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Richard Dutton
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH 43210-1132)

FA-53868-08
Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products][Prizes]

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2008 – 9/30/2009

William Shakespeare as Court Dramatist

I shall consider the likely effect of writing/adapting his plays for court performance on the texts of Shakespeare's plays. The century-long debate on the various versions that have survived, and the differing lengths of some of these (the shortest of the three "Hamlets" plays at about two hours, the longest at over four hours) has focused on writing for the public stage, touring versions, the expectation of being read as well as performed. There has, surprisingly, been no systematic study of the expectations of court performance, though Shakespeare's plays were staged there more often than those of anyone else. There is clear evidence of the effect of court performance on texts of contemporary dramatists and of the expectations of court officials like the Master of the Revels. Shakespeare's texts need to be read in the light of that evidence. This will affect our understanding of the cultural location of the most influential texts in the English language.