Lectures and Talks

Contemporary Shakespeare: King Lear

Wed Jan 26, 2022 | 12 PM

Vancouver Art Gallery

From left to right: Dr. Paul Yachnin, Dr. Gregory Mackie, Melissa Karmen Lee

with Dr. Paul Yachnin and Dr. Gregory Mackie

Wednesday, January 26 | 12 PM PST


A Tyrannical Father. Greedy and obsequious daughters. Inheritance, family conflict and a waning patriarchy. Join us for an insightful and exciting conversation about family drama in William Shakespeare’s King Lear and the play’s ongoing relevance in television and film today.

Esteemed Shakespeare scholar Dr. Paul Yachnin, Dr. Gregory Mackie, Norman Colbeck Curator, UBC Library of Rare Books and Special Collections, and Melissa Karmen Lee, the Gallery’s Director of Education and Public Programs, will discuss Akira Kurosawa’s iconic film Ran and HBO’s widely acclaimed television series Succession, among other contemporary cultural markers and references to King Lear.

Simultaneous translation from English to Mandarin will be provided on Zoom.

In celebration of the exhibition For All Time: The Shakespeare FIRST FOLIO, the Vancouver Art Gallery launches Contemporary Shakespeare, a three-part webinar series on William Shakespeare’s plays. In 1606, during an outbreak of the bubonic plague when theatres were shuttered in England, Shakespeare wrote three of his most famous tragedies: King Lear, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. In recognition of the cyclical nature of history and our own global pandemic situation, in this series, we will take a closer look at the enduring relevance of these three works.

This webinar series is being presented in collaboration with Bard on the Beach. The exhibition For All Time is co-organized by the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

This talk will be presented on Zoom and streamed live to the Gallery’s Facebook account here »

Questions? Submit them during the Zoom presentation using the Q&A function. You can also engage with your fellow attendees and panelists during the event using the Chat function.

New to Zoom? Learn how to register and attend a webinar here »


Dr. Paul Yachnin is Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies at McGill University and has published widely on early modern English literature and culture. He has worked as Director of the Early Modern Conversions project (2013–2019) and, before that, of the Making Publics (MaPs) project (2005-2010). From 2009 to 2010, Yachnin served as President of the Shakespeare Association of America. Among his publications are the books, Stage-Wrights and The Culture of Playgoing in Early Modern England (with Anthony Dawson); editions of Richard II and The Tempest; and edited books such as Making Publics in Early Modern Europe and Forms of Association. With Bronwen Wilson, he is co-editor of a new multi-year, multi-volume series from Edinburgh University Press, titled Conversions: Religions, Cultures, and Transformations in Early Modern Europe and its Worlds. He publishes non-academic essays about Shakespeare and modern life, including titles such as “Alzheimer’s Disease: What would Shakespeare Do?” and “Tragedy as a Way of Life.” For the past eight years, Yachnin has been working on higher education practice and policy. He was lead author of the White Paper on the Future of the PhD in the Humanities. He is wrapping up TRACE McGill, which has tracked the career pathways of more than 4,500 PhD grads from across all the faculties at McGill and has told the stories of 300 of them. He is also developing an international PhD tracking and storytelling project called TRaCE Transborder.

Dr. Gregory Mackie specializes in Victorian and Modernist literature, drama, and book history. His monograph Beautiful Untrue Things: Forging Oscar Wilde’s Extraordinary Afterlife (2019) examines a lost archive of Wilde forgeries that flooded the rare book market in the 1920s. He has been the recipient of research fellowships from the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA and the Bibliographical Society of America. He received a UBC Faculty of Arts Research Award in 2015 and a Killam Teaching Prize in 2020. Dr. Mackie also serves as Norman Colbeck Curator at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections division, where he advises on acquisitions and special projects. He has also curated exhibitions for the Rare Books divisions of both UBC campuses including For All Time: The Shakespeare First Folio at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Melissa Karmen Lee is the Director of Education and Public Programs at the Vancouver Art Gallery. She has written on seventeenth-century New World narratives, reconceptualizing domesticity and hospitality in such publications as Hospitality and Society, Canadian Literature and Journal of Asian Pacific Communication. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Lancaster University on Literature and Visual Cultures.


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