Closet dramas have been part of my sketchy mental dissertation outline since I began the exam reading process. I’ve always been intrigued by this genre and the particular way it invites readers to confront performance, often purely within the realm of imagination. After finally reading some closet dramas for my exams, along with Marta Straznicky’s […]

In 1691 a reader of John Dunton’s Athenian Mercury (also called Athenian Gazette and Casuistical Mercury) posed this question for the periodical’s writers: “What is love?” Since the question was included in one of the early issues of the periodical dedicated solely to “ladies’ questions,” we can presume that this question was, indeed, posed by […]

Twelfth Night is a play full of hypotheticals. The first word of the play, spoken by Orsino, is “if” (1.1.1) and in his closing lines before Feste’s sung epilogue Orsino leaves the audience with a series of hypotheticals: “when that is known, and golden time convents” (5.1.381), “when in other habits you are seen,/ Orsino’s […]

In residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library for the month of July and already finding some fascinating connections between the semi-random assortment of manuscript materials I’m pulling and my exam reading. In one of those rare moments when weekly reading seems to approach thematic overlap nirvana, I spent part of last week looking at Saxton’s […]

I turned to drama this week and was consistently intrigued by the off-stage action occurring in many of the plays I read. Here I want to think specifically about the intersections between John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and some of the ideas posed by Luce Irigaray in This Sex Which Is Not One. Webster’s […]

What is the problem with psychoanalysis? It seems like there are always scholars/critics arguing that its passé, out-of-style, “we’re over it.” But yet, there are still a fair amount of scholars using it, and using it in really interesting ways. It’s as if any interest in psychoanalysis needs to be a deep dark secret and, […]

These three themes have arisen again and again in the sonnet sequences I’ve been reading over the first two weeks of my exam schedule. The absence/presence dichotomy is fairly straightforward at its most basic level – the beloved is absent and the lover yearns for her/his presence, or the beloved is present and the lover worries […]