Article Title

Shakespeare’s Dolphin, Dumbo’s Feather, and Other Red Herrings: Some Thoughts on Intention and Meaning

Type of Work

Article

Date

Fall 2010

Journal Title

Style

Journal ISSN

0039-4238

Journal Volume

44

Journal Issue

3

First Page

342

Last Page

364

Abstract

The gaps between literary specializations sometimes seem as great as the gaps between literary studies and other disciplines. Certainly, as a narrative theorist invited to participate in a conversation about intention and Shakespeare, I found myself struck by the number of interpretive and editorial problems central to Shakespeare studies that narrative theorists tend conveniently to ignore. At the same time, I was struck by the degree to which Shakespeareans pass over techniques developed by narrative theorists, even when those techniques might help them answer the questions they have chosen to ask. After setting out some general distinctions I find useful in any discussion of literary intention, I focus more narrowly on the heuristic value of rhetorical narrative theory in dealing with several areas of contention that emerge in this collection: public vs. private, the multiplicity of interiority, and literary purpose. I conclude with a plea for greater communication across scholarly specializations.

Hamilton Areas of Study

Literature and Creative Writing

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