Our first Work-in-Progress session this term features Harry Newman (Royal Holloway). We will convene on October 20, 2016 at the Gallery in the Rose Theatre, Kingston. We start at 6.30pm. See also the event page! The event is free and open to the public. Below is an abstract for the session.
Reading for Error in The Winter’s Tale
Although not available in print until more than twelve years after it was first performed, The Winter’s Tale is a play that concerns itself with the printed book trade, and in particular with print’s relationship to truth, accuracy and error. This paper explores the significance of literal and figurative references to print in The Winter’s Tale, but it also considers the impact of experiencing the play in print as a reader, especially as it was first published in the First Folio. This approach enables insights into the relationship between authorial, scribal and compositorial errors and the sexual, interpretive and psychological errors made and perceived by characters within the play. How do textual cruxes or errors inflect our understanding of the jealous Leontes’ hermeneutic inflexibility (surely Hermione is a ‘hobby-horse’, not a ‘Holy-Horse’)? Can the editorial imperative to identify and correct errors be related to the processes by which Time ‘makes and unfolds error’ (IV.i.2) in the play? In addressing such questions, I seek more broadly to investigate how dramatic metaphors are nuanced by their material forms, and to consider the role of error in the relationship between stage and page in early modern England.
Dr Harry Newman is a Lecturer in Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. He publishes primarily on material culture, book history and rhetoric in early modern literature, and his first book, Impressive Shakespeare: Identity, Authority and the Imprint in Shakespearean Drama, will be out with Routledge in 2017. He also runs The Paper Stage, a public Renaissance play-reading series with branches in Surrey, Kent and Mantua (Italy).