Serial Shakespeare

An infinite variety of appropriations in American TV drama

By Elisabeth Bronfen

Serial Shakespeare


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4233-7
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: October 2020
  • BIC Category: Film and Media, Literary studies: plays & playwrights, PERFORMING ARTS / Television / History & Criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism, LITERARY CRITICISM / Shakespeare, Television Scripts & Screenplays, The arts / Films, cinema, Literature & literary studies / Shakespeare studies & criticism
  • Series: Manchester University Press


Shakespeare is everywhere in contemporary media culture. This book explores the reasons for this dissemination and reassemblage. Ranging widely over American TV drama, it discusses the use of citations in Westworld and The Wire, demonstrating how they tap into but also transform Shakespeare's preferred themes and concerns. It then examines the presentation of female presidents in shows such as Commander in Chief and House of Cards, revealing how they are modelled on figures of female sovereignty from his plays. Finally, it analyses the specifically Shakespearean dramaturgy of Deadwood and The Americans. Ultimately, the book brings into focus the way serial TV drama appropriates Shakespeare in order to give voice to the unfinished business of the American cultural imaginary.


Introduction: appropriation, dislocation, and crossmapping
1 Shakespeare's spectres: Westworld
2 Wearing the crown: The Wire
3 Choosing our queen: a series of first female presidents from Commander in Chief to House of Cards
4 Rogue queens: Veep, Homeland, and Scandal
5 All the frontier's a stage: Deadwood
6 Carnival of spies: The Americans


Elisabeth Bronfen is Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Zurich and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University

To purchase as an ebook, please visit your preferred ebook supplier

Amazon Apple Kobo

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout