With only a couple weeks until the release date of Monstrous Little Voices (although you can pick up the first four volumes in ebook form right now), I wanted to take a moment to talk about a truly remarkable woman, without whom the book might never have existed.
The following is taken from the foreword of the collected edition, out on March 8th this year:
Note from the Editor
The dedication to this volume honours the memory of Professor Lisa Jardine, who passed away in October 2015 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Professor of Renaissance Studies at UCL and founder of its Centre of Interdisciplinary Research in the Humanities, Lisa had a list of appointments, honours and awards from institutions around the world too long to list here. A Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Historical Society, she was a world authority on the renaissance who spoke eight languages, ancient and modern, an impassioned political advocate and a regular guest on TV and radio. She was also the lecturer for Queen Mary University of London’s Shakespeare course in 1997-1998, when I studied under her.
My enduring recollection of that course – aside from her clearly prodigious knowledge of the subject, and her passion and candour – was her enthusiasm for teaching Shakespeare in a modern context. We studied revisions and updates; we examined Shakespeare’s language in his own time, and ours; we interrogated his politics. I remember she taught Romeo & Juliet almost entirely off the Luhrmann film, and spent half a lecture looking at a shot of a guardsman weeping silently at Princess Diana’s funeral to discuss emotion and eloquence.
I’d barely thought of Lisa for years when I heard the news, and while I have no particular superstitions about coincidence, the fact I was working on this volume at the time struck me as timely. I can’t say if Lisa would have approved of the book you’re holding, but I hope so. She wanted to give Shakespeare to today’s world, and I believe Foz, Kate, Emma, Adrian and Jonathan have done that, and done it some justice to boot. Her voice – never little, and rarely monstrous – will be missed in the world.
David Thomas Moore