While film adaptations of Shakespeare's plays captured the popular imagination at the turn of the last century, independent filmmakers began to adapt the plays of Shakespeare's contemporaries. The roots of their films in European avant-garde cinema and the plays' politically subversive, sexually transgressive and violent subject matter challenge Shakespeare's cultural dominance and the conventions of mainstream cinema. In Screening Early Modern Drama, Pascale Aebischer shows how director Derek Jarman constructed an alternative, dissident approach to filming literary heritage in his 'queer' Caravaggio and Edward II, providing models for subsequent filmmakers such as Mike Figgis, Peter Greenaway, Alex Cox and Sarah Harding. Aebischer explains how the advent of digital video has led to an explosion in low-budget screen versions of early modern drama. The only comprehensive analysis of early modern drama on screen to date, this groundbreaking study also includes an extensive annotated filmography listing forty-eight surviving adaptations.
Pascale Aebischer is Associate Professor of Early Modern Performance Studies at the University of Exeter. After a combined honours degree (English and French) at the University of Bern and a postgraduate diploma at the London Academy of Performing Arts, she moved to Lincoln College, Oxford, where she was the recipient of a Berrow Scholarship and where she completed her D.Phil. From 1999 to 2002, Aebischer held a Research Fellowship, funded by the National Science Foundation (CH), at Darwin College, Cambridge. During those years, she taught at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and for the British American Drama Academy in London. She took up a Lectureship in Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester in 2002 and moved to the University of Exeter in 2004. She is author of Shakespeare's Violated Bodies: Stage and Screen Performance (Cambridge, 2004) and Jacobean Drama (2010), and co-editor of Performing Early Modern Drama Today (Cambridge, 2012). In spring 2013, Pascale Aebischer became General Editor of Shakespeare Bulletin, the leading journal of early modern performance studies.
Introduction: beyond Shakespeare: the contemporary Jacobean film; 1. Derek Jarman's queer contemporary Jacobean aesthetic: Caravaggio and Edward II; 2. The preposterous contemporary Jacobean film: Peter Greenaway's Cook, heritage Shakespeare and sexual exploitation in Mike Figgis's Hotel; 3. Third cinema, urban regeneration and heritage Shakespeare in Alex Cox's Revengers Tragedy; 4. Early modern performance and digital media: remediation and the evolving archival canon; 5. Bend it like Nagra: mainstreaming The Changeling in Sarah Harding's Compulsion; Conclusion: early modern dramatists on twenty-first-century screens; Appendix 1. Chronological list of surviving film adaptations; Appendix 2. Annotated filmography: early modern drama on screen, 1926-2012.