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Shakespeare and Metatheatrical Representation

Perry McPartland of the Faculty of Humanities and Education at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled “Shakespeare and Metatheatrical Representation”, and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Friday 15 January 2020.

I analyze how Shakespeare allows contrast, simulation and parody to work together, and claim that he thereby contributes to giving the Renaissance theater a unique form of aesthetic representation.

Perry McPartland

PhD Candidate

The disputation will be held digitally, because of the Corona covid-19-situation. Spectators may follow the disputation digitally – link is available below.

 

Perry McPartland of the Faculty of Humanities and Education at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled “Shakespeare and Metatheatrical Representation”, and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Friday 15 January 2020. 

He has followed the PhD-programme at the Faculty of Humanities and Education, with spesialisation in literary science.

Summary of the thesis by Perry McPartland:

Shakespeare and metatheatrical representation

My research explores the use that Shakespeare's drama makes of metareference - metareference being the way in which a work of art draws attention back to its own artificial construction.

Breaking the fourth wall

Contemporary film and TV often make use of the device, most commonly in the breaking of the fourth wall - the moment when an onscreen character breaks out of their fictional world, turns to the camera and addresses the audience directly.

And while the juxtaposition usually creates a witty moment, the device must strike us as being essentially limited.

In Shakespeare's hands however, such self-reference becomes an intrinsic element of artistic meaning.

Traditional Shakespeare criticism has often seen the relationship between metatheatre and the fictional world created on the stage as antagonistic. The audience is seen either as captured by the stage's skin of reality, or as alienated and skeptically distanced from it.

Representation and metatheatre intertwined 

Yet my research shows that Shakespeare's drama is arranged in such a way that both of these aspects of representation remain in play, and the playwright exploits the generative potential inherent in each of them.

In short, representation and metatheatre are intertwined, and the plays unfold according to an overriding artifice.

This is a risky aesthetic strategy, one that risks failure at each step. But it is this risk which enables Shakespeare to make the significant contribution to an art form that offered completely new representational possibilities: early modern English theatre.

I analyze how Shakespeare allows contrast, simulation and parody to work together, and claim that he thereby contributes to giving the Renaissance theater a unique form of aesthetic representation.

Opponent ex auditorio:

The chair invites members of the public to pose questions ex auditorio in the introduction to the public defense, with deadlines. It is a prerequisite that the opponent has read the thesis. Questions can be submitted to the chair, Pro-Dean, Professor Gunhild Kvåle at e-mail gunhild.kvale@uia.no

Disputation facts:

The trial lecture and the public defence will take place online, via the Zoom conferencing app (link below)

Pro-Dean for research, Professor Gunhild Kvåle, Faculty of Humanities and Education, UiA, will chair the disputation.

The trial lecture at 10:00 hours
Public defence at 12:00 hours

 

Given topic for trial lecture: TBA"Early Modern Staging and the Plays of John Webster"

Thesis Title«Shakespeare and Metatheatrical Representation»

Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder.

The thesis is available here:

https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2711194

 

The Candidate: Perry McPartland (1971, London UK) BA University of Bergen (2013); MA University of Bergen (Thesis title: ‘Transformation in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) (2015).

Current position: Assistant Professor at University of Agder.

Opponents:

First opponent: Professor Tiffany Stern, University of Birmingham, UK

Second opponent: Professor Anthony Johnson, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Postdoctoral Fellow Fionnuala O'Neill Tonning, Department of Foreign Languages and Translation , University of  Agder, is appointed as the administrator for the assessment commitee.

Supervisors were Associate Professor Per Sivefors, Linnaeus University, Sweden (main supervisor) and Professor Oddvar Holmesland, Department of Foreign Languages and Translation, UiA (co-supervisor)

 

What to do as an audience member:

The disputation is open to the public, but to follow the trial lecture and the public defence, which is transmitted via the Zoom conferencing app, you have to register as an audience member:

https://uiano.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5Uuc-qgqTMqHN3wnI4rvGk6I9DtcBnLN2K5

A Zoom-link will be returned to you.

(Here are introductions for how to use Zoom: support.zoom.us if you cannot join by clicking on the link.)

We ask audience members to join the virtual trial lecture at 09:50 at the earliest and the public defense at 11:50 at the earliest. After these times, you can leave and rejoin the meeting at any time. Further, we ask audience members to turn off their microphone and camera and keep them turned off throughout the event. You do this at the bottom left of the image when in Zoom. We recommend you use ‘Speaker view’. You select that at the top right corner of the video window when in Zoom.