Claude Fretz

Claude Fretz

Shakespeare Institute

Contact details

PhD title: Dreams, Sleep and Genre in Shakespeare's Plays
PhD Shakespeare Studies


  • BA English (First-class honours) (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • MA English: Shakespeare in History (Distinction) (University College London)


My research project explores the relationship between dreams, sleep, and the genres of comedy and tragedy in Shakespeare’s plays. Drawing on the different and evolving understandings of dreams and sleep from the classical period up until the Renaissance, my thesis looks at the extent to which Shakespeare’s dramatic uses of sleep and dreams help reshape the classical, traditional conventions of comedy and tragedy. This study offers a new understanding of Shakespeare’s dramaturgy and enables us to move beyond the legacy of psychoanalytic theory by appreciating classical and early modern dreams as something other than expressions of the subconscious.

I have spoken about my research at conferences of international standing, both in the UK and abroad, including the British Shakespeare Association Conference, the Tudor Symposium, and interdisciplinary conferences in Bristol and Paris. I have also spoken at research seminars, graduate conferences, and at the RSC summer school.

My teaching in the University of Birmingham’s English Department has comprised medieval literature, Renaissance drama (including Shakespeare), eighteenth-century poetry, and critical practice. 

My primary research interest lies with the dramatic works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in their early modern contexts, and with their classical, medieval, and European influences/connections. I also retain an interest in dramatic genre, appropriations of Shakespeare, and the history of ideas, especially with interdisciplinary and/or comparative perspectives.

My research is fully funded by the College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham.


‘Postcolonial Appropriations and their Quarrels: Shakespeare’s Tempest and Conrad’s Victory’, Birmingham Journal of Literature and Language, V (2013), 28-36.

‘“Off, off you lendings”: The Exposure of Social and Generic Artifice in Shakespeare’, Paper Shell Review, II (2012), 43-71.