I’ve let things languish here a little, but my excuse is that I am (still) writing a great deal elsewhere, and simply don’t have the time to put pen to paper (keyboard to blog?) these days. That said, this post is about all the other stuff I am writing, it’s specific aim and its larger utility for my thesis.
1) ‘Representing the Poor: Charles Lamb and the Vagabondiana‘
This is an article I wrote back in 2012, and have had accepted for publication by Studies in Romanticism. The piece argues uses sets the representation of beggars in Charles Lamb’s Elia essays against that in John Smith’s Vagabondiana to show how each author deals with this dificult subject: Smith controls its moral and political ambiguities, while Lamb relishes them. This doesn’t have much, I admit, to do with the thesis, unless it is in the way Lamb turns to the stage for his most unsettling words about the needy: “Think them players”.
I’m working on a talk about the antitheatricality of Shakespeare’s editors for the drama seminar here in Cambridge. The material comes from the first chapter of my thesis, but the focus is tighter. I study the editions of Alexander Poper and William Warburton in depth in order to argue for a particularly ‘aesthetic’ antitheatricality, one which is not concerned so much with the moral problems of the stage but rather with the ugliness performance brings to the conceptions of a poet. Writing this piece has given me the chance to say a lot of things that I could not fit into my first chapter, and I’m hoping that, pending my supervisor’s approval, my thoughts will turn out strong enough for an article I’ve been commissioned to write for RECTR.
3) ‘”He who has given all countries and all ages the manners of his own”: Shakespeare and Edmond Malone’
This piece is for the History Faculty’s eighteenth-century seminar, due to take place at the start of June. Again, it draws on something I noticed when preparing my first chapter, but had to leave out. As I worked my way through Malone‘s 1790, ten-volume, edition of Shakespeare, I noticed that he kept pointing out those moments where Shakespeare gave particulalry English attributes or turns of phrase to non-English characters. This phenomenon, a kind of anachronism / atopism, is the topic of the paper, because it raises all sorts of literary critical and historical questions. Malone, for example, believes that Shakespeare is first and foremost a historical figure, and so must be read in the context of his own time. Yet this belief leads to all sorts of dificult conclusions: an endless editorial effort to reconstruct Elizabethan England, a kind of cultural imperialism, and more. I’m quite looking forward to seeing what the historians make of it.
4) ‘Une tragédie possible : Corinne, ou l’Italie et Roméo et Juliette‘
About a year ago, I gave a paper in Paris on how it is possible to read this novel by Madame de Staël in the light of Shakespeare’s play, from the heroine’s performance of it in the seventh volume, to her deathbed in the twentieth. The general argument is that the play constitutes a ‘tragic horizon’, a point of reference, a standard of Anglo-Italian beauty and imaginative power, that the characters never quite attain. Although not directly based on the thesis, and including far too much nineteenth-century German theory, many ideas in this article have their roots in my thinking about performance and ideality, especially with regard to Diderot.
5) The Authority of the Actor
This is what I’m working on next week, a paper for the British Shakesepare Association’s annual meeting at the University of Stirling. The conference theme is power and authority, and I’m arguing that actors, in the eighteenth-century had a kind of literary critical authority, which replicated many of the legitimising mechanisms used by those editing Shakespeare’s texts. Expect a recording of the finished piece in a short time.
6) ‘Comédien – Actor – Paradoxe: The Anglo-French Sources of Diderot’s Paradoxe sur le comédien‘
I gave a paper on Diderot’s use of English sources at the Cambridge French seminar in November last year. With a bit of polishing, it was accepted for publication in Theatre Journal. I’ve now received a few readers’ reports, and must make some changes before this work is finally out of the door. I only hope that everything goes through fast enough for this work to be published when I’m applying for postdoctoral positions.
And that’s it! Once I’ve done all this writing, it’s back to some reading, most likely for the second chapter of my thesis.