University of Hertfordshire

Remembrance of Things Past: Shakespeare 1851, 1951, 2012

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Graham Holderness
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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCelebrating Shakespeare: commemoration and cultural memory
EditorsClara Calvo, Coppelia Kahn
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)978-1-107-04277-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


This chapter examines the re-contextualisation of Shakespeare in three major festival celebrations of British culture: the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Festival of Britain 1951, and the London Olympics of 2012. In all three we find Shakespeare repositioned in relation to the disciplines of engineering, design and technology. Three case studies explore how Shakespeare is simultaneously celebrated as a cornerstone of British culture, and brought into intimate relation with the scientific and technological priories of the festivals. These re-contextualizations also bring Shakespeare into connection with some key themes of contemporary Shakespeare studies, including internationalism and popular participation.


Graham Holderness, ‘Remembrance of Things Past: Shakespeare 1851, 1951, 2012’, in Clara Calvo, Coppelia Kahn, eds., Celebrating Shakespeare: commemoration and cultural memory, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), ISBN 978-1-107-04277-3.

ID: 8511086