'Skill in the construction' dramaturgy, ideology, and interpretation in Shakespeare’s late plays

Hartwell, Jonathan William (2004). 'Skill in the construction' dramaturgy, ideology, and interpretation in Shakespeare’s late plays. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines the way dramaturgical techniques in Shakespeare's late plays are used to create a complex and radical exploration of the relationship between ideology and interpretation. It links such concerns via the multiple meanings of "construction", illustrated using the scene of reading at the end of Cymbeline, centred upon the prophetic label. In Part I, major reservations are expressed about the standard interpretative paradigms applied to late Shakespearian drama, and their effect on critical understanding. The deficiencies of a "Romance" reading and the problems with traditional attitudes to chronology, authorship, and collaboration are stressed; elements often marginalized as aesthetically inferior are defended; and two related areas of dramaturgical technique, theatrical spectacle and reported action, are emphasized. Part II focuses on reading individual late plays, with special emphasis on Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen. It adopts a reconstructed, politicized close reading, concentrating on issues relating to the problematics of interpretation within the plays. Individual chapters highlight different forms of "construction": art, history, truth, authority, display, narrative. Attention is drawn to how reading and interpretation are shown to be always inscribed within power relations and the performative dynamic of language.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Humanities
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4484


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