News & Stories
August 1, 2022

Berry professor's book on Shakespeare published

Berry professor Brian Carroll this month published "Shakespeare’s
Sceptered Isle: Finding English National Identity in the Plays."

More than a dozen years in development, the book searches Shakespeare’s history and
Roman plays to find the raw materials of English national consciousness and identity.
According to Carroll, the messages of Shakespeare’s history plays are not principally the
plots or “facts” of the dramas but the attitudes and imaginings they elicited in audiences.

“Emerging from the worst of the pandemic, it seems bracingly relevant to renew an
appreciation for the power and purposes of live drama and for the openness of, in
particular, Elizabethan drama,” Carroll said. “Shakespeare’s theater animated the
Englishness this book finds by mediating the activities of dramatizing, projecting, and
shaping the age’s emergent national identity.”

Carroll’s book, his eighth, argues that Shakespeare’s histories furnished modern England
with a curriculum for constructing a national identity, a confidence of language and
culture, and a powerful new medium through which to communicate and express this
negotiated identity.

By applying semiotics, the book studies the playwright’s use of symbols, metonymy,
symbolic codes, and metaphor. By examining what Shakespeare and playgoers
remembered and forgot, as well as the ways ideas were framed, this book explores how a
national identity was crafted, contested, and circulated.

The book officially launches at the Wooden O Symposium at the Utah Shakespeare
Festival in Cedar City, Utah, in early August.

Carroll has chaired the Department of Communication since 2015; he joined the Berry
faculty in 2003. He is the author of eight books, including two on the history of Black
press involvement in the integration of baseball: "When to Stop the Cheering? The Black
Press, the Black Community and the Integration of Professional Baseball" and "A Devil's Bargain: The Black Press and Black Baseball 1915-1955."



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