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02nd February 2016

Exeter College and Oxford University host symposium on Shakespeare and Cervantes

A symposium on the lives and works of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes was held in Exeter College and the University of Oxford’s Weston Library last week to commemorate the 400th anniversary of their deaths.

The two literary greats died within days of each other in 1616. To mark the fourth centenary of their deaths a two-day symposium was held in Oxford to discuss their work, including similarities and influences.

The University of Oxford’s new Vice-Chancellor opened the symposium together with the Spanish Ambassador HE Federico Trillo-Figueroa.

Among the speakers was Exeter College’s Professorial Fellow in Spanish and Oxford University’s King Alfonso XIII Chair of Spanish Professor Edwin Williamson who spoke on “The Influence and Power of Don Quixote“. Rector Sir Rick Trainor closed the symposium on Friday evening, including a reflection on Exeter’s long-standing association with Spanish Studies through the King Alfonso XIII Chair and the Queen Sofía Fellowship in Spanish.

The symposium attracted a lot of praise, particularly in the Spanish press where there has been criticism of the Spanish government for the relative paucity of commemorations of Cervantes in Spain in the 400th year of his death, especially when compared with the many celebrations of Shakespeare that are scheduled to take place in the UK this year. Some of the notable newspapers to cover the symposium include Madrid’s El Mundo, Barcelona’s La Vanguardia, and, in Mexico, the national newspaper El Universal

Speakers and attendees of the symposium including Professor Edwin Williamson, pictured front centre

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