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Dr Monika Smialkowska

Assistant Professor

Department: Humanities

I completed my first degree (a Polish MA) at the University of Warsaw in 1995, choosing early modern literature as the focus of my final dissertation. I continued that interest at the postgraduate level, obtaining a PhD in English from the University of Gloucestershire in 2002, with the thesis exploring the early modern genre of the court masque. My first job was at the University Centre Doncaster (2002-2009), initially as a part-time research fellow in poetry and drama and then as a full-time teaching research fellow. I joined Northumbria University in 2009 as a lecturer in early modern literature. My work spans the areas of literature and cultural history, as I am interested in the ways in which canonical literary figures are adapted for varying political purposes in diverse socio-historical contexts. 

Monika Smialkowska

Campus Address

Office: Lipman 409

My main areas of research are early modern literature, cultural history, adaptation, and commemoration.

My current research focuses on the ways in which Shakespearean commemorations serve multiple – local and global – political purposes. It combines Shakespeare studies with cultural history, memory studies, and adaptation studies, shedding light on the fascinating processes through which Shakespeare’s cultural capital is appropriated to construct and negotiate diverse groups’ collective identities (national, imperial, social, local, to name just a few). I have published several articles and book chapters on the topic, and I am currently finalising a monograph examining the worldwide commemorations of the three-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1916. I also edited a special issue of Shakespeare on the topic of ‘Shakespeare and the Great War’ (2014). I am the co-editor, with Edmund King, of a collection of essays entitled Memorialising Shakespeare: Commemoration and Collective Identity, 1916-2016 (forthcoming with Palgrave).

Recently, I have also explored the issue of offence, beginning with the question of what offends us in Shakespeare and in the ways in which he has been used in modern culture. I co-organised an international conference on ‘Offensive Shakespeare’ at Northumbria University in 2017 and a panel on the topic at the 2018 British Shakespeare Association conference. With Adam Hansen, I delivered a joint public lecture session on Offensive Shakespeare at Gresham College in September 2020 (

I am a member of the editorial board of Shakespeare. I received a Short-term Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship in 2006 and 2014.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Shakespeare’s Tercentenary: Staging Nations and Performing Identities in 1916, Smialkowska, M. Dec 2023
  • The 1916 Shakespeare Tercentenary at N˚ 1 Camp in Calais, Smialkowska, M. 1 Sep 2023, Shakespeare at War: A Material History, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • Culture and Colonialism: The 1916 Tercentenary in Egypt, Sami, K., Smialkowska, M. 18 Dec 2021, Memorialising Shakespeare, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Introduction: Memorialising Shakespeare, Memorialising Ourselves, Smialkowska, M., King, E. 18 Dec 2021, Memorialising Shakespeare, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Memorialising Shakespeare: Commemoration and Collective Identity, 1916–2016, King, E., Smialkowska, M. 4 Nov 2021
  • ‘“What is Shakespeare to Manchester”? Shakespearean Engagement in the North at the Turn of the Twentieth Century’, Smialkowska, M. Apr 2021, Shakespeare in the North, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press
  • Celebrating Shakespeare: Commemoration and Cultural Memory, Smialkowska, M. 18 Jan 2017, In: English
  • Reviving English Folk Customs in America in the Early Twentieth Century, Smialkowska, M. 30 Jul 2017, English Ethnicity and Culture in North America, University of South Carolina Press
  • Tercentenary Shakespeare: Britain and the United States, 1916, Smialkowska, M. Feb 2016, The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press
  • Shakespeare in the North: regionalism, culture and power, Hansen, A., Smialkowska, M. Jan 2015, Shakespeare on the Global Stage: Performance and Festivity in the Olympic Year, London, Bloomsbury

  • Megan Holman Contemporary Shakespearean Bodies: Adapting Forms Across Media Start Date: 07/10/2014 End Date: 28/06/2022
  • Inmaculada Sánchez García Shakespeare and European Cinema: Thresholds, Borders, Connections Start Date: 07/10/2014 End Date: 07/02/2019

English Literature PhD June 30 2002

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