Shakespeare's Writing Practice: "Literary" Shakespeare and the Work of Form


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


English Literature


This dissertation argues that we can only understand the “literary” nature of Shakespeare’s works and career by examining the formal features of his plays and poems. It shows how those features, which range from reflexive pronouns and conditional statements to the prose/verse distinction and the soliloquy, engage with Renaissance literary culture even as they work meaningfully within the plays. Throughout his career, Shakespeare used and exploited these features to various effects, but in certain plays they prove highly meaningful in ways that negotiate with other texts in the literary world (and worlds) around them. The project contains chapters on Richard II, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Hamlet, and Troilus and Cressida.