I’ll be writing an MA thesis in about eight weeks. This is not exactly news — I wrote the proposal eight months ago — but thinking about that time frame is a bit startling nonetheless. I think my somewhat confused look in response to the “what are you writing” question is beginning to instill doubts in those around me, so I’ve decided to have another look at that proposal and draw up some tentative reading material for the rest of the summer.
For the record, I’m writing about the relationship between performativity, early modern stage conditions, and representations of female communities in Jonson’s Caroline drama. Thus far I’ve been reading generally some of that previously unread early modern drama and poetry (Marston, Brome, Nashe, Tasso, Lyly, Greene &c.). It will probably also be productive to start having a look over some of the theory from which I’ll be drawing. To this end, I’ve picked up more Judith Butler (yes, I will finish Bodies That Matter this time around) and Luce Irigaray’s Speculum of the Other Woman. I also finally acquired Andrew Gurr’s The Shakespearean Stage 1574-1642 (4th edition!), a work that is fun, though with a slightly puzzling preface. Gurr observes that he originally released the work “long before New Historicism’s elevation of the anecdote as good history” (x). I’m not certain if Gurr is attempting to distinguish his methodology from Greenblatt’s, or if he’s merely claiming he got there first (it’s difficult to pinpoint the differences only 15 pages into the introduction, so I’ll have to leave this question momentarily unaddressed).
I’ve also been editing the last chapter of last summer’s thesis. It’s somewhat problematic in that it appears to be two strains of thought that never really come together by the end. It’s a terrifying experience every time I reread it. I shall have to avoid that kind of writing the next time around…
2 July 2009 ~ St. Catharines
Gurr, Andrew. The Shakespearean Stage 1574-1642. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. (And thank you, Gaurav, for finding this.)