Guest Lecture: Prof. Jane Taylor, “Newes From the Dead: An Unnatural Moment from the History of Natural Philosophy”, Glasgow

Professor Jane Taylor (University of Leeds): “Newes From the Dead: An Unnatural Moment from the History of Natural Philosophy”

Date: Thursday 10 Nov at 5.30pm,

Location: Room 408, Gilmorehill Hall (9 University Avenue), Theatre Studies, University of Glasgow

In 1650 (the year of Descartes’ death) a young woman was hanged in Oxford for infanticide. Rather remarkably, she revived on the anatomy table. These events provided the basis for a play that I wrote and directed on a commission from Renaissance scholar Stephen Greenblatt, a version of the so-called ‘missing” Shakespeare play, Cardenio. This paper is a consideration of my play, After Cardenio, and the research that it precipitated into the late Shakespeare plays, the Royal Society, and the history of neurology. The saga in some ways is an allegory of the emergence of the modern subject.


Jane Taylor is a South African writer, scholar, and theatre maker. She has worked extensively with Handspring Puppet Company (makers of the puppetry for War Horse) and with artist-director William Kentridge, with whom she wrote the play Ubu and the Truth Commission. Jane currently holds the Wole Soyinka Chair of Theatre at The University of Leeds. She writes extensively about the history of the human subject, sincerity, confessional texts and performances, questions of global justice. Jane also works extensively on Puppetry Arts and Object Theatre.

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