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Shakespeare’s Stratford

04 November 2009

Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford fills a cultural void left by the loss of religious pilgrimages and other forms of popular devotion, an international scholar and Distinguished Visiting Fellow will argue in a public lecture at the University.

Dr Maurizio Ascari, of the University of Bologna, will give a lecture entitled ‘The God of our idolatry! Pilgrims and heretics at the birthplace of Shakespeare’ on Friday 6 November 2009.

A widely published scholar of international renown, Dr Ascari’s lecture will focus on the significance of Shakespeare’s birthplace and its role as a literary shrine in the construction of the bard as an icon. He will also address literary theories disputing the legitimacy of Shakespeare’s authorship of the texts attributed to him.

In addition, Dr Ascari will explore the attitudes towards Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford as a landmark in British cultural heritage. He will argue that the poet and place remain powerful catalysts of social energies, with the town becoming a sanctified public space to which worshippers make pilgrimage to pay homage to a literary idol.

The lecture was organised by the Cardiff Humanities Research Institute (CHRI) in conjunction with the University’s Crime Narratives in Context network. CHRI encourages research collaborations, knowledge-sharing, intellectual debate and exchange across all areas of academic research. Its mission is to promote and develop the visibility and value of Cardiff Humanities research cultures, environments, people and achievements, to the University, and to national and international audiences.

Professor Geoffrey Samuel, Director of CHRI, said: "Maurizio Ascari is a highly creative scholar with a wide intellectual range and an engaging style. It is a great pleasure to have him here to give CHRI’s second annual lecture, and I hope that the event will be widely attended – I am certain that those who attend will find it both enjoyable and intellectually stimulating."

Dr Ascari’s lecture concludes a two-week visit to the University as CHRI’s first Distinguished Visiting Fellow. During this time he has taken part in a research workshop investigating key themes and debates in world literature; a forum exploring the changing face of the Humanities in European universities; and given a seminar paper on crime narratives.

The lecture starts at 7pm on 6 November and is held in the Ground Floor Lecture Theatre at the School of Optometry. Places for the lecture can be reserved by emailing Lucy Thomas at thomasl22@cardiff.ac.uk

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