Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Professor David Schalkwyk

Profile picture

Academic Director Global Shakespeare

Email: d dot schalkwyk at qmul dot ac dot uk

Tel: +44(0)2078826670

Lock Keeper's Cottage, Mile End Road, Queen Mary University of London

[Global Shakespeare] is about bringing two excellent Universities together, across a number of disciplines, over this phenomenon—Shakespeare--who transcends national boundaries and languages

Professor David Schalkwyk


David has a BA in English and Philosophy from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, a graduate degree in philosophy from the University of South Africa and MAs from Stellenbosch and the University of York, where he was also granted a DPhil.

He has taught at the University of Stellenbosch, the Rand Afrikaans University, George Washington University, the Gallatin School at New York University, and at the University of Cape Town as Professor of English. He left South Africa in 2008 to become Director of Research at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C., where he was editor of Shakespeare Quarterly until 2013.

Since January 2014 he has been Academic Director for Global Shakespeare- leading the set up and delivery of the Global Shakespeare MA and launching the research programme.


David’s lifelong research interests have been divided among Shakespeare, Philosophy and Theory (especially Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jacques Derrida, M.M. Bakhtin and Jacques Lacan) and South African Prison Writing. His work includes the reception of Shakespeare in South Africa, the theory of translation and Shakespeare into Afrikaans, and love and service in Shakespeare and the early modern period. He is interested in theories of language from Plato to Lacan, and has worked especially on performative uses of language in Shakespeare’s poetry and plays. His translation of Karel Schoeman’s novel ‘n Ander Land into English was shortlisted in 1991 for The Independent prize for the best translation of a foreign novel into English. He has twice won the Pringle Prize for the best published essay in English studies in South Africa.

Alongside leading Global Shakespeare, and developing its research and teaching programmes, he is currently working on a book on love in Shakespeare and, following his work on the Robben Island Shakespeare and Sol Plaatje, the appropriations of Shakespeare beyond Europe and North America.

Selected publications

Hamlet’s Dreams: The Robben Island Shakespeare (Bloomsbury, 2013)

Shakespeare, Love and Service (Cambridge, 2008)

Literature and the Touch of the Real (Delaware, 2004)

Speech and Performance in Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Plays (Cambridge, 2002)

He has published eighty essays and chapters in books in journals that include Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare Studies, Shakespeare Survey, Shakespeare International Yearbook, English Literary Renaissance, Symploke, Style, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Shakespeare in Southern Africa and English in Africa. Click here for complete list.


David is the Course Director for the Global Shakespeare MA and the convenor for the core module for this course “Global Shakespeare: History, Theory & Performance” which is also available to the wider postgraduate community as an elective option.

He also convenes and teaches on the Undergraduate module “Global Shakespeare” at Queen Mary University of London which is also available to Associate students.

David welcomes enquiries regarding PhD supervision.

Latest Conference Presentations

Presentation and reading of The Robben Island Bible, by Matthew Hahn, to accompany the Folger exhibition of the Robben Island Shakespeare, June 2013.

Invited talk on Global Shakespeare at Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, July 2013.

“Shakespeare’s Voice”, Symposium on Cognition and Aesthetic Values, University of York, January 2014.

“This earth”, Shakespeare 450 conference, Paris, March 2014.

Closing remarks, Conference on Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C., April 2014.

Plenary presentation, “Inside the Humanities, The Humanities Inside”, Shakespeare Association of America Conference, St. Louis, April 2014.

“The Robben Island Shakespeare”, People’s Palace Projects Shakespeare Form, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, April 2014. “Bottom’s Translations”, conference of Theatre Without Borders, Oxford, June 2014.

Keynote presentation, “Global Shakespeare and the Humanities”, Conference of the International Theatre Association, July 2014.

“Reading Shakespeare’s Voice”, Conference of the South African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Stellenbosch, August 2014.

“Shakespeare’s Poetics”, Helenist Institute, Mexico City, November 2014.

“Shakespeare’s Voice”, Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, February, 2015.

“Shakespeare’s Voice”, Renaissance Study Group, University of Cambridge, April 2015.

“Shakespeare at Home: Or, How Global is Shakespeare Really?”, Renaissance Society of America Conference, Berlin, March, 2015.

“Shaping Fantasies in The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, Shakespeare Association of America Conference, Vancouver, April 2015.

Concluding remarks, “Shakespeare and Global Culture”, NYU Abu Dhabi, April 2015.

For Membership of Professional Bodies and Editorial Boards- click here.



Shakespeare Love & Service

Speech & Performance

Literature & the touch of the real