Shakespeare’s late syntax: a comparative analysis of which relativisation in the dramatic works

Mullender, Jacqueline E. (2011). Shakespeare’s late syntax: a comparative analysis of which relativisation in the dramatic works. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis combines corpus stylistic, literary and historical linguistic approaches to test critical observations about the language of Shakespeare’s late plays. It finds substantial evidence of increased syntactic complexity, and identifies significant linguistic differences between members of the wider group of later plays. Chapter One outlines the critical history of the late works, including consideration of stylometric approaches to Shakespeare’s language. Chapter Two describes the stylistic methodology and corpus techniques employed. Chapter Three reports the finding of salient which frequency in the late plays, and details the analytical categories to be used in the examination of which usage, the results of which are discussed in Chapter Four. Chapter Five describes two further analyses, where a broader group of ten late plays is considered on the basis of their high which frequency. The relativisation syntax of the five post-1608 plays (Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen) is found to distinguish them unequivocally as a group, while Pericles stands out as an anomaly. Finally, in Chapter Six it is argued that Shakespeare’s syntax reflects a stylistic phenomenon unrelated to individual dramatic characterisation, motivated by his re-association with the Elizabethan romance writers of the sixteenth century.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, The Shakespeare Institute
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater


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