William C. Carroll

Professor of English Emeritus, Boston University


400 Years later: Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Early America


Speech as President of Shakespeare Association of America

“Philadelphia in the 1700s was one of the very few places on the vast, nearly empty American continent where a culture of theater could be established,” said Carroll, director of graduate studies in the English department. “It’s not enough to have playwrights and actors, though both of those were also in short supply, but a living theater needs a dependable audience, which in turn means an adequate density of citizens who to a greater or lesser extent share enough values to be able to join together occasionally in the communal ritual of going to the theater. This meant, in practice, that only Boston, New York, and Philadelphia could have been expected to sustain such an enterprise at this time.”


Interview on A Midsummer Night’s Dream

One of my interests is the way a director decides to represent magic on stage. How’s he going to show Puck doing his tricks? There’s a stage direction that reads, “Enter Puck, invisible.” It means nobody can see him, but he has to be there. One of the things that Shakespeare does in the play is investigate the conventions of the stage.”


Corinne Jaber Residency – Staging Shakespeare in Kabul

“I first ran across Corinne Jaber when I saw an Associated Press report on her production of Love’s Labour’s Lost in September 2005,” says William C. Carroll, a CAS professor and chair of English, who had written his dissertation on the early Shakespeare comedy decades before. While working on an essay for an international Shakespeare conference, Carroll says, “it occurred to me to try to contact her, and to my surprise, she responded. In the course of talking with her, I thought, why not have her come to BU if I could secure funding? What I particularly liked was that she could speak to such different audiences, as she will do when here.”