Simon Palfrey

  • Co-Investigator
  • Leader of 'The Faerie Queene Fable and Drama Project'

    I am a child of various exiles and colonisations (in this a little like Spenser). I departed the north of England as a foundling and grew up near the site of the first Van Diemonian ‘settlement’ on the eastern shore of Hobart, Tasmania. I left Australia to take up a Rhodes Scholarship, and now find myself a Fellow of Brasenose College Oxford, surrounded by strange natives.

    My publications include Late Shakespeare: a New World of Words (OUP 1997), Doing Shakespeare (Arden 2005; named a TLS International Book of the Year) and, with Tiffany Stern, Shakespeare in Parts (OUP 2007, awarded the 2009 Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society’s Prize for best new book). My collaborations with Ewan Fernie include editing Continuum’s Shakespeare Now! series of original ‘minigraphs’, and co-scripting our novel Dunsinane, which mashes Macbeth with The Brothers Karamazov to create a whole new fictional world. We have performed excerpts from the story in the USA, Switzerland, and numerous locations in the UK. I am also working on a book exploring new models for understanding early modern drama, called Possible Worlds.

    The Fable and Drama project will attempt to make Spenser’s fabulous and surprising world compelling to new audiences. We will forget about abstruse academic allegories, and work with students from diverse backgrounds to search for the stories’ immediacy and familiarity. For me, Spenser’s fantastical world - half-Ireland, half-anywhere, alive with struggle and temptation - evokes memories of life in the strange light of Tasmania. My hope is that new readers and audiences will find their own experiences refracted, vivified, and challenged in our project’s imaginative re-creations.