Shakespeare's Digital Flow: Humans, Technologies and the Possibilities of Intercultural Exchange

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Author: Stephen O'Neill
Date: Annual 2018
From: Shakespeare Studies(Vol. 46)
Publisher: Associated University Presses
Document Type: Essay
Length: 4,919 words
Lexile Measure: 1570L

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You flow to great distraction

--Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida (1)

The research, and the life, problem is to recognize the system that is being enabled by the flows in which we participate, or are being enticed to participate.

--Sandra Braman, "Flow" (2)

Shakespeare is no longer fully human. He or "it," as an assemblage of texts, is now part of the information flow that characterizes the digital age. To some readers, this will sound like a deliberate provocation, not least because Shakespeare has traditionally served as a touchstone of humanity. The word "human" is mentioned 33 times in the works themselves; its antonym, "inhuman," 8 times, nearly always as a pejorative, denoting savagery, uncivility, or aberrant behavior. (3) Although "nonhuman" is not mentioned, as a consequence of digital technologies it is increasingly part of the Shakespeare one experiences. Shakespeare studies has responded to this, extending its media studies turn to encompass algorithms and search engines--these too, recent work has emphasized, are among the users of Shakespeare. (4) Indeed, such non-human users may even be placed on a par with human users, and regarded as agential because they do not merely transmit Shakespeare but transfigure it, shaping where and how readers, viewers, or users encounter and interact with the texts. These new realities require anyone invested in Shakespeare to ask anew, what is the human dimension of Shakespeare in and for the twenty-first century? And, following

Sandra Braman, it is equally important to think critically about Shakespeare as part of a digital information flow, and to explore the values that are being iterated through Shakespeare within these setting. Concepts of digital flow are indebted to the work of Raymond Williams, alert as always to the connections between meaning, medium, and the values of a specific culture. His theorization of the experience of watching television as flow, as a planned sequencing of mixed content, from programmes themselves to commercials and continuity announcements, suggests a pre-history to digital flow. (5) But the digital signals hitherto unknown information speed and traffic, and in turn a surfeit of Shakespeares.

The numbers mentioned above are themselves an example of non-human operations; they are derived from a search on Open Source Shakespeare, one of many digital resources that have rendered Shakespeare's language interoperable. (6) There is, of course, human action and agency at work here, from the individual(s) who created the computational software (and who continue to refine it) to the human user, such as myself, who inputs a search query. But the nonhuman actor in the dynamic is crucial, in ways that we-the end or human users--cannot fully see. As Eric Johnson, who designed OSS, explains, when a user inputs a search, the OSS's play viewer queries the database and then converts the raw data into a human readable format; it is, he elaborates, "an act of assembly and interpretation, not mere presentation of preformatted texts." (7) In other words, the text is not there--it is not some ghost behind the interface--but rather something that is computationally generated each time. There is human input but the information that flows is machine-produced. This is true also of digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, platforms that have become part of our quotidian (online) lives, where algorithms operate in the background and do so in ways that exceed the capacities of the human brain.

In the digital age, however, Shakespeare can also seem very human, and even present. On Twitter, one can follow and tweet to @Shakespeare. (8) He jokes about being trolled by bots, or automated profiles: "Alas, the porn bots are seeking mine attention again. I am dead, and if I wanted to date someone imaginary I could do much better." (9) Or tweets, "How did I invent the human, you ask?" (10) Other digital platforms offer their expressions of the human Shakespeare, or a Shakespeare reincarnated. On the YouTube channel Mr Shakespeare Reads, an actor, dressed as the historic William Shake speare, recites the Sonnets. (11) Such phenomena are digital iterations of Shakespeare's uncanny temporality, or the textual assemblage that is Shakespeare's status as the living-dead, a machine-like thing that keeps going on and on. (12) They are also examples of what Danielle Rosvally calls Shakespeare's digital ghost, "a construct of Shakespeare created via digital platforms by modern curators and the users that interact with them." (13) Readily found on social media platforms, should we choose to seek them out, these Shakespeare revenants instance the workings of "a massive Shakespeare network, one that crosses boundaries of culture, time, and space." (14) As a series of networked digital objects, Shakespeare becomes a set of things that flow transnationally, and on a scale hitherto impossible. There is a sense, too, of a digital utopia, as human knowledge and human-generated content is spread, exchanged, appropriated, or revised. These are some of the watchwords of digital participatory cultures: user-generation and repurposing of content; the spread-ability of information from one platform or medium to another.

Flow has also become a generic term in a digital context, denoting another facet of a digital utopia, where a superabundance of information moves with ease and speed. But the surfeit of information means that, as a concept, flow is paradoxical; we cannot possibly keep track of all the content available. Moreover, we know that networks are not equal, that the information flow--and who gets access and from where--is subject to social, economic, and cultural factors. This is also true of Shakespeare(s), with its "glocal" iterations implying a sense of transcultural appeal, or the capacity to speak for and from traditionally empowered and disempowered localities alike and, at the same time, carrying the imprint of structural inequities.

Storify Shakespeare

How do we respond to this paradox, and what does it mean for Shakespeare as a value? One response to the flow problem is to exist in an information bubble, to only notice what confirms one's sensibilities or politics. Digital platforms and technologies themselves instance another response: they signal an attempt and desire to put shape on the unbounded nature of the information age. Social media networks such as Facebook funnel the surfeit of con tent online into feeds or user preferences. Other platforms like Pinterest enable users to personally curate their own tastes online, by pinning images and stories into a digital collage. Storify, another example of a user-curation platform, expressly advertises itself to users as a way to narrate--and to narrowcast--online content: "Storify lets you curate social networks to build social stories, bringing together media scattered across the Web into a coherent narrative." (15) Inviting users to participate socially and to produce a narrative from existing content, Storify exemplifies many of the hallmarks of digital participatory cultures already noted. It further exemplifies how there is a nonhuman actor, the technology that Storify operates on and that makes the platform easy to use, at work in the exchange of human knowledge.

In what follows, I employ Storify as a platform to construct a narrative about Shakespeare and cultural exchange in a digital context. This act of digital curation is a form of narrowcasting and, as such, is a particular response to the flow problem mentioned above. That is, I begin with an acknowledgement of the surfeit of information and use the Storify app to produce a case study, putting into practice a digital narrative that a platform like Storify enables. The act of digital curation is also an acknowledgement that our contemporary Shakespeares are both human- and nonhuman-actioned; that is, they are a function of human processes of selection, of preference, but equally a function of digital computerized technologies and platforms that enable search, connection, content exchange and so on. The case study, about how one speech from Sir Thomas More, the play in which Shakespeare had a hand, is remediated online, provides for a close encounter with Shakespeare as a token or conduit of intercultural exchange and, at the same time, instance the difficulties that inhere in this very encounter, or the desire for it.

For the reader, the Storify page, "'The Strangers' Case': Sir Thomas More, Social Media and the Refugee Crisis," https://storify .com/mediaShakes/the-stranger-s-case-sir-thomas-more-social-me dia-a, can be a beginning, or a companion to the more traditional narrative format that this essay takes. (16) It amounts to a digital archive of appropriated Shakespeare, as well as a demonstration of how Shakespeare operates as a metalanguage in contemporary culture, but the content extracted from the information flow is invariably selective and subjective.

"The Strangers' Case"

Sir Thomas More, a play that presents us with a conception of Shakespearean authorship as less singular than collaborative, is back in the news. Or rather, a particular moment in the play, its dramatization of the May Day riots, resonates presently. This is scene 6, attributed to Shakespeare, where More, seeking to calm those rioting Londoners whose discontent is directed at foreigners or "strangers" in the city, articulates the "strangers' case." The citizens and apprentices blame the strangers for their social and economic disadvantage: "Our country is a great eating country," says Lincoln, "argo they eat more in our country than they do in their own." (17) These all-consuming non-English, as Lincoln would have it, are regarded as introducing foreign foods into the English diet-"They bring in strange roots, which is merely to the undoing of poor prentices" (6.11-12)--but also implanting themselves in English soil. As the apprentices look for the removal of the strangers (6.80-81), it is More who calls out their xenophobia, and reminds them that they too could face banishment. What if the king were to banish you, asks More of the aggrieved Londoners:

      whither would you go?
   What country, by the nature of your error,
   Should give you harbour? Go you to France, or Flanders,
   To any German province, Spain or Portugal,
   Nay, anywhere that not adheres to England:
   Why, you must needs be strangers. Would you be pleased
   To find a nation of such barbarous temper
   That, breaking out in hideous violence,
   Would not afford you an abode on earth,
   Whet their detested knives against your throats,
   Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
   Owed not nor made not you, nor that the elements
   Were not all appropriate to your comforts
   But chartered unto them? What would you think
   To be thus used? This is the strangers' case,
   And this your mountainish inhumanity.

John Jowett, editor of the play in the Arden Shakespeare series, notes how "the play here offers a potential source of topicality," one that modern theatre directors have responded to but not with out some difficult negotiation. (18) Gregory Doran's 1981 production referenced urban unrest and racial divisions in Britain at the time. As Jowett cautions, the scene may not readily map on to contemporary cultural politics. And the scene betrays the imprint of early modern dramatic censorship, with More urging the apprentices to submit to the King's authority (lines 161-65) and bow to his divine right. (19) Yet, in recent years, the scene has come to be associated in news coverage and on digital media platforms with those peoples seeking refuge in Europe from such countries as Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. "We live in disturbed times," as Alexander Betts and Paul Collier put it in Refuge, "there are more people displaced than at any time since the Second World War." (20) In moving from a 1590s play in which Shakespeare had a hand to the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, one inevitably risks false or simplistic historical and cultural parallels. This is not my point. Rather, I am interested in how the scene is mobilized topically, and what this might reveal about Shakespeare's value--or indeed failure--as a token of intercultural exchange for our present times.

More's speech, although using the language of "strangers," has an affective resonance with the plight of those individuals now seeking refuge. That word is worth pausing on because it gives meaning to labels like "refugees" that can all too quickly collapse into other labels, such as migrants. "Refuge," as Betts and Collier explain, "entails the principle that when people face serious harm at home, they should be allowed to flee and receive access to a safe haven, at least until they can go home or be permanently reintegrated elsewhere." (21) More's words, in appealing to his audience's sense of humanity, evoke empathy for the plight of refugees. The speech also prompts one to consider the roles of viewer and viewed. It confronts the viewer with his / her own sense of complicity as a spectator, and asks us to think about who gets to define themselves as a citizen, while others, seeking refuge, find themselves designated as refugees. Or, to put that another way, who get to call themselves citizens of Europe and who do not, or at least not yet? But this is the brilliance of the speech. It forces its listener to recognize that transposed to another place, citizens can easily become strangers. This is More's humanity, as well as his commitment to the rule of law, but the reception of the speech reveals larger cultural forces in play, as it becomes distinctly Shakespearean in its humanity; indeed, "Shakespeare" and "Shakespearean" function as synonyms for the human.

Using Storify allows one to establish a timeline that traces when, where and how the speech emerges as a topical text. That "the strangers' case" gains momentum can largely be attributed to Ian McKellen, who first played More in the Nottingham Playhouse production in 1964, but went on to include the speech in his one-man shows, Acting Shakespeare (1982) and A Knight Out (1994). (22) However, I am particularly interested here in McKellen's more recent recitations and how these, circulating online as new stories, tweets, hyperlinks and tags, acquire an association with the refugee crisis and discourses about migrants. There is the Savannah Film Festival in 2010, where the actor gives a seemingly impromptu performance to a group of students. (23) In 2013, McKellen recites the speech at the launch of a book, The People Speak: Voices that Changed Britain, in which the lines from the play are included. McKellen prefaces his recitation by talking about Shakespeare's "plea for humanity." (24) This recitation, like his later ones at the Oxford Union in 2014, predate the European refugee crisis, which official timelines place as beginning in late 2015 (though this is not to suggest that such a complex issue as migration conforms to a neat timeline). (25) Indeed, McKellen initially uses the speech to address, in quite subjective terms, homophobia and homophobic violence but this narrative invoking a context of violence against an identifiable other is transposed onto and repurposed for another reception context, namely the refugee crisis. Structural analogies are thus implied between McKellen's experiences as a gay man and those of refugees. As posted online, specifically on YouTube, the reception context of McKellen's performances is not fixed in time or place. As an embodied performance before a live audience, the recitation took place in a fixed location and time; as a url, however, it can be shared, reposted, repurposed. Such are our digital Shakespeares.

Comments on YouTube suggest shifting reception contexts; for instance, one viewer posts: "Can someone send this to Trump and see that he sees this?" A video first posted in 2013 takes on a topical application, here directed at the anti-migrant rhetoric of the then U.S. presidential candidate. Other viewers, expressing how affecting the lines are, desire a wider audience for them:

   Uploaded 3 years ago and still so few views! One of the few times
   Shakespeare's words have taken a direct hit on my heart and left me
   trembling (OK, maybe I'm just a dullard). Partly because he has
   made it so relevant, but majorly because of his stunning delivery.
   Will share this via FB and Twitter, etc., it ought to go viral!

This registers a desire for human input into digital flow, for sharing affect, an emotion, and a politics too. The speech, as the Storify page demonstrates, has travelled quite extensively. In 2011, Change Media and the Bell Shakespeare Company in Australia workshopped the speech with a group of "new arrivals to Australia." (26) The resulting short film, which features a diversity of people, each reading lines of the speech, offers a contrast to McKellen's status as the quintessential Shakespearean actor. The celebrity of the actor and his cultural cachet as a Shakespearean lends McKellen's performance an authority and a viral quality--it spreads because of McKellen. Or rather, it spreads through a triangulation of Shakespeare-the actor-the network. The network here can denote the rhizomatic web of relations that is the Internet, as well as constituencies of collectives and connections within these, such as interest-driven groups around something like Shakespeare. This network is itself both large and small, an amorphous body of texts and individuals who might variously identify as fans, or scholars, and for whom Shakespeare's value is mutable.

When it comes to what value attaches to Shakespeare, context is all. Shakespearean value is contingent on how and where it is mobilized. More's words keep reappearing, increasingly as a riposte to alt-right discourse and, in a U.S. context especially, the Trump presidency's anti-immigration policies. The Shakespeare Association of America sought to take a stand against Trump's travel ban. In a letter to members, SAA president Heather James expressed SAA's commitment to diversity, and concluded with a postscript: "To give the last word to Shakespeare, I provide a link to Sir Ian McKellen's performance of Sir Thomas More on strangers." (27) More and McKellen are presented as surrogates for the figure of Shakespeare himself, who comes back to urge values based on tolerance, a sense of shared humanity. They are values that, one would hope, are shared by the network of professional Shakespeareans James's letter addressed, but it would be naive to think that everyone in the SAA shared these views. I recall a Facebook post (now deleted) criticizing the use of Shakespeare to advance a proimmigration perspective. One does not have to look far into the information flow to find similar anxieties about appropriation. "Outrage as BBC bosses 'use Shakespeare to push pro-immigration agenda,' " reported The Daily Express, a British right-wing tabloid. Peter Bone, a Conservative MP, objected to the BBC's inclusion of More's "the strangers' case" speech in the Shakespeare Live pro gram: "They've gone out of their way to find a piece of writing which fits the left-wing establishment's pro-immigration agenda." (28) BBC Newsnight had already featured the speech in a specially commissioned performance by Harriet Walter in studio. The video is available on YouTube. (29) Where comments on McKellen's performance tend towards the empathetic, those on the Walter video reveal phobic attitudes:

   like fucking Shakespeare would somehow approve of millions of third
   world rapists, criminals, freeloaders and unskilled that don't know
   how to use the toilet yet to come to England.

#mountainishinhumanity seems a suitable response to such vitriol. A further counter is Stephen Greenblatt's claim that Shakespeare is a "cure for xenophobia." (30) In a personally reflective essay, largely concerned with The Merchant of Venice, Greenblatt describes Shakespeare's works in distinctly humanist terms: they are, he writes, "a living model not because they offer practical solutions to the dilemmas they so brilliantly explore but because they awaken our awareness of the human lives that are at stake." He wonders at Shakespeare's "extraordinary life-making" capacities, a gift to us not just of imagination but of empathy, of humanity, and, by way of a concluding illustration, quotes "the strangers' case":

   The lines speak movingly to one of our most pressing contemporary
   dilemmas.... Such language isn't a substitute for a coherent,
   secure, and humane international refugee policy.... Yet these words
   do what they can to keep before our eyes the sight of "the wretched
   strangers / Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage, /
   Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation." For a long
   moment in dramatic time, the distance between natives and strangers
   collapses; walls wobble and fall; a ghetto is razed.

There is, once again, a sense of flow here, of ideas and knowledges, of people and concepts. Evident too is a turn to Shakespeare in times of crisis. The Shakespeare Greenblatt imagines--and the values he sees as being expounded through "Shakespeare"--is attractive culturally, politically, and ideologically in its emphasis on tolerance, plurality, and the disruption of boundaries and binaries. Yet, Greenblatt's essay--like my own piece here--is written with the "luxury of time not spent on mere survival." (31) We do not need a speech, even one penned by Shakespeare's hand, to "keep before our eyes" the plight of refugees. We can look at news footage, or videos on YouTube, or follow refugees' own stories on Twitter, outside the aestheticization of material suffering that More's speech and the imprimatur that Shakespeare brings.

The Bard is Back in Town

What, if anything, is being exchanged in the citation of More's lines? Without evidence of Shakespeare's contribution as Hand D (and the bodily description to identify collaborators itself appeals to ideas of direct Shakespearean input), it is unlikely that More's speech would receive the same degree of citation. That the British Library showcased the text on its website as part of its digitization of the manuscript no doubt contributed to the currency of More's plea. (32) Is Shakespeare a gift or token of something larger? And here a further question arises: what kind of Shakespeare? Is it a traditional iteration of the Bard, a metonym that does not merely signify Shakespeare and his works but, more precisely, ideologically conservative understandings of Shakespeare's humanism and universality? These understandings find their articulation in such works as Harold Bloom's Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Michael Woods' Searching for Shakespeare, and Jonathan Bate's The Genius of Shakespeare, but also appear to have seeped into Greenblatt's post-new-historicist work. It is this expression of Shakespeare that amounts to an exchange failure, because Shakespeare is regarded as both the sender and also recipient of cultural value. There may be a recipient on the other end of the line, but that someone or something may largely function as yet further proof of Shakespeare's appeal, ubiquity or immanence. However, this heuristic posits a binary of insider (Shakespeare) and outsider (the refugee, or other) in ways that, as Paul Gilroy's work on the "black Atlantic" suggests, belie the complex, contested configurations that underpin such seemingly discrete categories of identity. (33) From this standpoint, "the stranger's case" is invoked not simply because Shakespeare had a hand in its composition, but because the speech provides a recognizable reference to an earlier moment in history when English and / or British--and metonymically Western-identity was subject to (re)negotiation in relation to the presence of refugees or "foreigners" within England.

Nonetheless, Emma Smith's cautionary words regarding the Shakespearean's over-investment in his / her subject applies: "Shakespeare studies can tend to a self-congratulatory intellectual tourism masquerading as radically generous border-crossing." (34) Another debunking of Shakespeare's putative universalism is hardly necessary: cultural materialist Shakespeareans did a good job of that in the 1980s, rightly foregrounding that the Bard was an ideological construction that, even in putatively more progressive post-war Britain, valorized class stratification, as well as shoring up male and indeed white cultural privilege. And, Bloom's thesis about Shakespeare's proleptic figuration of the modern human subject has been given short shrift within the academy as retread Bardoloatry. (35) However, as Shakespeare critics and scholars we must be critically alert to how Shakespeare is constituted and deployed, that is, to the politics of appropriation, of how Shakespeare is used to, say, critique the 45th President of the United States, and how quickly notions of what constitutes "proper" Shakespeare prove resurgent. (36)

The foregoing discussion risks positing too neat a chronology, as if to imply that the traditional Shakespeare, the Bard, is finding its way back, and is doing so in reaction to the more progressive, diverse, mutable Shakespeares that have found transmedia expression on a global scale. But the different Shakespeares emerging here are not mutually exclusive; rather, they have ebb and flow, and may converge with one another, as critics make a case for a healthy proliferation of Shakespeares and, at the same time, revert to older claims for the Bard's immanence, humanism, or uniqueness. This is not to say the latter is bad because it is older, or that it is a throwback to liberal humanist literary studies that lacked a consciousness of its own critical practice. In part, I think many of us writing on Shakespeare have been guilty of a rhetorical flourish, or a peroration that makes very large claims indeed for the critical object in hand: Shakespeare as an agential force; Shakespeare's affective resonance on us; or as a gift of freedom; or as the "apex predator." (37) Shakespeare functions as a type of self-validation for the critic. Or, less cynically, one might qualify this claim by suggesting that underpinning critical writing is the writer's belief that the worlds Shakespeare's plays construct--as in the language, the plots, and characters--have an intrinsic and also exchange value. In other words, Shakespeare is something to be cherished, enjoyed, and shared, and also, and especially in the postmodern era, a cipher, a simulacrum.

Digital technologies and cultures, associated with speed, vernacularly produced content, and its searchability on a global scale, make manifest the extent to which there is no one iteration of Shakespeare--the traditional idea of the Bard is entangled with other uses and expressions of Shakespeare via networks that we can and also cannot see because they comprise nonhuman things like search engines and algorithms. (38) Our contemporary Shakespeares, which is to say our digital Shakespeares, are fully rhizomatic in their extraordinary and seemingly endless flow of relations. The "strangers' case" signals one point in the Shakespearean rhizome. It stems from a network or assemblage we call Shakespeare, but its relation to that is not one of dependence or linearity, although the Storify page might give the impression of a sequential narrative or a neat pattern to the citations. The speech will go on in digital spheres, acquiring new meanings as it is picked up in different contexts or shared across platforms. As More's speech flows through time and space, it may transmit Shakespeare as a value, just as other texts in the rhizome or network contribute to the visibility, currency, and virality of Shakespeares. Here, the medium is the message, or at least it plays a constitutive role in how--and where--Shakespeare signifies.

For Shakespeare to continue to be a productive instance of intercultural exchange, we need to continually disrupt a Shakespeare-centric view, that is, to continue the important work of cultural materialist critics and focus less on Shakespeare the cultural icon, and more on the ideas, the politics, the ethics that are circulating and being expressed in and through Shakespeare. At the risk of coming full circle, a risk inherent in writing and thinking about Shakespeare / "Shakespeare," #strangerscase is a figure for tolerance, and for concern about those deemed in but not of Europe. It is a gift, digital media its conduit, and Shakespeare its authorizing actor. If this is what "Shakespeare" means, then perhaps "the Bard" is a useful cultural construct after all, one that we can, indeed should, live with. As one Twitter user, retweeting the "strangers' case," puts it, "I agree with Will, any thinker would." (39)


My thanks to Diana Henderson, James Siemon, Rui Carvalho Homem and my colleague Ide Corley for comments and suggestions on this essay.

(1.) Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, ed. David Bevington (London: Bloomsbury / Arden, 2015), 5.2.42.

(2.) Sandra Braman, "Flow," in Digital Keywords, ed. Benjaimin Peters (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 118-31, at 126.

(3.) Open Source Shakespeare, accessed September 10, 2017, https://www

(4.) See Kylie Jarrett and Jeneen Naji, "What Would Media Studies Do? Social Media Shakespeare as a Technosocial Process," Borrowers and Lenders 10, no. 1 (2016),, accessed September 10, 2017; Christy Desmet, "Alien Shakespeares 2.0," Actes des congres de la Societe francaise Shakespeare (2017), 1-19,, accessed September 10, 2017; and Valerie M. Fazel and Louise Geddes, eds., The Shakespeare User (New York: Palgrave, 2017), 8.

(5.) Raymond Williams, Television Technology and Cultural Form, ed. Ederyn Williams (London: Routledge, 2003).

(6.) Open Source Shakespeare, accessed September 10, 2017, https://www

(7.) Eric M. Johnson, "Opening Shakespeare from the Margins," in The Shakespeare User, 194.

(8.) ([C]Shakespeare, Twitter, accessed September 10, 2017, Shakespeare?lang = en.

(9.) @Shakespeare, Twitter, accessed September 10, 2017, Shakespeare/status/897124844642238465.

(10.) [C]Shakespeare, Twitter, accessed September 10, 2017, Shakespeare/status/771039594838122496.

(11.) MrShakespeareReads, YouTube, accessed September 10, 2017, https://

(12.) See Richard Burt and Julian Yates, What's the Worst Thing You Can Do to Shakespeare (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

(13.) Danielle Rosvally, "The Haunted Network: Shakespeare's Digital Ghost," in The Shakespeare User, 160.

(14.) Rosvally, "The Haunted Network," 150.

(15.) Storify, accessed September 10, 2017,

(16.) " 'The Strangers' Case': Sir Thomas More, Social Media and the Refugee Crisis," Storify, accessed September 10, 2017, -stranger-s-case-sir-thomas-more-social-media-a.

(17.) Anthony Munday, Henry Chettle, et al., Sir Thomas More, ed. John Jowett (London: Bloomsbury / Arden, 2011), Scene 6, lines 7-8. Subsequent references are given within the text.

(18.) Jowett, Sir Thomas More, 117.

(19.) See Janet Clare, "Art Made Tongue-Tied by Authority": Elizabethan and Jacobean Dramatic Censorship (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999), 57.

(20.) Alexander Betts and Paul Collier, Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System (London: Penguin, 2017), 2.

(21.) Betts and Collier, Refuge, 3.

(22.) See Ian McKellen's official website, accessed September 10, 2017, http://

(23.) "Sir Ian McKellen Gives Shakespearean Monologue," YouTube, accessed September 10, 2017, = p_aW8yuhzsA.

(24.) "The People Speak: Ian McKellen Performance," accessed September 10, 2017, = AjEAeOshUGQ.

(25.) See "Syrian Refugees: A Snapshot of the Crisis--in the Middle East and Europe," accessed September 10, 2017,

(26.) "The Perfect Refugee--Sir Thomas More," Vimeo, accessed September 10, 2017,

(27.) "Letter from the President," Shakespeare Association of America, accessed September 10, 2017, -letter/.

(28.) Fraser Moore, "Outrage as BBC bosses 'use Shakespeare to push pro-immi gration agenda,'" Daily Express, April 25, 2016, uk/664069/bbc-shakespeare-pro-immigration-agenda.

(29.) "Shakespeare's take on refugees, performed by Harriet Walter--BBC Newsnight," YouTube, accessed September 10, 2017, ?v = DiLwv-G9C0Q.

(30.) Stephen Greenblatt, "Shakespeare's Cure for Xenophobia," The New Yorker, July 10 and 17 2017, accessed September 10, 2017, magazine/2017/07/10/shakespeares-cure-for-xenophobia.

(31.) The phrase is borrowed from Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry I New York: Norton, 2017), 178.

(32.) "The Book of Sir Thomas More: Shakespeare's only surviving literary manuscript," British Library, accessed September 10, 2017, collection-items/shakespeares-handwriting-in-the-book-of-sir-thomas-more

(33.) Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993).

(34.) Emma Smith, "Shakespeare: the Apex Predator," TLS, 4 May 2017, accessed September 10, 2017, speare-apex-predator/.

(35.) And see more recently, Matthew Biberman, Shakespeare, Adaptation, and Psychoanalysis (New York: Routledge, 2017).

(36.) For example, see reports of negative reactions to cross-gender casting in the U.S. (Barbara Vitello, "Oak Brook Theater Defends Same-Sex Couple, Interracial Casting in Shakespeare Play," Daily Herald, August 19, 2017, http://www.daily racial-casting-in-shakespeare-play.)

(37.) Ewan Fernie, Shakespeare for Freedom: Why the Plays Matter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); and Smith, "Shakespeare: the Apex Predator."

(38.) Desmet, "Alien Shakespeares 2.0," 3-5.

(39.) @cornzy9, Twitter, accessed September 10, 2017, cornzy9/status/709882348481945600.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A561883482