Ripeness is all  | Discoursing Shakespeare and the Politics of Cultural Gerontology

International Conference organised by the Department of English, Bankura University in collaboration with ICSSR, New Delhi and British Council Kolkata

7-8 November, 2016

Concept Note

In view of the four hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (1616-2016), it is felt that organising a national conference on Shakespeare is essentially pertinent. Despite the apparent exhaustion of critical thoughts on Shakespeare, a distinctively new area can be identified in the context of Shakespeare studies. Shakespeare has been interrogated from the standpoint of stage practice (Andrew Gurr’s The Shakespearean Stage 1574-1642), adaptations and creative rewritings of his plays (Margaret Jane Kidnie’s Shakespeare and the Problem of Adaptations, Russell Jackson’s Shakespeare Films in the Making), embeddness of Shakespeare in distinctive philosophical schools of thought (Stanley Stewart’s Shakespeare and Philosophy), Shakespeare studies in terms of literary artifice (Helen Vendler’s The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, G.T.Wright’s Shakespeare’s Metrical Art), it is possible to negotiate Shakespeare in relation to cultural gerontology.
Gerontology is a significant sociopolitical problem that engages scholars in disseminating multifaceted critical analysis of aging. Though gerontology as a distinctive discipline seems to be inextricably related to the domain of sociopolitical analysis, literary theoreticians are keen on envisaging cultural parameters of aging.
Cultural configurations of aging in Early Modern England necessitate a nuanced understanding of the dialogue among aging Queen Elizabeth’s “politics of longevity”, intergenerational politics of late Tudor England and the combative self-awareness of an aging subject. Elizabeth’s negotiations with aging (as reflected in her desire to refashion/ invent her own image) to combat the cultural anxieties of aging “excited some of the period’s most creative literary talents to a vigorous rethinking of the way we as individuals experience and regard our own aging bodies” (Martin,28). Pastoral literature of Early Modern England could be mapped as a potential site of contestations and negotiations, where elderly shepherds selfconsciously challenge and combat the cultural stereotyping of aging to maintain their subjectivity. The gerontological imagination of that era takes issue with the complex pattern of negotiations between the culturally “constituted” beliefs and a growing sense of an individual’s “constitution”. Critics like Nina Tauton (Fictions of Old Age in Early Modern Literature), Anthony Ellis (Old Age, Masculinity, and Early Modern Drama), and Maurice Charney (Wrinkled Deep in Time: Aging in Shakespeare) have dealt with the issues of aging and its cultural and material contexts in Early Modern Literature, especially drama. “It seems to me” observes Maurice Charney “that Shakespeare was preoccupied with issues of aging that must have an acute relation to his own sense of growing old”. In fact Shakespeare’s plays are too full of old men: the wise old man Polonius in Hamlet, the comic buffoonery of an old man like John Falstaff in Henry IV, the irascible sublimity of an old king like Lear, the magic making wonders of an old man like Prospero, or even the Senior Duke in As You Like It are some of the glaring examples who can be discussed and interpreted in terms of cultural gerontology.

The conference will address, but not limited to, the following issues:
 Transcultural Rewriting and Aging
 Reinventing Aging: Subjectivism and Shakespeare
 Gerontology as a Cultural Genre: Early Modern Era and Shakespeare
 Anxiety, Agony and Denouement: Revisiting Shakespeare
 Shapes of Lateness: Aging and the Last Plays of Shakespeare
 Construction of Aging and Shakespeare
 Land, Inheritance and Possession: Shakespeare Studies
 Kingship, Aging and Shakespeare: Sir John Falstaff and Prince Hal
 Grief, Insanity and Dementia: Study of Aged Kings in Shakespeare
 Anxiety of Aging and Immortality: Remapping Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Please send your abstracts (not exceeding 250 words) by email to / with “Shakespeare conference submission” in the subject line by 15 September, 2016.
Key Dates
Last date for submission of Abstract : 15/09/2016
Notification of Acceptance : 30/09/2016
Conference Date : 7-8 November, 2016.
Registration Fees
For Paper Presenters : Rs. 600/For
Attending the Conference : Rs. 400/Accommodation:
Though it is not possible to provide accommodation, the conference team will help arranging suitable accommodation on the basis of prior information by 30th September. Please contact /
Travelling Allowance: No TA/DA would be provided to the delegates.
Conference Venue: Department of English, Bankura University, New Campus (beside NH60), P.O. Purandarpur, Dist: Bankura, 722155, West Bengal, India.

How to Reach
The nearest railway station is Bankura, which can be reached from Howrah by Rupasi
Bangla Express, Aranyak Express, Purulia Express. Delegates may avail auto rickshaw, bus service and private taxi service from Bankura station to reach the university. Moreover, three bus services especially designated for Bankura University ply through the town via Bankura Station. Alternatively regular train service from Howrah to Durgapur is available. From Durgapur one can avail a bus service to reach Bankura.

All accepted papers of this conference will be published by CAMBRIDGE SCHOLARS.

E mail ID: /
Facebook: Facebook page of Department of English, Bankura University.
For further queries, please contact Mr. Sukhendu Das at 9832850405/8436435235
Mr. NirupamHazra 9477405073