NameTrudell, Scott A. (author), Turner, Henry S. (chair), Coiro, Ann Baynes (internal member), Miller, Jacqueline T. (internal member), Smith, Bruce R. (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectLiteratures in English,
Verse drama, English,
English literature--Early modern, 1500-1700,
English literature--History and criticism,
Music and literature--England,
England--Songs and music--History and criticism
DescriptionThis dissertation traces the development of verse with a musical dimension from
Sidney and Shakespeare to Jonson and Milton, in genres ranging from prose romance and printed songbooks to outdoor pageantry and professional theater. Song was an essential part of the early modern literary canon, and it circulated ubiquitously in written format. Yet it was also highly performative, inseparable from the rhythmic, vocal and instrumental conditions of its recital. As such, song brings out the extensive interaction between writing and sound in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literary culture. Drawing on media theory, I argue that song reveals a continual struggle to define literature, from Sidney’s emphasis on the musical properties of writing in The Defence of Poesie to Milton’s conception of the printed book as a profoundly performative medium in Areopagitica. I use song to rethink Shakespeare’s Ophelia, whom I see as a disruptive, non-scriptive versifier whose mad songs amount to an extreme type of poetry. And I follow song to less familiar territory, including the pageants that paraded music and verse through the streets of London, mixing the belletristic writings of England’s leading poets with the cacophonous disorder of popular crowds. Focusing on song’s place at the
threshold of script and acoustic performance, I theorize literature as a process of
mediation – an intersection of technologies, performers, formats and authors in which writing was an important but by no means exclusive component.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Scott A. Trudell
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.