Claude Fretz

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Associate Professor of English literature (Shakespeare and early modern literature)

Sun Yat-sen University, China


Claude Fretz is Associate Professor of Shakespeare and early modern literature at Sun Yat-sen University (China). He is also Fellow of the research centre ‘European Dream-Cultures’ at Saarland University (Germany), which is funded by the German research foundation (DFG), and honorary Visiting Scholar at Queen’s University Belfast (UK). His PhD is from the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham (UK). His research has attracted funding from various sources in the UK, Luxembourg, China, and Germany. 

Claude’s primary research interest and area of publication lies with the dramatic works of Shakespeare in their early modern (Elizabethan and Jacobean) contexts, and with their classical, medieval, and European influences/connections. He is also interested in contemporary appropriations and adaptations of Shakespeare in global contexts, and is actively involved in interdisciplinary research projects related to dream cultures. He is the author of Dreams, Sleep, and Shakespeare’s Genres (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), a monograph which explores how Shakespeare uses images of dreams and sleep to define his dramatic worlds. This book surveys Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, histories, and late plays, and it argues that Shakespeare systematically exploits early modern physiological, religious, and political understandings of dreams and sleep in order to reshape conventions of dramatic genre and to experiment with dream-inspired plots.

Claude has published journal articles and book chapters on Shakespeare’s works and their early modern contexts, on representations of dreams and sleep in Renaissance literature, on modern theatre practice, and on Restoration drama. He is also co-editor of a forthcoming book entitled Performing Restoration Shakespeare (Cambridge University Press).

Contact details

Sun Yat-sen University

School of Foreign Languages

135 West Xingang Road

Guangzhou 510275, China

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Publication on the dream and related topics


Dreams, Sleep, and Shakespeare’s Genres (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) 

Articles and Chapters  

‘”The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen”: Multisensory Dreams in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili’, Traum–Wissen–Erzählen,  vol. 9 (2021): Träumen mit allen Sinnen, ed. Stephanie Catani and Sophia Mehrbrey (Leiden: Brill; Paderborn: Fink), pp. 157—177.

‘”Not wond’ring at the present, nor the past”: Dreaming through Time and Space in Shakespeare’, Traum–Wissen–Erzählen, vol. 8 (2021): Zeiterfahrung im Traum, ed. Christian Quintes and Laura Vordermayer (Leiden: Brill; Paderborn: Fink), pp. 95—113.

‘“marvellous and surprizing conduct”: The “Masque of Devils” and Dramatic Genre in Thomas Shadwell’s The Tempest’, Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700, 43:2 (2019), 3—28.

‘“Full of ugly sights, of ghastly dreams”: Dreams and Tragedy in Shakespeare’s Richard III’, Cahiers Elisabéthains: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies, 92:1 (2017), 32–49.

‘“Either his notion weakens, or his discernings | Are lethargied”: Sleeplessness and Waking Dreams as Tragedy in Julius Caesar and King Lear’, Etudes Epistémè, 30 (2016).