Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


In my dissertation, I am concerned with the manner in which verbal and visual categories might be articulated in specific Shakespearean texts: Hamlet, Cymbeline, Timon of Athens and Lucrece. The textual narrative undertakes a new set of relations, and potentially undergoes a phenomenological transformation in stage space. For in the texts of the plays there are numerous references to signifying images which remain open and indeterminate. The nature of such openness becomes problematic in a verbal/visual venue. The manner in which textual editors intervene in order to "clarify" such openness functions to stabilize the unstable.;The Lucrece documents might be understood to indicate the potential of narratives based in non-dramatic texts. I suggest that the ekphrasis in Lucrece draws attention to itself as a verbally based visual conceit, and compels the reader to recognize the extent to which visuality is textually dependent upon narrative. The Dedication to Lucrece complicates such a relation by drawing attention to the manner in which absence might be discursively constructed.;The Shakespearean playtext is mediated by editors who construct the text and its reception, even if such editions are themselves subject to the influence of production phenomena. In Gertrude's closet, the "canonical" Hamlet text codifies stage action which is entirely constructed by editorial intervention. Edition-making situates interpretation as well, and the influence of this relation has, I suggest, significant interpretive ramifications.;The verbal/visual nexus is at issue in different playtexts; phenomenological issues arise in Imogen's chamber (in Cymbeline), and in descriptions of the Painter's painting in Timon. And in Timon, the paragone underlines the contestation between verbal and visual categories, for in this playtext the Poet describes visual art. Furthermore, Cymbeline weaves intertextual references inside the web of its own dense yet indeterminate visual imagery, thereby introducing variation into the relation between verbal and visual categories.;While ekphrasis denotes a "genre" usually associated with poetry and prose, Shakespearean texts, both dramatic and non-dramatic, appear to employ ekphrastic potential to illustrate the indeterminate status and "openness" of words and images which occasionally appear to stabilize within fictivity. The dissertation explores the extent to which phenomenological questions are raised by the text as script, and draws attention to the problematics of Shakespearean narrative in dramatic and non-dramatic texts.



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