Word Against Word: Shakespearean Utterance

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"Word against Word offers a new approach to Shakespearean drama - in particular Shakespeare's Richard II - through an extended engagement with the Bakhtinian concept of art as a form of social utterance. The book is the first to explore this central Bakhtinian conception and its associated notions of social accent, dialogism, and heteroglossia in the context of drama and of Shakespeare studies." James R. Siemon begins by examining the variety of accents, discourses, and behaviors that competed for the social space of early modern England. He surveys Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including dramatists, poets, and other writers, in order to document early modern attitudes toward the implications of sociolinguistic behavior in a heteroglot environment. While ranging broadly, the book takes Richard II as an exemplary instance of Bakhtinian utterance, showing the play to be, despite its apparent thematic and formal unities, an arena marked by struggles among competing groups and orientations, with their socially defined languages and assumptions. The figure of Shakespeare's King Richard emerges as a revealing example of a form of subjectivity constructed amid the demands of conflicting voices.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Russian scholar Bakhtin developed a theory of literary criticism based on the concept that language evolves through interaction between the individual and society. Here, Siemon (English, Boston Univ.; Shakespearean Iconoclasm) devotes less of his text to providing literary commentary on Shakespeare's Richard II than to creating a dialog between the voices of Bakhtin and Shakespeare and testing the usefulness of Bakhtin's theories of dialogics and sociolingual interorientations in the context of Shakespearean drama. Additionally, Siemon surveys the works of Shakespeare's contemporaries to identify 16th-century attitudes toward sociolinguistic behavior. The text is dense, and readers need a basic knowledge of such concepts as formalism, pragmatics, historicism, heteroglossia, and sociolinguistic interpretation-or a good literary dictionary. A search of World Cat indicates that this is the only text currently available applying Bakhtin's critical theories to Shakespearean drama. Recommended for academic libraries serving masters and doctoral programs.-Shana C. Fair, Ohio Univ. Lib., Zanesville Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction: Listening Around/Talking Back: Shakespeare and Bakhtin 1
1 When Shakespeare Became Shakespeare 39
2 "Word Itself against the Word": Close Reading after Volosinov 91
3 Landlord, Not King: Agrarian Change and Interarticulation 119
4 "Subjected Thus": Utterance, Individuation, and Interlocution 137
5 The Lamentable Tale of Me: Intonation, Politics, and Religion in Richard II 172
6 "The Shadow of Your ... Face": Reduced Laughter and Exit Wounds 210
Notes 241
Index 319
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