Impact UK Location: Litherland

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Is Shakespeare Good for Us?

Summary of the impact

This case study looks at the research of Dr William Rossiter, who was a Senior Lecturer in English Literature, specializing in late medieval and early modern literature. The mandatory study of Shakespeare at GCSE and A-level presupposes a moral virtue inherent in studying Shakespeare's works, and Dr Rossiter sought to establish whether this moral virtue exists and to identify what it consists of. For the project called `Shakespeare for Schools', he gave a series of lectures and workshops on the topic in 2013, primarily but not exclusively aimed at school students. Local A-level students from a varied demographic were invited to attend a lecture and workshop on Shakespeare's comedies, tragedies or sonnets, depending on the texts they were studying, followed by a further seminar three months later, with a view to enhancing their knowledge of the early modern ethical principles that underpin those texts. The general public were also invited to a lecture on the themes of time and quality of life in Shakespeare's sonnets delivered on the anniversary of his birth/death (23 April 2013), as part of the opening night of Liverpool City Council's In Other Words literary festival. The impact of the events lies in the effect of the university-level analysis of Shakespeare's works and the moral code they foster, or are seen to foster, upon groups approaching Shakespeare from outside of academia. This impact initiative sought to (a) emphasize the accessibility of Shakespeare and early modern studies, (b) identify the ways in which Shakespearean ethics affect everyday ethical decisions, (c) interrogate the mandatory teaching of Shakespeare in UK schools, wherein his works are taught as part of the GCSE English syllabus and at A-level, and (d) encourage local students to apply to university by introducing them to university-level research.

Submitting Institution

Liverpool Hope University

Unit of Assessment

English Language and Literature

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Language, Communication and Culture: Literary Studies
History and Archaeology: Historical Studies
Philosophy and Religious Studies: Philosophy

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