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Dr Monika Smialkowska

Senior Lecturer

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

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

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.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • ‘“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
  • Introduction: Mobilizing Shakespeare During the Great War, Smialkowska, M. Sep 2014, In: Shakespeare
  • Patchwork Shakespeare: Community Events at the American Shakespeare Tercentenary (1916), Smialkowska, M. Nov 2014, OuterSpeares: Shakespeare, Intermedia, and the Limits of Adaptation, Toronto, University of Toronto Press
  • Julius Caesar. Directed by Gregory Doran for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Smialkowska, M. Apr 2013, A Year of Shakespeare: Re-living the World Shakespeare Festival, London, Bloomsbury
  • West Side Story, by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, directed and choreographed by Will Tuckett for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages and The Sage at Hall One, The Sage, Gateshead, Smialkowska, M. Apr 2013, A Year of Shakespeare: Re-living the World Shakespeare Festival, London, Bloomsbury
  • An Englishman in New York? Celebrating Shakespeare in America, 1916, Smialkowska, M. May 2012, Locating the English Diaspora, 1500-2010, Liverpool, UK, Liverpool University Press

PGR Supervision

  • Megan Holman Incorporeal Shakespeare: Emotional Identity and Expression in Contemporary Disembodied Adaptation Start Date: 07/10/2014
  • 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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