n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Stellifying Shakespeare : celestial imperialism and the advent of universal genius
|Article Title||Stellifying Shakespeare : celestial imperialism and the advent of universal genius|
|© Publisher:||Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)|
|Journal||Shakespeare in Southern Africa|
|Affiliations||1 University of Huddersfield, UK|
|Publication Date||Jan 2014|
|Pages||1 - 12|
As astounding as it may sound, the classic 1956 sci-fi film Forbidden Planet, which teleports The Tempest to outer space, did not mark the first time Shakespeare left Earth's orbit. In 1852, four years after the publication of The Apotheosis of Shakespeare - a high-water mark of Victorian Bardolatry - Frank Feather Dally's grandiose vision of Shakespeare's ascension to the heavens would come true. As if cued by Dally's poem, John Herschel - the son of William Herschel, the famed discoverer of Uranus - proposed naming the four Uranian satellites then known after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope: Titania, Oberon, Ariel and Umbriel. Since Pope, however, lifted the name Ariel from the ethereal fairy-servant in Shakespeare's Tempest, arguably three of the four are Shakespearean. The tradition would be formally ratified by the International Astronomical Union in 1948, when the Dutch astronomer Gerard Kuiper discovered a fifth moon and elected to name it Miranda after the heroine of The Tempest. Over the past few decades, thanks to the 1986 Voyager 2 mission and the celestial vistas unveiled by the Hubble Telescope, Shakespeare's Uranian progeny have continued to grow. To date, 22 additional Uranian satellites have been discovered; of these, only one (Belinda) has been dubbed after a character in Pope's Rape of the Lock, while the remaining 21 have been christened after the dramatis personae of Shakespeare. And thereby hangs a tale.
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