Shakespeare and the supernatural

Edited by Victoria Bladen and Yan Brailowsky

Shakespeare and the supernatural


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  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0906-4
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: January 2020
  • BIC Category: Early Modern Literature, Literature, Literary studies: plays & playwrights, Biography, Literature & Literary studies, LITERARY CRITICISM / Drama, LITERARY CRITICISM / Shakespeare, Unexplained Phenomena / The Paranormal, Literature & literary studies / Shakespeare studies & criticism, Literature & literary studies / General
  • Series: Manchester University Press


Supernatural elements are of central significance in many of Shakespeare's plays, contributing to their dramatic power and intrigue. Ghosts haunt political spaces and internal psyches, witches foresee the future and disturb the present, fairies meddle with love and a magus conjures a tempest from the elements. Although written and performed for early modern audiences, for whom the supernatural, whether sacred, demonic or folkloric, was part of the fabric of everyday life, the supernatural in Shakespeare continues to enthrall audiences and readers, and maintains its power to raise a range of questions in contemporary contexts.

This edited collection of twelve essays from an international range of contemporary Shakespeare scholars explores the supernatural in Shakespeare from a variety of perspectives and approaches, generating new knowledge and presenting hitherto unexplored avenues of enquiry across the Shakespearean canon.


Introduction: Shakespeare and the supernatural - Victoria Bladen and Yan Brailowsky

Part I: Embodying the supernatural
1 Shakespeare's political spectres - Victoria Bladen
2 'Rudely stamped': supernatural generation and the limits of power in Shakespeare's Richard III - Chelsea Phillips
3 Digital puppetry and the supernatural: double Ariel in the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Tempest (2017) - Anchuli Felicia King

Part II: Haunted spaces
4 Demons and puns: Revisiting the 'cellarage scene' in Hamlet - Pierre Kapitaniak
5 Performing the Shakespearean supernatural in Avignon: a challenge to the Festival - Florence March

Part III: Supernatural utterance and haunted texts
6 Prophecy and the supernatural: Shakespeare's challenges to performativity - Yan Brailowsky
7 Puck, Philostrate and the locus of A Midsummer Night's Dream's topical allegory - Laurie Johnson
8 'Strange intelligence': Transformations of witchcraft in Macbeth discourse - William C. Carroll

Part IV: Magic, music and gender
9 Music and magic in The Tempest: Ariel's alchemical songs - Natalie Roulon
10 From Prospero to Prospera: transforming gender and magic on stage and screen - Katharine Goodland

Part V: Contemporary transformations
11 'I'll put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes': representing the supernatural in film adaptations of A Midsummer Night's Dream - Gayle Allan
12 Ophelia and her magical daughters: the afterlives of Ophelia in Japanese pop culture - Yukari Yoshihara


Victoria Bladen teaches in literary studies and adaptation at The University of Queensland, Australia

Yan Brailowsky is Senior Lecturer in early modern British history and literature at the University of Paris Nanterre

Shakespeare and the supernatural

Edited by Victoria Bladen, Yan Brailowsky

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

Paperback £16.99 / $24.95

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