The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0432 Thursday, 24 July 2008
From: Cary DiPietro <
Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 15:10:56 -0400
Subject: CFP: "Shakespeare's Drama and Authorial Intention"
Call for Papers: Special issue of the journal _Style_ in collaboration with
SHAKSPER: The Global Internet Shakespeare Conference on
"Shakespeare's Drama and Authorial Intention"
Issue Guest-editor: Cary DiPietro
Deadline for Submission: 31 October 2008
In a landmark 1946 article for the _Sewanee Review_ (later republished in _The
Verbal Icon_), William K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley proclaimed authorial
intention a fallacy. In doing so, they not only invented a critical terminology
for literary interpretation, but also concretized the relationship between the
literary text and a textual referent that is always belated by its critical
post-ness, a referent that is, to borrow a phrase from Roland Barthes, "always
already dead." But sixty years on, how "dead" is authorial intention?
While it might seem that the critical assertions of the new critics and later
poststructuralists have permanently decentred Shakespeare as a single and
originating source of meaning for the body of writing the name metonymically
represents, fantasies of his authorship persist, and they do so tenaciously.
Despite the death of the author, Shakespeare lives on in the edited texts that
bear his name, corrected by editors to ideal authorial texts from the early
printed texts that have descended to us, "corrupted" by early printing practices
and theatrical transmission. He lives in the theatre, where directors and actors
seek to excavate an intentional ideal in the living medium of performance. He
persists even more discreetly in a critical paradigm dominated by the
historian's concern for material traces of an initial or originating context.
The persistence of intention as a discrete field within different textual
practices demonstrates that, far from having been exhausted or answered by
contemporary criticism, questions about Shakespeare's dramatic authorship and
his intended meanings, though unfashionable, remain important cruces.
Papers are invited for a special issue of the journal _Style_ addressing the
topic of Shakespeare's drama and authorial intention. This issue is a
continuation of a collaboration with SHAKSPER: The Global Internet Shakespeare
Conference, and follows a special Roundtable discussion held between April and
July 2008, which can be read here (follow the "thread" link to read subsequent
Contributors are invited to address any aspect of dramatic authorship or
intention to the understanding of Shakespeare's dramatic writing. Contributors
may wish to consider such questions as:
- does authorial intention retain any utility for the discussion of literary
meaning or textual understanding in the wake of theory and cultural studies?
- does Shakespeare as a canonical and culturally central figure represent a
special or distinct field of enquiry?
- how does authorial intention inform or how might further discussions of
intention be informed by textual practices such as editing and performance?
- how have debates about authorial intention been shaped by changing critical
and institutional practices over the past sixty years, and what role might they
play, if any, in the changing profession?
- how might authorial intention be redeployed from narrative studies for the
drama or, alternatively, how might discussions of early modern dramatic
authorship inform or reposition narrative studies?
Essays in the range of 3000 to 6000 words and conforming to MLA guidelines
should be submitted to Cary DiPietro (
) no later than
31 October 2008. Expressions of interest or informal enquiries are also welcome.
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>
DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the opinions
expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the editor assumes no
responsibility for them.