Reading the Past, Understanding the Present offers an original approach towards interpreting the plays by William Shakespeare in the context of various crises and social phenomena occurring in the present world. The articles collected in this volume introduce a multidisciplinary study of the cultural, political, and economic functions of early modern theatre and its significance in shaping the tenets of today’s societies. Through the individual analyses of Shakespearean drama, from The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet to the history plays, the authors, young scholars from different European countries, establish the continued relevance of the literature of the past, especially its depiction of conflicts and social tensions. Examining such cultural phenomena as the migrant crisis, identity crisis, nationalism, religious and racial diversity, social alienation, censorship and ideological manipulation in their literary and historical contexts sheds a new light on the current developments, allowing a deeper understanding and the possibility of finding innovative solutions to the problems faced by the contemporary world. The essays
presented in this collection are the result of a three-year-long Erasmus Plus Strategic Partnership of nine European universities, whose students participated in a number of seminars and workshops to share their research and experiences, proving the value of international cooperation in discussing geopolitical concerns. As expressed in the title of this unique book, understanding the crises of the past helps to recognise the complexity of the twenty-first-century reality
Agnieszka Romanowska teaches history of English literature and culture at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Her main field of research is literary and theatrical reception of Shakespeare in Poland and literary translation.
Agnieszka Orszulak studies English literature at the Institute of English Studies and translation at the Chair for Translation Studies and Intercultural Communication at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Her academic interests include early modern English literature, contemporary historical fiction, and literary translation.