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Untimed: Transversal Subjects and Temporality in Shakespeare

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In my dissertation, “Untimed: Transversal Subjects and Temporality in Shakespeare,” I study how early modern concepts of identity such as blackness, virtuous femininity, and nomadic criminality, affected the sense and construction of temporality in Shakespeare’s staged worlds. Drawing on both early modern and 20th century philosophies of time, subjectivity, and narrative, I examine historiographic literature of early modern England alongside Shakespeare’s dramatic works such as The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Titus Andronicus, The Tempest, and Pericles. The dissertation has three major goals: To infuse discussions of identity, subjectivity, and character in early modern scholarship with a sustained temporal dimension and methodology that can augment and supplement existing scholarship on identity, subjectivity, and character; 2. To address the vitalism of Shakespeare’s scripts and performances put forward by Shakespeareans and early modernists who engage with process philosophies; and 3. To infuse discussions of vitalism and process with more political specificity. I find that early modern identities are often deployed in Shakespeare’s work through character-modeling to construct, challenge, and complicate concepts of history, the present, and the future. In contrast to previous studies on identity, character, and narrative in Shakespeare, which focus primarily on the spatial components of identity and subjectivity, I focus on the temporal components. I argue that understanding the connection between temporality and subjectivity (along with its extensions such as culture, politics, ideology, technology) is key to understanding the ways in which Shakespeare’s works become self-engendering and the power of narrative performance extends beyond the confines of the stage by engaging audience’s empathy and imagination. My project makes an intervention between character studies and temporality studies, ultimately posing character-subjects or subject-characters as poly- and multi-temporal units whose relationships generate temporalities.

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This item is under embargo until December 20, 2024.