Performance, Annotation, and the Play of Interpretative Possibility: The Opening of 'King Lear'

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In recent decades Shakespearean scholarship has acknowledged the origin of his plays as scripts for performance in numerous ways. This essay argues, however, that the default practices of annotation in modern Shakespeare editions still tend to restrict the play of potential meaning in his dialogue in a manner which is radically untrue to the richness of the interpretative options it presents, both to readers and to performers. It explores this proposition via a detailed exploration of the problematic style in which a brief passage in the first scene of King Lear has been handled in a range of editions over the last half-century and draws some proposals from that case-study for future practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
JournalShakespeare Bulletin
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Mar 2020


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