By W. B. Worthen
Shakespeare and the strength of contemporary functionality asks a important theoretical query within the examine of drama: what's the dating among the dramatic textual content and the meanings of functionality? W.B. Worthen argues that the textual content can't govern the strength of its functionality. as a substitute, the textual content turns into major basically as embodied within the altering conventions of its functionality. Worthen explores this knowing of dramatic performativity through interrogating numerous modern websites of Shakespeare construction. The booklet contains distinctive discussions of modern motion pictures and level productions, and units Shakespeare functionality along different works of latest drama and theatre.
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Shakespeare and the strength of contemporary functionality asks a crucial theoretical query within the research of drama: what's the dating among the dramatic textual content and the meanings of functionality? W. B. Worthen argues that the textual content can't govern the strength of its functionality. in its place, the textual content turns into major simply as embodied within the altering conventions of its functionality.
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Extra info for Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance
3 Stage production and playwriting were reciprocal elements in the wholesale invention of a new mode of cultural production, which persists to the present day: the commercial entertainment industry, the big time. Theatrical entrepreneurs of the 1570s and 1580s were able to transform the “familiar performance practices” of traditional communities (both popular fairground performance and the similarly occasional performances commanded as an aristocratic Performing history 33 privilege) into “cultural merchandise” (36).
Alphabetic print may reinforce the values of repeatability, systematicity, and linearity, but rhetorical punctuation implies that print is susceptible to alternate uses, in ways that imply an alternative, “performative” history of print. Early modern writers “wrote in a palimpsest of two different ideas about how writing is related to speech” (Smith, Acoustic World 239), and the publishing of plays – still in tension today between the expectation of formal regularity and a range of print conventions unique to drama – is one place where we might expect the persistence of rhetorical pointing and of idiosyncratic print features devised to prompt, even to direct, performance.
It is not surprising that Thomas Sheridan’s A discourse . . Being the Introductory to his Course of Lectures on Elocution and the English Language (London, 1769) employs “punctuation to indicate ‘declamatory’ or ‘elocutionary’ units where the speaker or reader is expected to pause for effect” (91). Benjamin Franklin – a printer by trade – also advocated a typographical system that would make “the oralization of texts easier thanks to an ‘expressive typography’ which plays with italics, capital letters added to certain words, or new punctuation marks (for example, with the introduction into English of the inverted exclamation or question marks typical of Spanish and which, placed at the beginning of a sentence, indicate from the outset how one is to pitch one’s voice)” (Chartier, Publishing Drama 21).