Faculty Profile

Nick Clary, PhD

Professor of English, Emeritus

Ph.D. University of Notre Dame
B.A. LaSalle College

Areas of Expertise:

Shakespeare, Milton, Renaissance Literature, Drama

Courses I Teach:

Milton, Shakespeare, Honors Colloquium, and First Year Seminar: Drama and Culture

My Saint Michael's:

In my more than 35 years on this faculty, I have had the pleasure of working with many young individuals who have gone on to become outstanding citizens. What make these students special are not so much the positions they have achieved in the work place but the values and ideals that they have carried with them into their careers.

The best part about teaching at Saint Michael’s is that the classes are small, which allows for a great deal of discussion and active learning, with many opportunities to write, receive commentary on written work, and engage in peer reviewing.  I appreciate how the students at Saint Michael's are respectful, not only to faculty and staff but also to one another, and among them there is an inspiring culture of volunteerism.

I like to teach all of my courses but I prefer Shakespeare because it is always a challenge for students who are not used to reading Early Modern English texts, and it often brings out the best in them as students of literature.

My research interests are Shakespeare, Milton, Renaissance Literature and Drama. A Renaissance specialist, I am working on the New Variorum Edition of Hamlet, which will be published by the Modern Language Association.  I am also one of four editors who created and now supervise the Hamlet Web site that was celebrated at the International Shakespeare Conference during a champagne reception in the gardens of the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, England (www.hamletworks.org).  My co-editors and I have received three substantial grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support this work. I have also published several articles on Shakespeare's plays, particularly on Hamlet, and review books on Shakespeare for The Sixteenth Century Journal and Shakespeare Quarterly

Recent Scholarly Achievements:

Awarded the Excellence in Service award (2015), Excellence in Scholarship award (1999) and Excellence in Teaching award (1988) at the Faculty Convocation.

Published journal articles:

"Maclise and Macready: Collaborating Illustrations of Hamlet" (The Shakespeare Bulletin, April 2007)

"Having It Both Ways: Reading Two Early Acting Editions of Hamlet" (The Shakespeare Newsletter, April 2006). 

Life Off Campus:

I enjoy fishing, and I have a modest coin collection.

Favorite Quote:

"To thine own self be true."

Nick Clary, a member of the Vermont Shakespeare Festival’s Board of Directors, as well as a Saint Michael's Emeritus Professor of English, arranged for the College to host a Salon Reading/Discussion in the Farrell Room on Sunday, June 4. This event included a staged reading of Lolita Chakrabarti’s play Red Velvet, followed by a discussion that Nick briefly introduced and co-facilitated during the discussion. This play is a fictionalized dramatization based on the true story of Ira Aldridge’s performance in the role of Othello at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 1833.  Aldridge was the first non-white actor to play this role on a major stage in England.  Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, had collapsed on stage while playing Othello.  This black American actor was asked to take over the role. But as riots in the streets over the abolition of slavery occur outside, we are invited to imagine how the cast, the critics, and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theatre and behind the scenes.  The actor Jolie Garrett played Ira Aldridge in this staged reading and local actors play the remaining parts. Garrett previously has performed in Vermont Stage's The Mountaintop where he played the role of Martin Luther King Jr. He has worked for numerous critically acclaimed theatre companies including The Negro Ensemble Company and Shakespeare's New Globe in London.
(posted June 2017)

Nick Clary, professor of English, in addition to being Coordinating Editor of the HamletWorks.org Internet site and co-editor of the ongoing work on the Variorum edition of Hamlet (to be published by the Modern Language Association, when completed), has for several years been on the Advisory Board of the SHAKSPER Internet Conference.  Over the Christmas recess Nick was invited to join the Board of Directors for the Vermont Shakespeare Festival (formerly the Vermont Shakespeare Company). He will be introduced at the next meeting of the Board, January 30.
(posted January 2016)

Nick Clary, professor of English, recently had an abstract, keywords and tweets written on his behalf and approved for online publication, for his article entitled “Maclise and Macready: collaborating Illustrators of Hamlet,” published in 25.1 of Shakespeare Bulletin. Nick’s essay focuses on the relationship between theatrical performance and the visual arts through a specific exploration of the relationship between the nineteenth-century actor William Charles Macready and the painter Daniel Maclise.
(posted September 2015)

Nicholas Clary, professor of English, is author of a review of Rebecca Olson’s Arras Hanging: The Textile That Determined Early Modern Literature and Drama (University of Delaware Press, 2013), appearing in the latest issue of Shakespeare Quarterly (Fall 2014)
(posted April 2015)

Nick Clary, professor of English, wrote a review of David Bevington's Murder Most Foul: Hamlet through the Ages (Oxford University Press), which appeared as the lead review in the Summer 2013 edition of Shakespeare Quarterly.

Nicholas Clary, professor of English, on August 22-23 chaired a meeting of the HamletWorks.org and the New Variorum Hamlet editing teams on Long Island. In addition to the editors present, there were team editors from University of Nevada, Purdue University, and MIT who joined in via virtual video conferencing. “The meeting was productive as work moves forward on the two related Hamlet projects, and on the joining of our HamletWorks database with the Shakespeare Digital Archives at MIT,” reports Nick, who also has a review of David Bevington’s new book (Murder Most Foul: Hamlet through the Ages) forthcoming in the next issue of the Shakespeare Quarterly.

Nicholas Clary, professor of English, is the new coordinating editor of the HamletWorks web site, a tool for scholars related to the still-in-preparation New Variorum Hamlet edition, which Clary co-edits. A web version allows richer search and information-storage capacities. The project’s editorial board picked Clary at the Shakespeare Association of America conference in April, after the site’s founder died last winter. Clary also presented in Prague last July with an MIT scholar on their project to join the HamletWorks databases and MIT Shakespeare Digital Archives. Their three-year collaboration was highlighted in a recent Shakespeare Newsletter. They’re also working on a prototype for an ebook/Kindle Reader version of the database.

English professor to oversee online edition of New Variorum Hamlet

Nicholas Clary, professor of English, is the new coordinating editor of the HamletWorks web site, a tool for scholars and richer in some ways than the still-in-preparation New Variorum Hamlet edition, for which Clary is a co-editor.

Clary said the intention all along has been that the HamletWorks database would serve as a precursor to the print edition. He explained why both are useful:

“Editors and scholars who have contributed to the history and the reception of Shakespeare are represented in an orderly way in variorum editions.  What makes an eVariorum edition an especially useful resource on the Internet is that more information can be included and less compression is required,” he said. “Despite its expansion of data, the database can be quickly and efficiently searched.”

The previous coordinating editor for the HamletWorks site was the editing team’s founder and site’s animating force, Bernice W. Kliman, who died shortly after Thanksgiving. The editorial board for the project officially named Clary to the post at its meeting during the Shakespeare Association of America conference in April. The web site officially launched in the summer of 2006.

Two new editors also were brought onto the editing team, which now numbers five. Clary remains one of three co-editors on the New Variorum Hamlet edition.

In another related project, Clary made a tandem presentation in Prague last July with Pete Donaldson of Massachusetts Institute of Technology on their collaborative project to join the HamletWorks databases and the MIT Shakespeare Digital Archives. The two men have been working on that project for about three years and their collaboration was the subject of an article in the Shakespeare Newsletter journal recently.

Clary and Donaldson also are working with the HamletWorks webmaster, Jeffery Triggs at Rutgers, on a prototype for an ebook/Kindle Reader version of the site’s database. Triggs has extensive previous experience working on the online Oxford English Dictionary project, a resource that is available through the Saint Michael’s College library.

During remarks at the Prague conference last July, Clary expounded on the utility of the HamletWorks database for scholars: “Anyone who thinks that they may have a new idea about a line or passage from the play can find out in a virtual nanosecond whether their reading is, in fact, original,” he told his audience. “In providing all known commentary on the play, the HamletWorks database to a certain extent represents a return to the origins of the Shakespeare variorum in the 18th century, in which new editions absorbed the notes of their predecessors and then added to them, such that the number of volumes required for each new edition began to multiply... As one of the New Variorum Shakespeare general editors puts it, variorum editions are not intended to ‘be an archive of every word written about a play, but at best a judicious selection of fact and commentary, one that does justice to scholarly readers and, of course, to Shakespeare.’”

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