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David McInnis

David McInnis

David McInnis is Associate Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the University of Melbourne. He is author of Shakespeare and Lost Plays (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and Mind-Travelling and Voyage Drama in Early Modern England (Palgrave, 2013), and editor of Dekker’s Old Fortunatus for the Revels Plays series (Manchester UP, 2020). With Roslyn L. Knutson and Matthew Steggle, he is founder and co-editor of the Lost Plays Database. He has also edited a number of books, including Lost Plays in Shakespeare’s England (Palgrave, 2014; co-edited with Steggle) and a sequel volume, Loss and the Literary Culture of Shakespeare’s Time (Palgrave 2020; co-edited with Knutson and Steggle); Travel and Drama in Early Modern England: The Journeying Play (Cambridge UP, 2018; co-edited with Claire Jowitt); and Tamburlaine: A Critical Reader (Arden Early Modern Drama Guides, 2020).

David McInnis reviews 'Shakespeare Without a Life' by Margreta de Grazia

September 2023, no. 457 24 July 2023
It is a rare year that goes by without the publication of yet another new biography of William Shakespeare in response to the seemingly insatiable desire for insights into the life and mind of the great writer. The proliferation of life studies isn’t exactly unwarranted: among the most exciting recent discoveries shedding light on how Shakespeare lived is Geoffrey Marsh’s pinpointing of the ad ... (read more)

David McInnis reviews 'How to Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance education' by Scott Newstok

September 2020, no. 424 24 August 2020
In an early episode of the cult Canadian television series Slings & Arrows (2003), the director of the ‘Burbage Festival’ finds himself addressing a corporate audience, forced to teach management strategy through Shakespeare: ‘Do any of you seriously believe that you’re going to sell more plastics products to the construction industry by studying, say, the crisis management techniques ... (read more)

David McInnis reviews 'How the Classics Made Shakespeare' by Jonathan Bate

September 2019, no. 414 26 July 2019
Ben Jonson famously derided Shakespeare’s grasp of ‘small Latin and less Greek’, and vocal sceptics in our own time refuse to believe that a grammar-school education was sufficient to enable the man from Stratford to write the plays attributed to ‘Shakespeare’ (of course it was). Rather than create another study documenting Shakespeare’s narrative and dramatic debts to the classics, Jo ... (read more)

David McInnis reviews 'Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power' by Stephen Greenblatt

March 2019, no. 409 25 February 2019
In 2017, Oskar Eustis directed the Public Theater production of Julius Caesar – a play that pivots on the assassination of a political leader – in Central Park with a lead actor who bore an unmistakable likeness to the forty-fifth president of the United States. The conservative backlash was swift and powerful: key sponsors Delta Air Lines and the Bank of America withdrew funding for the produ ... (read more)

David McInnis reviews 'Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature' by Stuart Kells

October 2018, no. 405 26 September 2018
The search for Shakespeare’s library (the books ostensibly owned by Shakespeare but dispersed without a trace after his death) is driven largely by the hope that marginalia, notes, and drafts might provide unfettered access to authorial intention. Inevitably, the missing library turns out to be central to a number of the anti-Stratfordian cases, including Diana Price’s convoluted and ill-infor ... (read more)

David McInnis reviews 'Antipodal Shakespeare: Remembering and Forgetting in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, 1916 - 2016' by Gordon McMullan and Philip Mead et al.

September 2018, no. 404 23 August 2018
In 1916, the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death coincided with the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, thus providing the impetus for this absorbing study of memory and forgetting, and what the authors call a specifically ‘antipodal’ dynamic of asymmetrical commemorations across the northern and southern hemispheres. The Shakespeare Tercentenary, they note, ‘lies at the cusp ... (read more)

David McInnis reviews 'Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness' by Rhodri Lewis

March 2018, no. 399 28 December 2017
There have been more than 600 publications on Hamlet in the last five years alone. Uniquely amongst Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet even has an entire journal devoted to it: Hamlet Studies. Offering something new in these circumstances takes courage. Drawing inspiration from Margreta de Grazia’s liberation of Hamlet from the anachronistic concerns of Romantic and post-Romantic critics (2007), Rhod ... (read more)

David McInnis reviews 'Shakespeare’s cinema of love: A study in genre and influence' by R.S. White

June-July 2017, no. 392 31 May 2017
Does William Shakespeare still matter? The question was posed frequently throughout 2016, the quatercentenary of his death. Those sceptical of Shakespeare’s enduring relevance faced the challenge of explaining the seemingly endless proliferation of films and adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays in an age ostensibly dislocated from early modern sensibilities and politics. R.S. White’s timely bo ... (read more)

David McInnis reviews 'The One King Lear' by Brian Vickers

October 2016, no. 385 26 September 2016
Shakespeare's King Lear exists in two significantly different versions, the quarto (Q) published in 1608 and the folio (F) of 1623. Scholars typically believe that the play was altered for performances after its first printing. Possibly this took place around 1610, when the King's Men were interested enough in the legendary history of Britain to perform Cymbeline. The folio text was the seeming pr ... (read more)