Shakespeare in Slow Motion

Marjorie Garber

in Loaded Words

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242047
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823242085 | DOI:
Shakespeare in Slow Motion

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The last several decades have seen a sustained interest on the part of literary scholars in the contexts of William Shakespeare's plays, from political, social, religious, and cultural history to biography. Studies of the court, of the “middling sort,” of women in early modern England, of witchcraft, of race and exoticism, of travel, of economics, of philosophy and theories of personhood and power, of affect and emotion in the period—all these have come increasingly to occupy the attention of scholars. Slow motion, “the technique of filming a scene at a faster speed than normal so that when it is projected the action will appear to be slowed down,” was invented in 1904 by August Musger, an Austrian physicist and priest. To the avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren, it offered a similar confluence of the visual and the affective. The logic of slow-motion photography and film, like the logic of the dream, can sometimes seem alogical, or counterintuitive. For Shakespeare, such incertitude was not merely an occasional effect but also a fundamental technique.

Keywords: William Shakespeare; slow motion; plays; Maya Deren; visual; affective; film; photography

Chapter.  5046 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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