Alexa Alice Joubin, Victoria Bladen (eds), Onscreen Allusions to Shakespeare: International Films, Television, and Theatre


  • Melissa Croteau California Baptist University



The title of this superlative recent volume of essays, edited by Alexa Alice Joubin and Victoria Bladen, boldly announces its focus on a topic that could be seen as trivial: mere allusions to Shakespeare and his works in screen texts. The films and shows covered therein are not screen adaptations of Shakespeare, which are the subject of a great many books. Instead, the essays in this volume examine brief Shakespeare references in film or television texts. This study continues the ongoing work of postmodern and cultural studies strategic goals to read all cultural products and practices as texts that reveal the multiple potential meanings of any given text, which is always already embedded in multifarious contexts. The essays in this volume demonstrate that the Bard has been and is a ubiquitous presence in international media in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, evidenced by the fact that each essay looks at film and/or televisual texts from a different country. Refreshingly, Joubin and Bladen contend that this volume examining Shakespearean allusions extends beyond the question of whether a screen text is or is not “Shakespeare(an)”, instead focusing “further along the intertextuality continuum” to look at the often powerful ideological and artistic work performed by brief references to Shakespeare. Indeed, the Bard’s brief appearances in screen texts like these, as adeptly argued in this volume, help keep Shakespeare alive in significant ways, rather than damning him to a purgatorial half-life.

Keywords: Shakespeare; Shakespeare on screen; theatre; intertextuality; allusion; adaptation; global media