Bryan Reynolds | Reviews & Commentary

Intermedial Theater: Performance Philosophy, Transversal Poetics, and the Future of Affect (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)


“Intermedial Theater is a spirited excursion across the world of posthuman thought and action. Who or what performs beyond the epistemological flattening of humans and the non-human? Here Shakespearean theater meets extreme sports, theoretical concepts encounter the agency of objects, and disciplinary rigor mortis collides with transversal euphoria. Mixing a heady brew of performances of philosophy and philosophies of performance, Bryan Reynolds and his crew of transdisciplinary collaborators offer a spell-binding demonstration of the potential of the emerging field of performance philosophy.” (Jon McKenzie, Dean’s Fellow for Media & Design, Visiting Professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University, USA)

 “Infectious theoretical investigation drives this book across trans-historical and trans-contextual ideas vital to theatre. Its innovative modes of understanding intermediality, changing affective states, and ‘becomings’ posit ways for seeing ideas anew, for rethinking historical questions, and looking forward. Reynolds creates a prismatic focus around ideas so that we see them again and again, but through different lenses. In effect, theatre studies finds itself in new places.” (Jennifer Parker-Starbuck, Head of Department and Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Roehampton, UK)

 “So much more than a theory book or a period book, Intermedial Theater: Performance Philosophy, Transversal Poetics, and the Future of Affect is a statement of vision, practice, and performance. Dramatist and theorist Bryan Reynolds and crew invite readers into the electric, kinetic, worlds generated by transversal theater and theory. The results are ‘fractalicious.’ You may never want to leave.” (Julian Yates, Professor of English and Material Culture Studies, University of Delaware, USA)

 “In this provocative book on contemporary European postdramatic theater, Bryan Reynolds’ unique writing voice gives the reader an exciting, performative experience of the productions from critical perspectives that reflect current rhythms of filmic and digital media. Reynolds writes the way people’s brains work in this electronic age, and performs his intellectual persona on the page as it reads the stage. I love the book's performative style. It is the intellectual equivalent of a stage performance.” (Peter Lichtenfels, Professor of Theatre & Dance, University of California, Davis, USA)

 “In this important and impressive book the concept of transversality is used to describe and to understand the formation of subjectivity in everyday and artistic practices. For this, it is developed in the context of theories of the subject and elaborated by analyzing literary texts. The book convincingly shows how transversality can be performed and realized in theatre work. It is a must-read for everybody who is interested in the condition of subjectivity today.” (Rainer Winter, Chair Professor of Media and Cultural Theory, Klagenfurt University, Austria)

 “Equal parts essay, performance, and radical philosophy, Reynolds’s latest book extends his inimitable experiment in transversal poetics to the intersecting streams of media, art, and theater, with constant reference to Hamlet. A stunningly inventive, perceptive, and generous act of criticism that will shake loose your habits of perception, challenging you to re-discover that the true thrill of thinking is rooted in the pleasure of being alive.” (Henry S. Turner, Professor of English, Rutgers University, USA)



The Return of Theory in Early Modern English Studies Vol. 2, Co-Editor, with Paul Cefalu & Gary Kuchar (Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)


“Volume II’s outliers make clear the most important point of contention in our return to theory: anti-dualism and what this means for human agency as well as for our understandings of the political and the economic, which also might be to say, of the historical. For this reason, all of us should read … The Return of Theory in Early Modern English Studies, Volume II.” (Sharon O’Dair, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 69, 2014)


"For a bracing survey of theoretical developments in the field something one would need if she or he had been absorbed in some particular project for five or ten years without minding the critical discourse of the moment nothing is more economical than the second volume of The Return of Theory in Early Modern English Studies, edited by Paul Cefalu, Gary Kuchar, and Bryan Reynolds, the successor to a similar book edited by Cefalu and Reynolds in 2010. The challenge of such a collection, of course, is that the contributors must produce an essay of literary analysis while discussing the theory it adapts, without reifying the latter too much or lapsing into predictability (because after all, 'theory' in a title like this usually means 'theory with which the reader is already familiar'). I am glad to report that the thirteen chapters here mostly avoid these dangers, led by Julia Reinhard Lupton's luminous essay that brings 'affordance theory, scenography, and architecture and urbanism' into conversation with 'the spaces traveled and tested by Shakespearean drama' (p. 146) and Drew Daniel's turn to Empedocles as an alternative model to the Lucretian Renaissance described in much recent work." Roland Greene, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900.

The Return of Theory in Early Modern English Studies: Tarrying with the Subjunctive, Co-Editor, with Paul Cefalu (Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

“The contributors draw on current and emerging fields – cognitive science, the new formalism, political theology – to cast exciting new light on Renaissance texts. This is an essential collection for anyone interested in knowing where the study of early modern literature is headed.”

− Richard Halpern, Johns Hopkins University, USA

“This book makes theory exciting again, both in itself and as a catalyst to re-visioning early modern texts. After a dreary end-of-theory decade, it's good to read essays energized by their engagements with neuroscience, political theology, semantics, and new formalisms. This very smart collection makes a compelling intellectual case for theory's resurgence.”

− Jean E. Howard, George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, USA


The Green Knight

“Bryan Reynolds’ directorial vision was different than the norm, including a minimalistic set and a lot of singing and dancing. . . The show is a bit aggressive, visually, with a high concentration of sexual tension. . .

− Carmen Stroia, Aplauze Magazine

“All in all, I laughed and felt good. The play didn’t take itself too seriously and it didn’t try to make profound meanings out of itself. If you missed it the day before yesterday, you can see it again today, which I very much recommend.”

− Radu Alexandru, Aplauze Magazine


Eve’s Rapture

Having been lulled into a false confidence that I knew exactly where this show was heading, I was delightedly surprised by the unexpected plot developments following the seduction of Eve. And what an Eve! Played by Kendra Smith, this is certainly not the Eve from the Bible. This Eve kicks ass! . . . I fell in love with the characters of Eve and Satan, and I found the philosophical issues raised intriguing and provocative. It’s always bothered me that a God so allegedly ‘perfect’ should be the source of beauty, but also ugliness; purity, as well as sin. Why would He create Lucifer when He already foresaw the inevitable betrayal? ‘Eve’s Rapture’ attempts to answer this question, in a tone of religious irreverence that is sure to delight more open-minded audiences . . .


“Part-parable, part–comic strip fable, part–action drama, the play speaks powerfully to the unseen forces and symbols that dominate our lives. . .The end of innocence comes after Satan personally tempts her to bite the apple, then fucks her wildly - leaving them both wowed by their unexpected erotic rapport.  Their intercourse marks the beginning of Eve's total transformation; whereas Adam develops the doldrums, and worse. By play's end, Eve's one gal you surely wouldn't want to mix it up with.  Part parable, part comic strip fable, part action drama, the play speaks powerfully to the unseen forces and symbols which dominate our lives. . . . As the prime mover of the action, Marshall's performance is one of understated mastery.  As his wife/daughter Sin, Sage Howard sizzles. Robert Cohen directs.”

LA Weekly: “EVE'S RAPTURE: GO! [highest rating]”

“Out in Hollywood our own Kid About Town (Reyna) has been busy checking out the theater scene and has stumbled across a production that screams HIT!!! Eve's Rapture is in Kid About Town's opinion one of her all time favorite plays. . . . The writing is nothing short of top notch & the acting is a tour de force! God's creations run amok!! . . . Robert Cohen directs what could have been a convoluted story into a masterpiece of ironies. The twist & turns begin when darling Eve basically goes Tomb Raider & starts a chain reaction in the wonderful world God has given us. . . . The amazing Bryan Reynolds sat down to write and this action comedy of epic proportions came tumbling out!

If you are deeply religious bring your bible & holy water (although I doubt you would be on Boy's Buzz reading this review to begin with!) Kid About Town gives this off the wall showcase her unwavering, twisted approval!”

Boy About Town: “Eve’s Rapture Steals Reyna’s Heart”

“It always takes nerve to put a new adaptive spin on an old, well-known tale, but to take one of the oldest tales out there - the Biblical creation story of Adam and Eve – and re-mix it into a Warchowski Brothers-style sci-fi action adventure complete with sex and violence, takes some serious edge. In director Robert Cohen’s fantastically-realized production by the Transversal Theater, Bryan Reynolds’ ‘Eve’s Rapture’ takes one permutation of an idea hinted at in the Old Testament and turns it completely inside out. . . . This is definitely not one you’ll take your Sunday school class to, but with the provocative way in which Reynolds re-engineers the cosmos, you’ll most assuredly leave with a few new ideas in your head.”

The Tolucan Times: “Genesis: Reloaded”

“. . . Luke Cantarella’s sci-fi–meets-goth setting, all very video-game delicious (costumes by Christa Mathis). Kendra Smith is a lovely, lanky Eve, looking to mix it up with her placid partner (Ryan Patrick Welsh) in the garden but finding snakes are much more up her alley. Chris Marshall is a pretty hot Satan, so who can really blame her? The solid Martin Swoverland and Helen Sage Howard do super turns as armed archangels and the devil’s deadly minions.

Backstage: “Eve’s Rapture”


Transversal Subjects: From Montaigne to Deleuze after Derrida (Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

“This book is a treasure trove of sparkling new ideas, new connections and new directions. In short, it is the perfect example of its own topic, namely transversality. It has a singular and distinctive voice, yet that voice is collectively and collaboratively enunciated so the one is always the many. It is a stunning performance that ranges the length and breadth of modernity and postmodernity.”

− Ian Buchanan, Professor of Critical and Cultural Theory, Cardiff University, UK, and Editor, Deleuze Studies

“Bryan Reynolds and company have done it again. Here they use phenomenology, hermeneutics, neuroscience, psychoanalysis, and ‘schizoanalysis’ to cross various subjectivities. They explore gene-like (or virus like) memes, unintentional mimicry, the ‘Shakespearean G-spot,’ its antitheatrical critics, the ‘naming-function,’ performance anxiety, hypochondria, masochism, cartography, panopticism, historiography, feral children, playground reforms, cannibalism, terrorism, civility, human rights, and more − in this wild ride through diverse theoretical frontiers.”

− Mark Pizzato, Professor of Theatre, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA

“Bryan Reynolds and his collaborators have produced an intriguing and insightful work on the problems of consciousness, desire, subjectivity, and cognition. Transversal Subjects is a major intervention in contemporary theory.”

− Robert Markley, Professor of English, University of Illinois, USA

“This collaborative book is a unique attempt at a synthesis of poststructuralist theories (Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari) with more traditional interpretations of subjectivity in phenomenology and reader-response theories. Based on a wide range of texts from Shakespeare and Montaigne to philosophical and architectural responses to 9/11, it convincingly argues for the importance and reconfiguration of subjectivity as an experiential process and reflexive power.”

− Martin Procházka, Professor of English, American and Comparative Literature, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

“Transversal Subjects takes on Félix Guattari's claim that ‘among the fogs and miasmas which obscure out fin de millénaire, the question of subjectivity is now returning as a leitmotif’ and pushes it deeply into our post 9/11 present. The book taps with equal sprezzatura into theoretical, historical and artistic reservoirs, its diverse voices and arguments held together by a deep commitment to the subjunctive as a means to 'move' subjects and send them off onto transversal trajectories. The intellectual energy and the adventurous spirit of Transversal Subjects takes your mind back to the pleasures and the excitement of the playground; the maybe most communal of heterotopias. If your body can follow, so much the better!”

− Hanjo Berressem, Professor of American Studies, University of Cologne, Germany

“Like intricate fractals and other paradoxical or nonsensical worlds, the corpus of Bryan Reynolds evolves by expanding from within. In Transversal Subjects, the recursive, (re-)iterative itinerary of Reynolds' work spreads tentacles into new territories, demonstrating once again that Reynolds' collaborative means of production performatively enacts the singular conceptual (non-)logic of transversality. This is synthetic, transdiscplinary thought in its most supple form, providing a powerful tool for contemporary interventions, opening spaces for colleagues and students alike to step up, step into, and perform the next becoming. ‘WELCOME to the machine.”

− Paul A. Harris, Loyola Marymount University, USA; Co-Editor, SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism

“’Use your transversal lube now!’ (p. 121). This compellingly eccentric and 'ecstatically alive' (p. 35) work is Reynolds's fourth book on transversality. . . . Reynolds and his friends prove to be extremely accomplished 'fugitive dealers' (p. 109) in the highest of high theory; their approach seems intended to replicate the lucid, precise expansiveness of the 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine under the aegis of which this book is, it seems to this reviewer, rather coyly (p. 21), yet altogether appropriately, placed. A towering achievement and an amulet against aphanisis, destined to have theory-haters everywhere screaming for the thought-police.”

− Oliver Davis, French Studies


Lumping in Fargo

“The production starts off, in the manner of The Tempest, with a menacing storm. . . . The ingenuity of it all is impressive. Reynolds clearly knows his Shakespeare inside and out — and he clearly likes turning the inside part out, mashing together disparate plays, plots, characters, and manners . . . I was prepared to applaud. Lumping in Fargo is clever, sophisticated, and provocative.”

−  Kent R. Lehnhoff, Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation

“a brilliant, cutting satire of the American society, with a wink on the stereotypes and the American lifestyle, including first and foremost the omnipresent Americanization. . . the comedic, satirical tone of the performance, allow us to consider ‘Lumping in Fargo’ as one of the most interesting events in this year’s Festival.”

−  Lukas Rudzinski,

“How are we to connect with Shakespeare without sexual molestation, a revolver, the court, and an interior decorator? − impossible!. . . the whole was performed with marvelous unpretentiousness. . .Shakespeare found his place, the absurd amused, and the music gently soothed. . .”

− Chorzów, Prasówki

“The climate of the scenes conjured up by disturbing music and the play of the light (and in the textual layer harking back to Shakespeare) conveys on the whole a certain metaphysical aura mixed with an air of mystery.”

− Marta Odziomek,

“. . . The artists of the American Transversal Theater have shown the most acute absence of respect for the Stratford Master, in preparing a mad and kitschy musical “Lumping in Fargo. . . The play is an obvious and merciless parody of American popular culture -- first and foremost soap opera and courtroom drama. It turns out that the carefully chosen fragments of Shakespeare’s plays (sometimes, in a single retort or a fragment of a song, there were quotes from two or three plays) fit astonishingly well this kitschy stylistics.”

− Agata Kirol, Mirosław Baran, Gazeta Wyborcza Trójmiasto


Blue Shade

“Reynolds’ transversal theater’s goal is to make his audience look at their own lives and question whether or not they have better alternatives, to hopefully ponder and act upon it when they’ve already left the theater. . .Blue Shade succeeds.”

− Jeffrey Lo, New University

Blue Shade plays with chronology and mediatized interfaces in its mise-en-scène, thrusting the audience into a televisual, yet insistently theatrical, world of sudden twists and exaggerated emotions. . . Blue Shade's capacity to parlay audacity into critique made it ultimately worthwhile and justified its distinguished heritage.”

− Donovan Sherman, Theatre Journal


Transversal Enterprises in the Drama of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries: Fugitive Explorations (Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

“An original social theory and research methodology that draws on cultural anthropology, cognitive science, and physics as well as phenomenology and materialism, transversal poetics is Bryan Reynolds' brilliant response to the need for more politically charged, inclusive, and witty critical inquiry. This book will not only be enormously valuable to students and scholars of early modern English theatre and culture, but it will also be one with which future scholarship in these fields will have to contend.”

− Patrice Pavis, Professor of Theatre, University of Paris VIII-Saint-Denis, France

“Bryan Reynolds and his collaborators have produced an ambitious and energetic reformulation of the relations between culture and politics. This lively and accessible book offers transversalism as a nuanced and responsive key to the interpretation of literary texts.”

− Professor Alan Sinfield, University of Sussex, UK

“The transversal Shakespeare is the endlessly galvanizing Shakespeare, always offering new resources for individual agency and cultural transformation. Transversal Enterprises in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries is driven by the determination of Bryan Reynolds and his collaborators to breathe new life into the Shakespeare criticism of our time. They incorporate and transform the critical theory we have inherited while expanding the frame to include new developments in performance theory, historical criticism, and the genetics of culture. Eclectic, synthetic, and free-wheeling rather than monolithic, the book provocatively deploys its own 'transversal' vocabulary while challenging us to read afresh − and respond energetically − at every turn. Love it or hate it, this is a next generation book.”

 − Professor Jonathan Crewe, Dartmouth University, USA

“The book offers a valuable language of analysis and argument for so many different fields of study-but perhaps most pointedly to those interested in the question of adaptation, or in how texts accrete significance as they travel or are successively performed (in all senses).”

− Dr. Julian Yates, University of Delaware, USA

“. . . one of the most sophisticated and important theoretical treatments of early modern literature that has emerged since the decline of New Historicism.”

 − Paul Cefalu, Shakespeare Quarterly

“. . . a brilliant book, used by scholars and being read in graduate theatre theory and Jacobean drama courses everywhere... Bryan Reynolds has a new, if I might even say, American theory, which endorses potential.”

− Professor Marianne McDonald, University of California, San Diego, USA

“This book is a stimulating intervention into theoretical debates on Shakespeare. It is provocative, theoretically daring and critically adventurous. Reynolds and his collaborators write about Shakespeare and theory in ways which will create heated debates in conferences and postgraduate seminars and will fuel undergraduate students' critical imaginations. Essays on topics such as the werewolf within and R&J Space will engage students by showing them how critical approaches to Shakespeare's work can be both contemporary and creative. This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in theorising the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in performance.”

− Professor Stuart Hampton-Reeves, University of Central Lancashire, UK

“. . . a virtual amusement park of intellectual excitement. Even though clearly developed themes (consciousness, phenomenology, accountability, space) weave the book together, each chapter offers a separate experience, a distinct ride into some other uncharted region of early modern English history.”

− Professor Mihaela Irimia, University of Bucharest, Romania

“Witty, lively and original in conception and execution, Bryan Reynolds and his co-authors have reanimated canonical Shakespearean and Renaissance drama by reading them uncannily in relation both to the more familiar critical practices of historicism and psychoanalysis and the stranger practices of neuroscience, memetics and primatology. Perhaps the most exciting achievement of the book lies in the varied ways its collaborating authors have transformed their writing as well as the field of Shakespeare and Renaissance studies.”

− Professor Richard Burt, University of Florida, USA

“Authorities beware! Bryan Reynolds and his co-conspirators are on the loose again... Armed with a new critical approach called transversal poetics complete with a lexical arsenal developed by Reynolds himself, these fugitive explorers are bent on discovering and exposing the nooks and crannies of poststructuralist theory, cultural studies, performance theory, audience response theory and a host of other established fields. Radical in their desire to unite text-centred approaches such as deconstruction with recent innovations in historicist fields such as cultural studies, Reynolds and his space invaders have found new ways to investigate resistance to authority in a variety of early modern texts and artifacts. . . This book provides a relevant and accessible introduction to a new field in critical theory for undergraduates, and it also offers ammunition for more advanced scholars interested in attempting to take on or take down established paradigms in early modern literary and cultural studies.”

− Professor Adam Max Cohen, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA

“Most recently, in the wake of New Historicism and a series of posts (most notably poststructuralism and postcolonialism), while we were waiting for the next big thing, Transversal Poetics took the stage. Notwithstanding the daunting name, this approach does help to expand and enrich the contexts for investigating what makes Elizabethan drama still so compelling. Collaboratively pioneered by Bryan Reynolds (head of Ph.D. studies in drama at the University of California, Irvine), a coterie of graduate students from Irvine and San Diego, and a handful of like-minded English professors, Transversal Poetics is, in the parlance of the trade, gaining traction. . . . Whether or not one wishes to stake a transversal claim of one's own, this book presents a lively and viable account of what is happening in social and dramatic performance studies today.”

− William E. Engel, Sewanee Review

“All of these essays are important in their own right, and this book is surely destined to become one of the canonical works of early modern literary criticism. . . this is a highly significant book. Some reviewers of Reynolds's earlier work have accused him of reveling in jargon, and it is true that he takes delight in neologism; but Reynolds's work makes explicit certain tendencies long latent within cultural materialism, and draws out the hidden implications of materialist theories of subjectivity. It should be required, salutary reading for aspiring critics of the humanities.”

− David Hawkes, Theatre Survey


Woof, Daddy

“The final catharsis may have you preferring bark to bite. But the bark is worth it. “

Timeout New York Magazine awarded Woof, Daddy 4 stars (highest rating)

“Playwright Bryan Reynolds graduated from UC Berkeley and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard, which might explain the layered language and the multiple meanings, but he doesn't shy away from letting his characters bust into fully choreographed lounge-singer routines and episodes of passionate sex on the side of the road. . . Reynolds' haunting story of love, beastly secrets, and the deep connection between man and animal.”

– Nathaniel Eaton, San Francisco Weekly

“The play is a confessional of sorts. A family melodrama. An awkwardly deadpan musical. And a serious exploration of grief and the way it can haunt and destroy us.”

− Jose Zayas,

“Transversal Theater does have a captivating story it intends to tell − just not in a linear, easily interpretable format. . . You’ll probably sympathize with the character who wishes, ‘we could get outside this ridiculous discussion and communicate like real people.’ Still, this short play is a fascinating character study.”

− Jerry Portwood,

“The brilliant performance . . .With merciless humor, passion, and suspense the audience was taken on a wild duck-hunting expedition into a family’s unraveling past.”

Welcome to Warsaw

“An absurdist musical. . . keeps you captivated till the end. The actors, mise-en-scène and the singing and dancing form a strong coherence and produce a light-footed and entertaining show”

Theaterkritiek, Amsterdam

“Reynolds managed to fully flesh—and fur—out a perversely dysfunctional dynamic in this diminished family. Most impressive was the division between what was ‘real’ and what was ‘remembered’ or ‘imagined’ throughout—using the imaginary division between front and back parts of the stage, the delimination of past and present was a spatial one that was both somewhat phenomenological and absolutely clarifying.”

The Obscene Jester, New York

“Poetic and philosophical, often to the point of laughable . . . For the challenge-ready theater-goer, Woof, Daddy has thought-provoking moments and chills up the spin to offer.”

− Rob Lester, EDGE New York


 Rematerializing Shakespeare: Authority and Representation on the Early Modern English Stage, Co-Editor, with William West (Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)

“Robert Weimann is a pre-eminent scholar of the Elizabethan theatre and early modern performance culture, whose brilliant critical work on Shakespeare and his contemporaries has been profoundly influential. Rematerializing Shakespeare: Authority and Representation on the Early Modern Stage is both a worthy tribute to Weimann's seminal work and an impressive demonstration of the variety and fruitfulness of its influence. Reimagining Shakespeare is a stimulating collaborative contribution to our understanding and appreciation of the dramatic art and the cultural work of the Shakespearean theatre.”

− Professor Louis Montrose, University of California, San Diego, USA

“Dedicated to Robert Weimann, Rematerializing Shakespeare: Authority and Representation on the Early Modern Stage at once extends Weimann's materialist critique of the practices of early modern authorship, acting, and theatricality, and explores his celebrated bifold articulation of authority and representation. Reimagining Shakespeare provocatively rematerializes the original impact that Shakespeare − and Weimann − have had on contemporary critical culture.”

 − W. B. Worthen, University of California, Berkeley, USA

“This energetic and highly original collection of essays reveals the continuing power of Robert Weimann's thought for contemporary studies of the early modern stage. Incisively building on Weimann's attention to the multiple sources of authority that energize the production of Shakespeare on the page and the stage, the critics assembled in this volume focus on the local conditions that allow his works to be continually remade in the theater, on the printed page, and even in the popular parodies of BBC radio comedy. This is a magnificent volume and a fitting tribute to one of the most important Shakespeare critics of the twentieth-century.”

 − Professor Jean Howard, University of Columbia, USA

Rematerializing Shakespeare is a superb collection of essays by twelve distinguished scholars exploring the rich materiality of Shakespeare' plays. Provoked by, engaged with, and dedicated to Robert Weimann, the essays offer compelling testimony to Weimann's profound impact upon the

study of Early Modern English Drama and, in their own terms, reveal often unexpected sources of value and coherence in Shakespeare's plays, even as they offer an implicit challenge to many of the assumptions of the discipline of literary studies as it exists today.”

 − David Scott Kastan, Columbia University, USA


Performing Transversally: Reimagining Shakespeare and the Critical Future (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

"Performing Transversally is an innovative example of collaborative scholarship aimed at opening the classic Shakespearean text to unexpected interpretive contexts and possibilities. Whether exploring the sado-masochistic dynamics of Othello or bringing Shakespeare and Dario Fo into productive dialogue, Reynolds and his collaborators use Shakespeare to explore uncharted emotional and cognitive landscapes . . . Performing Transversally offers a highly-caffeinated alternative to conventional criticism.”

− Jean E. Howard, William E. Ransford Professor of English, Columbia University

“In Performing Transversally, Reynolds takes his collaborators and us on a dazzling, even mind-altering trip through what Reynolds calls 'Shakespace,' offering us trenchant sociohistorical readings both of Shakespeare's plays and adaptations of them by Dryden, Polanski, Brecht, Césaire, Wilson, Fo, and Taymor. Reynolds powerfully reaffirms the agency of the subject and offers hope for theoretical intervention as a viable form of political activism conceived quite daringly here as the transcendence of all conceptual, emotional, social, and physical limits.”

− Richard Burt, author of Unspeakable ShaXXXspeares

“Transferring models of collaborative authorship from theatre and performance to academic discourse, Performing Transversally productively sets out to re-imagine a critical terrain for Shakespeare in which text and critic are in constant movement, where dispersals, expansions, variabilities, metamorphoses, reconfigurations, alternatives, and contradictions rule. Offering multivocal, processual accounts of how such conversations and negotiations invite links between fields of discourse, Reynolds and co-performers are master jugglers, keeping multiple texts, objects, ideas and ideologies simultaneously in view.”

− Barbara Hodgdon, University of Michigan

“In Performing Transversally, Bryan Reynolds and a group of collaborators challenge critical orthodoxy by venturing into 'transversal territory' and into the overlapping realm of 'Shakespace.'. . . Because it insists that 'transversality' is the liberating, responsibility-conferring space where we can begin to understand and empathize with other people and other cultures, and because it insistently characterizes Shakespearean performance as 'transversal,' the book amounts to an important and marvelously high-spirited contribution to the turn toward ethics in literary and cultural studies.”

 − Paul Yachnin, Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies, McGill University


Becoming Criminal: Transversal Performance and Cultural Dissidence in Early Modern England (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002)

“A very useful introduction for those interested in the ways in which the Renaissance is frequently introduced to today's students. . .[Reynolds] is unusually attuned to the ways in which acts of speech depend upon their context and their assumed audience, and his analysis impressively focuses upon the cultural and literary importance of writing outside the canon. His book never fails to be interesting.”

− Dennis D. Kezar, University of Utah, Tennessean

“[Bryan Reynolds] frames his cross-disciplinary inquiry with a concept of 'transversal theory,' which offers a spatially organized understanding of how subjects empower themselves through performance (social, criminal, or theatrical) and so not only defy official ideology but also transform the conditions of their own perception and experience. . . Especially valuable here is Reynolds's analysis of canting language as an 'official' language used by all members of a substantially unified criminal subculture that emerged in the 1520's, continued beyond the Puritan's rise to power in the early 1640's, and was commodified and fetishized by official culture.”

Studies in English Literature 2003

“A valuable contribution both to the study of early modern criminality and to theorizing the period's social and political relations more broadly.”

− Tanya Pollard, Renaissance Quarterly, 2004

“Becoming Criminal's transversal theory performs a valuable service in reconceptualizing early modern English criminality and linking it to some of the period's most important institutions and discourses.”

− Stephen Cohen, Sixteenth Century Journal

“Becoming Criminal is ambitious Althusserian analysis of the criminal subcultures of Renaissance England. For Reynolds—who was, as he tells us, initiated into a fascination with criminality when he was a high school student in Scarsdale—the rogue pamphlets, anti-theatrical tracts, and repressive legislation of the late sixteenth century are not the expression of paranoia in high places. Rather, they disclose the existence of a strange 'transversal power,' an alternative, oppositional culture whose values threatened the established order and whose visionary energies continue to haunt our own world.”

− Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University

“Reynolds has some very new and valuable reconceptualizations of the rogue pamphlets and criminal literature of the late Tudor—early Stuart period in England, and he has provided the best analysis I know of their language. He expands Félix Guattari's term 'transversal' to something far more suggestive, to point towards a conceptual and experiential expansion of boundaries. Becoming Criminal is a valuable and significant contribution to scholarship.”

− Arthur F. Kinney, University of Massachusetts


Shakespeare Without Class: Misappropriations of Cultural Capital, Co-Editor, with Donald Hedrick (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000)

“. . .really lively, engaged criticism. . .”

Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance