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Holland elected to lead Shakespeare Association of America

Author: Arts and Letters

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Peter D. Holland, internationally renowned Shakespearean scholar and the McMeel Family Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Notre Dame, has been elected vice president of the Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) for 2006-07 by the full membership of the association. The vice president of the SAA automatically serves as president the following year.

The announcement of Holland’s appointment was made at the SAA’s annual conference held April 13 to 15 in Philadelphia. The SAA is a non-profit, academic organization devoted to the study of William Shakespeare and his plays and poems, the cultural milieu in which he lived and worked, and the various roles he has played in world cultures ever since.

Holland’s primary appointment is in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre, for which he is the current chair. He holds a concurrent appointment in the Department of English and also serves as academic director of Actors From The London Stage, one of the oldest touring Shakespeare theater companies in the world.

“It’s a great honor to be elected the next president of the Shakespeare Association of America, especially because the electorate is all the hundreds of academics who research and teach Shakespeare across North America,” Holland said. “I was somewhat surprised at the result because, after all, I am such a newcomer to the U.S. The presidency will give me a wonderful opportunity to let everyone know about all the exciting Shakespeare work at Notre Dame, from Actors From The London Stage to Summer Shakespeare, and our plans for a future graduate program in Shakespeare and Performance.”

Formerly director of The Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham, England, Holland is a textual scholar whose edition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is considered one of the finest in modern times.

Internationally regarded for performance-oriented Shakespearean criticism, Holland was one of the first critics to see the importance of particular actors to the Restoration dramatists’ art of composition.

In addition to his Shakespeare scholarship, Holland is considered a pioneer in the study of Restoration theater – the late 17th century movement that restored theater to British culture after the Puritan Revolution outlawed it in England. His book “The Ornament of Action” has served for some 20 years as one of the most influential works in that field.

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2002, Holland earned his doctorate at the University of Cambridge.

Originally published by Susan Guibert at on April 21, 2006.