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The Language of Violence in Early Modern Tragedies, 1580-1630

Hegland, Anna L. (2022) The Language of Violence in Early Modern Tragedies, 1580-1630. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.97288) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:97288)

Language: English

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This project takes an interdisciplinary approach to early modern drama, analyzing how playwrights conceive of and represent violence via the visual, material, rhetorical, and performance cultures that inform their work. It suggests that rhetoric and action are inextricably intertwined and that this intertwining is especially forceful, heightened, and affective during moments of staged violence on the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English stage. As a result, violent speech generates not only meaning and feeling, but also material forms of violent action and impact, endowing the embodied act with particularly forceful potential. Rhetoric is not just heard in the theatre, it is enacted, it is felt, and it is experienced.

As such, this thesis is attuned to and explores the violent potential of embodied rhetoric by examining premodern plays with a methodology that is positioned at the intersection between rhetoric and performance, using both textual analysis and practice as research to offer up a new critical approach that enables us to see the spectacular and affective power of violence in the rhetoric and performances of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century tragedies. As I unpick the linguistic roots of violence in these plays and the ways they manifest on stage, I define two specific and identifiable vocabularies of violence: the first, a descriptive vocabulary of language about violence and the second, a demonstrative vocabulary of violent language. Using these vocabularies, I argue that language plays an imperative role in generating and enlivening acts of violence on stage, in defining its performance, and in provoking an emotional response in both actors and audience members in the early modern period and today.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Richardson, Catherine
Thesis advisor: Dustagheer, Sarah
Thesis advisor: Wright, Clare
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.97288
Uncontrolled keywords: Shakespeare, Drama, Early Modern Drama, Performance Studies, Middleton
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2022 11:10 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2022 17:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Hegland, Anna L..

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