Skip to main content
Top

2020 | Book

Shakespeare’s Fans

Adapting the Bard in the Age of Media Fandom

insite
SEARCH

About this book

This book examines Shakespearean adaptations through the critical lens of fan studies and asks what it means to be a fan of Shakespeare in the context of contemporary media fandom. Although Shakespeare studies and fan studies have remained largely separate from one another for the past thirty years, this book establishes a sustained dialogue between the two fields. In the process, it reveals and seeks to overcome the problematic assumptions about the history of fan cultures, Shakespeare’s place in that history, and how fan works are defined. While fandom is normally perceived as a recent phenomenon focused primarily on science fiction and fantasy, this book traces fans’ practices back to the eighteenth century, particularly David Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee in 1769. Shakespeare’s Fans connects historical and scholarly debates over who owns Shakespeare and what constitutes an appropriate adaptation of his work to online fan fiction and commercially available fan works.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Introduction: To Squee or not to Squee?
Abstract
This introduction discusses the need to incorporate fan studies into Shakespeare studies and vice versa. In particular, it makes a case for viewing Shakespeare as an object of fandom. The core relevant debates within fan studies are outlined with special emphasis placed on how Shakespeare complicates many of the assumptions of the field. Fandom is defined, and the chapter overviews many of the pejorative stereotypes that persist about fans, namely, that they are overly emotional and uncritical consumers of culture. Additionally, the problematic relationship between adaptation theory and fan works such as fan fiction is examined. The small body of criticism on Shakespeare fan fiction is overviewed and critiqued. Finally, the remaining chapters of the book are outlined.
Johnathan H. Pope
Chapter 2. “My love admits no qualifying dross”: Affect and the Shakespeare Fan from 10 Things I Hate About You to Garrick’s Jubilee
Abstract
This chapter historicizes Shakespeare fandom and the extent to which pejorative assumptions about fandom have persisted in relation to Shakespeare. It begins with an analysis of Mandella from 10 Things I Hate About You who self-identifies as a Shakespeare fan. The film treats her as an obsessive outcast whose inability to separate fantasy from reality is comedic. This connects to the film’s depiction of music fandom. Female fans are represented as immature in relation to male authorities. Shakespeare fandom is then traced back to the eighteenth century when debates about Shakespeare anticipated many debates about fans that emerged centuries later. David Garrick is examined as Shakespeare’s first fan, especially in relation to his 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee and the emergence of Stratford-upon-Avon as a tourist site.
Johnathan H. Pope
Chapter 3. “my worthless gifts”?: Shakespeare, Legitimacy, and the Gift Economy
Abstract
This chapter examines Shakespeare fandom in the context of the question, Who owns Shakespeare? The question of ownership is key to the contemporary status of fan works that are often produced in the context of copyright laws and the relationship between cultural consumers and cultural producers. Out of necessity, fan works are typically produced and disseminated for free, contributing to an understanding of them as forms of amateur play rather than professional work. Shakespeare’s lack of copyright status, however, blurs the distinction between amateur and professional, play and work. Nevertheless, an informal understanding of the playwright as an intellectual property has emerged, often guarded and enforced by scholars and other custodians of official Shakespeare culture.
Johnathan H. Pope
Chapter 4. “the rest is …”: Shakespeare and Online Fan Fiction
Abstract
This chapter focuses specifically on Shakespeare fan fiction published online. Aimed particularly at those scholars who might be unfamiliar with this type of writing, the chapter argues in favor of understanding fan fiction on its own terms and according to its own tropes and genres. As a type of writing produced by fans and for fans, fan fiction has a number of unique identifying features. Examining fan fiction in the context of Shakespeare criticism and adaptation more generally, this chapter argues against viewing fan fiction as a radical break with or antithesis to academia, as it often does the work of criticism and adaptation by slightly different means. Additionally, Shakespeare’s place in the education system complicates prevailing assumptions about who writes fan fiction and why.
Johnathan H. Pope
Chapter 5. “There is no slander in an allowed fool”: Shakespeare, RPF, and Parody
Abstract
This chapter focuses on Real Person Fic (RPF), as well as on fan works in which Shakespeare is of secondary importance. RPF is often overlooked in fan studies, but works that focus on Shakespeare as a character frequently explore important issues of authority, creativity, and collaboration. When Shakespeare is secondary in RPF, he often serves an important allusive function, as he does in RPF focused on the actor Tom Hiddleston. The chapter concludes with an analysis of published Shakespeare parodies in which he is crossed over and incorporated into other fandoms. Texts such as The Klingon Hamlet and Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series epitomize Shakespeare’s place in contemporary fan culture. However, they also demonstrate that Shakespeare can, in fact, be owned.
Johnathan H. Pope
Chapter 6. Conclusion
Abstract
This conclusion briefly summarizes the book and points to areas of future research for Shakespeare and fandom. Although Shakespeare is a prevalent part of the history of fandom, he is not unique. More work needs to be done to compare and contrast the playwright’s fandom with Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle fandoms in particular. In addition, a better understanding of Shakespeare material culture and collecting is necessary. Finally, fan studies work on anti-fandom can help us better understand works that resist Shakespearean authority or actively antagonize his fans.
Johnathan H. Pope
Backmatter
Metadata
Title
Shakespeare’s Fans
Author
Johnathan H. Pope
Copyright Year
2020
Electronic ISBN
978-3-030-33726-1
Print ISBN
978-3-030-33725-4
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33726-1