michael Rysbrack.
Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash