Chapter

The Author Revived

Jeffrey Knapp

in Shakespeare Only

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226445717
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226445731 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226445731.003.0005
The Author Revived

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This chapter examines Shakespeare's return at the end of his career to the coauthorial playwriting he seems to have practiced when his professional life began. Although historicists claim that Shakespeare's contemporaries thought of playwriting as a collective labor before they came to see it as authorial, the surviving record shows that single authorship was far easier to conceptualize during the Renaissance than coauthorship ever was. Yet Shakespeare's commitment to devising a specifically theatrical conception of authorship impelled him toward a dramaturgy that could make room for the diverse forces of other authors, as well as players and audiences, even if this process entailed some sacrifice of the sovereignty that a literary author was presumed to exercise over his work.

Keywords: playwriting; coauthorship; Renaissance; theatrical conception; sovereignty; Shakespeare; Shakespeare's contemporaries

Chapter.  9662 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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