Peter S. Donaldson

Professor Post-Tenure

Peter S. Donaldson, Ford International Professor in the Humanities and Professor Post-Tenure of Literature has undergraduate degrees from Columbia and Cambridge and a PhD in English from Columbia. His early research led to the publication of a previously unknown treatise by Stephen Gardiner, England’s chancellor in the reign of Queen Mary, which uses passages from Machiavelli’s The Prince to reflect on English dynastic politics, and later to Machiavelli and Mystery of State (Cambridge U Press, 1988). Since the late 1980s he has focused on two major research areas: Shakespeare on Film and electronic projects including the Shakespeare Electronic ArchiveHamlet on the Ramparts and the Global Shakespeares Video and Performance Archive.

Donaldson is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (UK), has held research fellowships from the NEH and ACLS, and was the Inaugural Lloyd Davis Distinguished Visiting Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Queensland (2006) as well as Class of 1960 Fellow for Excellence in Teaching and the first holder of the Ann Fetter Friedlander Professorship in the Humanities at MIT.

Research Interests
Shakespeare; Shakespeare on film; Renaissance literature; Machiavelli; educational technology and digital archives
Shakespearean Films/Shakespearean Directors
Unwin Hyman, 1990/Reissued Routledge, 2013

Machiavelli and Mystery of State
Cambridge University Press, 1988

A Machiavellian Treatise by Stephen Gardiner
Cambridge University Press, 1976

Selected Articles
 “ The King’s Speech: Shakespeare, Empire and Global Media”  Shakespeare International Yearbook Vol 13 (2013) 183-214.

Hamlet, the Heike and the Fall of Troy”  Shakespeare: Journal of the British Shakespeare Association  9:3 (2013)  191-203.

” Shakespeare and Media Allegory”. Shakespeare and Genre: From Early Modern Inheritances to Postmodern Legacies.  Ed. Anthony P/ Guneratne.  London: Palgrave, 2012. 223-40.

“Bottom and the Gramophone: Class, Comedy and Mass Media in Michael Hoffman’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.Shakespeare Survey 61 (2008) 23-35

“The Shakespeare Electronic Archive: Collections and Multimedia Tools for Teaching and Research, 1992-2010”  Shakespeare  4.3 [special issue on digital Shakespeare, Alan Galey and Raymond Siemens, eds. (2008) 250-260.

“Hamlet among the Pixelvisionaries: Video Art, Authenticity and Wisdom in Michael Almeryeda’s Hamlet” A Concise Companion to Shakespeare on Screen. Ed. Diana Henderson. Oxford: Blackwell’s, 2006: 216-37.

“Game Space/Tragic Space: Julie Taymor’s Titus” in Barbara Hodgdon, ed., A Companion to Shakespeare and Performance. Eds. Barbara Hodgdon and William Worthen. Oxford: Blackwell’s, 2005: 457-477.

“‘Let’s Be Going:’ A Parent Reads GeekCerealRethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. Eds. David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003: 253-260. Hypertext version at

“Shakespeare in the Age of Post-Mechanical Reproduction: Sexual and Electronic Magic in Prospero’s Books,” Shakespeare the Movie II Eds. Richard Burt and Lynda E. Boose. New York: Routledge, 2003: 105-119. First appeared in Shakespeare the Movie, Eds. Lynda E. Boose and Richard Burt. Routledge, 1997: 148-168.

“‘Two of Both Kinds’: Marriage and Modernism in Peter Hall’s Midsummer Night’s Dream” The Reel Shakespeare: Alternative Shakespeare and Theory, Eds. Lisa Starks and Courtney Lehmann. American University Presses, 2002: 43-58.

“Cinema and the Kingdom of Death: Richard Loncraine’s Richard III” Shakespeare Quarterly 52.2 (Summer, 2002): 241-259.

“‘In Fair Verona:’ Media, Spectacle and Performance in William Shakespeare’s Romeo+Juliet” Shakespeare after Mass Media, Ed. Richard Burt. Palgrave, 2002: 59-82.

“‘All which it inherit:’ Shakespeare, Globes and Global Media” Shakespeare Survey 52 (1999): 183-200.

“Digital Archives and Sibylline Fragments: The Tempest and the End of Books,” Postmodern Culture 8.2 (Jan., 1998). Special Issue on Film. (Online Journal at also at:

“Shakespeare and Electronic Textuality: Digital Archive as Expanded Text,” Electronic Text: Investigations in Method and Theory, Ed. Kathryn Sutherland Oxford: Clarendon Pres, 1997: 173-197.

“Yta och djup: Blodets tron som filmisk allegori,” (translation of “Surface and Depth: Throne of Blood as Cinematic Allegory,” [ch. 3 of Shakespearean Films/ Shakespearean Directors]) Modern Filmteorie 2, Eds. Lars Gustaf Andersson and Eric Hedling. Lund: Studentlitteratur, 1995: 104-119.

“Taking on Shakespeare: Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V,Shakespeare Quarterly 42.1 (Spring, 1991): 60-71.

“Machiavelli and imitatio dei,Machiavelli Studies 2, (1989): 3-25.

“Liz White’s Othello,” Shakespeare Quarterly, 38.4 (Winter. 1987): 482-95.

“Olivier, Hamlet and Freud,” Cinema Journal 26.4 (Summer, 1987): 22-48.

“Cardinal Pole, Machiavelli and Prophetic Typology,” Leaders of the Reformation and Counter Reformation, Ed. Richard DeMolen. Associated University Presses, 1985 : 211-46.

“Bishop Gardiner, Machiavellian,” Historical Journal 28 (1980): 1-16.

“George Rainsford’s Ritratto D’Ingliterra (1556)”. Edition and translation. Camden Miscellany 27 (1980): 49-111.

Pete Donaldson talks about Global Shakespeares at MIT.