Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (iv, 158 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Martha T Rozett

Committee Members

Ineke Murakami, Helene Scheck


Drama in education

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


The rise of Shakespeare film and television transformed American Shakespeare studies over the period from the 1940s to the 1990s. The birth of Shakespeare film scholarship was only possible in the United States where the expanding postwar economy and academy provided a film market and student population large enough to fuel the subsequent film booms. The five chapters focus on the following: Laurence Olivier’s 1944 Henry V, John Barton’s 1982 Playing Shakespeare, the BBC’s 1978-1985 The Shakespeare Plays, Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 Henry V and 1993 Much Ado About Nothing, S4C’s 1992 Shakespeare: The Animated Tales, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer’s 1992 Behind the Scenes, and Al Pacino’s 1996 Looking for Richard. All were widely viewed in America and led to the development of a symbiotic relationship among American Shakespeare studies, the British film industry, professional theatre companies, and television companies. As scholars watched and taught these films and series, American Shakespeare studies began to shift from an emphasis on literary criticism to scholarship invested in performance. Pedagogy and teaching were an important part of the developing nexus and commercial study guides designed to accompany the films and series indicate that education was changing. Scholars adapted Shakespeare studies to the new digital media. The efforts of twentieth-century American Shakespeare scholars can serve as a guide for contemporary scholars as they work to preserve Shakespeare’s relevance for future generations.