ABSTRACT

The Hollow Crown's adaption of Shakespeare's history plays as a Quality Television miniseries is replete with an opulent production design, a fast-paced and lucid narrational strategy, and an all-star Royal Shakespeare Company and BBC cast. At the same time, the miniseries' political commentary is a complicated blend of contemporary dramaturgical interventions within traditionally conservative interpretations under the guise of literary fidelity. As a transnational production, the miniseries precariously commodifies British literary correctness to present the miniseries to international audiences as “authentically” British and therefore “authoritatively” Shakespearean. The miniseries' representation of Welsh and French characters often equates non-English languages and accented non-British English with savagery, subordinance, and arrogance. In particular, the Henry V episode normalizes the play's imperialist politics as an authoritative interpretation by presenting Henry V as a traditionally virtuous hero while avoiding any significant commentary on economically motivated pre-emptive wars of conquest.

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