CFP: [Renaissance] Special issue of the journal STYLE: Shakespeare's drama and authorial intention

full name / name of organization: 
Cary DiPietro

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, debates about his authorship and his intended
meanings 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 digests):

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

- 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?

Essay proposals and/or abstracts should be submitted to Cary DiPietro
(cary.dipietro[at] no later than 31 October 2008. Essays in
the range of 3000 to 6000 words and conforming to MLA guidelines will be
due in early 2009.

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Received on Wed Aug 06 2008 - 14:15:22 EDT