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“What’s past is prologue”: negotiating the authority of tense in reviewing Shakespeare

Kirwan, Peter

Authors



Abstract

This paper, rooted in reviewing practice, engages with a little-discussed practical aspect of reviewing: the tense in which a theatre review is written. Noting that journalistic reviews use the present tense, whereas academic reviews use the past, this paper asks when a review moves into the past, and what implications the use of tense has for the review. The paper contends that the two tenses confer different kinds of authority on a review, which in turn have implications for positioning the object of review and the reviewer in relation to one another. Distinctions are made between reviewing a production or a single performance; between reviewing as a promise or as an archive; and between the omnipotent narrator and subjective spectator. The paper concludes that, in an age of increasingly cheap opinion, the past tense may be appropriated as a means for professional reviewers in all disciplines to consolidate the specificity of their reviewing authority.

Citation

Kirwan, P. (2010). “What’s past is prologue”: negotiating the authority of tense in reviewing Shakespeare. Shakespeare, 6(3), https://doi.org/10.1080/17450918.2010.497856

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 1, 2009
Publication Date Aug 23, 2010
Deposit Date Oct 14, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 14, 2016
Journal Shakespeare
Print ISSN 1745-0918
Electronic ISSN 1745-0926
Publisher Taylor & Francis Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 3
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/17450918.2010.497856
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/37575
Publisher URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17450918.2010.497856
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Shakespeare on 23 August 2010, available online: http://www.tandfonline....0/17450918.2010.497856.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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