Distributed Language
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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The enshrinement of William Shakespeare’s plays in printed editions has led to the assumption that they were performed with an ideal of exact verbatim reproduction of the language. Evidence drawn from alternative versions of the plays circulating in Shakespeare’s lifetime and from our knowledge of the material practices of playing in early modern England presents us with a very different picture. Performing practices in this period were marked by a tension between improvisational here-and-now languaging practices, including the use of gesture in playing, and a new set of expectations based upon an emergent conception of plays as written documents.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): distributed language; gesture; Shakespeare; theatre; written language bias
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