Professor Simon Palfrey
Tutorial Fellow in English
Fellow Librarian and Archivist
Simon grew up in Australia, mainly in Tasmania. He went to Clarence High School and Rosny College, state schools on the less fashionable side of Hobart's Derwent River. From there he went to Australian National University on a National Undergraduate Scholarship, and then to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. After a stint teaching History of Ideas in a foundation course for overseas students at Melbourne University, he worked at the University of Liverpool from 1999, and arrived at Brasenose in 2005.
Simon’s recent work explores the unique kinds of life generated by dramatic, poetic, and fictional forms, and the opportunities this opens up for more philosophically adventurous and formally imaginative work. His many publications include Late Shakespeare: A New World of Words (Oxford, 1997); Doing Shakespeare (Arden, 2004; revised 2nd edition 2011), a TLS International Book of the Year; Shakespeare in Parts (Oxford, 2007), co-written with Tiffany Stern, awarded the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society prize for best new book; ‘Macbeth and Kierkegaard', Shakespeare Survey 58; Middleton's Presence', in Middleton in Context (Oxford 2011); ‘Ghostly Selections', in Shakespeare and I (Continuum, 2011); ‘Formactions', in Early Modern Theatricality (OUP, 2012), Romeo and Juliet (Connell Guides, 2013). Shakespeare's Possible Worlds (Cambridge, 2014); Poor Tom (Chicago, 2014); and the novel Macbeth, Macbeth (Bloomsbury, 2016, written with Ewan Fernie). In 2016 Simon and Emma Smith curated the major Bodleian Library exhibition, Shakespeare’s Dead, and wrote the accompanying book. He is a founding editor of two innovative series, Shakespeare Now! (Bloomsbury) and beyond criticism (Bloomsbury/Boilerhouse).
Simon’s current project is the twice AHRC-award winning Demons Land: a poem come true, a collaborative multimedia installation (film, drama, paintings, sculptures, soundscapes, text) that imagines an island built in the image of Spenser’s epic poem, The Faerie Queene. Simon is leader, writer and director of the project, which has developed from its humble beginnings devising a piece of political drama with diverse teenagers in schools in Leyton and Woking. Demons Land enjoyed its inaugural installation at Stowe National Trust and has since been exhibited or screened in New York, Norwich, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, Belfast, Sydney, Perth, Hobart, Brisbane, the Australian tour being funded by an ARC Distinguished International Fellowship. Simon is now writing a book that further develops the possibilities of Demons Land, linking Tasmanian, Irish, literary and personal histories into a single narrative. (See demonsland.com)
The Fellowship: Interviewed
Making Literature Come to Life
Click here to read an interview with Professor Palfrey by Olivia Gordon from Oxford Today
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