Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, has been awarded funds for the support of PhD studentships in certain strategic priority areas. Funding has been awarded to the School of English for the international studentship described here.
Professor Mark Thornton Burnett (School of English); Dr Ramona Wray (School of English)
“Shakespeare and the Soundtrack”
Shakespeare on film is often seen as a primarily verbal or visual phenomenon; by contrast, this project argues that the filmic representations of the likes of Lawrence Olivier, Orson Welles and Kenneth Branagh are enhanced, complicated and finessed by the ways in which the soundtrack stands in for, or translates, the Shakespearean word. The role of music in Shakespeare film takes multiple forms, including lush refrains, action genre pop scores, classically-inspired requiems, and romantic themes, but a common denominator is the synecdoche-like place of musical motifs with reference to language. Tracing the means whereby music operates, the study investigates points of connection between multiple acoustic levels, placing together examples that disclose unexpected comparative possibilities.For example, in addition to exploring some familiar Anglophone instances – among them, Hamlet, Othello and King Lear – the project enfolds discussion of less well-known films from China, Japan and India, such as The Banquet, an adaptation of Hamlet, An Okinawan Night’s Dream (an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Yellamma, an adaptation of Macbeth. Here, the focus is on how particular forms of instrumentation – indigenous styles of strings, percussion and woodwind – work not only to mediate Shakespearean rhetoric but also to place it in alternative cultural registers that are aurally apprehended. Essentially, then, a comparative study, ‘Shakespeare and the Soundtrack’ allows methodologies that have previously operated only in narrow national and educational contexts to cross-fertilize, elaborating models of intertextual dialogue and demonstrating how creative modes of words and music offer valuable lessons for our own and media responsive global age.
Candidates with a range of different combinations of knowledge and skill may be considered. For those whose primary background is in literature, the equivalent of Grade 7 Theory in Music might be helpful, but other evidence of musical understanding might be acceptable. For those whose primary background is in Music, some relevant literary modules at university level, or equivalent evidence of knowledge, would be helpful.
International/non-EU students (students from China, Japan, India, Australia, Canada and the US, for example).
For application information, follow the links on the School of English (Queen’s University) website at:
Further information is available on the School of English website (http://www.qub.ac.uk/en) under ‘news and events’ and also on the prospective students postgraduate pages.
Closing date for applications:
2 March 2012