Conferences of this sort are almost always delightful occasions. They bring together like-minded people to focus, for a few hours, on issues and ideas that seem to those in attendance highly important. Moreover, they provide this opportunity in an environment that liberates most of the participants from the daily round of classes and committees, an environment that frees us as well from colleagues who may think there are other subjects more valuable and even more interesting than Shakespeare and Film. Like many other features of academic life, scholarly conferences are pleasant, comfortable, eminently civilized, and (I fear) dangerously insulated from any contexts that could give them life and meaning.



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