Shakespeare’s Dolphin, Dumbo’s Feather, and Other Red Herrings: Some Thoughts on Intention and Meaning
Type of Work
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.
Rabinowitz, Peter J., "Shakespeare’s Dolphin, Dumbo’s Feather, and Other Red Herrings: Some Thoughts on Intention and Meaning" (2010). Hamilton Digital Commons.
Hamilton Areas of Study
Literature and Creative Writing