Device is incompatible to play the video
Wednesday, 22 October 1986, 12:00AM

Is Shakespeare Still Our Contemporary?

Professor Jan Kott

Professor Jan Kott, author of the highly influential study, Shakespeare Our Contemporary, explores the continued importance of the Bard in our lives. He considers the impact of twentieth-century theatre, including the works of Brecht and Beckett, on modern stagings of Shakespeare's plays.

professor-jan-kott

Professor Jan Kott was the Gresham Professor of Rhetoric between 1986 and 1988.

Born in Warsaw in 1914, Professor Kott spent the war years in the Soviet Union where he joined the communist partisan People's Army. After the War, he became editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Kuźnica and established himself as Poland's leading theorist of Socialist realism. He emigrated to the United States in 1965, where he lectured at Yale and Berkeley. A poet, translator, and literary critic, he became one of the more prolific essayists of the Polish school in America.

His most famous and influential work, Shakespeare Our Contemporary (1964), proposed a new reading of Shakespeare in the context of twentieth-century philosophical trends, juxtaposing plays with the works of Samuel Beckett and Eugène Ionesco, as well as his own personal experience. His other research interests included Greek tragedy, Japanese theatre and the Polish theatre practitioner, Jerzy Grotowski, and he was responsible for translating works by Jean-Paul Sartre, Denis Diderot, Ionesco and Molière.

Read More
Read Less
Related Future Lectures
Related Past Lectures
WATCHED
Part of a series

Shakespeare, Race and Performance

Professor Farah Karim-Cooper
Tuesday, 19 October 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Plot

Professor John Mullan
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Portraits, Biographies and Public History

Professor Ludmilla Jordanova
Tuesday, 2 November 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Attacks on Knowledge from Ashurbanipal to Trump

Richard Ovenden
Thursday, 2 December 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Christmas Carols and Nostalgia

Professor Jeremy Summerly
Thursday, 9 December 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Coincidences

Professor John Mullan
Wednesday, 2 March 2022 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Barbican Centre at 40 - Past, Present and Future

Sir Nicholas Kenyon CBE
Thursday, 10 June 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Dickens's Public Readings: A Tale of Two Desks

Professor Malcolm Andrews
Thursday, 22 April 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Fiction and the Supernatural

Professor John Mullan
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Dickens: The Last Decade

Professor Michael Slater MBE
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Nurse Ratched: Evil Nurses

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 18 March 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Could Streaming Change the ‘Classic Film’ Canon?

Professor Ian Christie FBA
Monday, 15 March 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED

Do Romance Novels Reinforce Gender Stereotypes?

Catherine M. Roach
Thursday, 5 July 2018 - 10:00AM
WATCHED

Why Is Sir Walter Scott Not In Popular Culture Today?

Dr Juliet Shields
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 1:59PM
WATCHED

The English Image of Scotland Prior to Sir Walter Scott's Writing

Dr Juliet Shields
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 1:58PM
WATCHED

Sir Walter Scott's Involvement In King George IV Visiting Scotland

Dr Juliet Shields
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 1:56PM
WATCHED

Was Your View Of Scotland Different Depending On Where You Were From?

Dr Juliet Shields
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 1:55PM
WATCHED

What Do You Think More's Intention Was In Writing 'Utopia'?

Dr Richard Serjeantson
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 - 6:59PM