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

Kirwan, Peter

Authors

Peter Kirwan

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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 23, 2010
Journal Shakespeare
Print ISSN 1745-0918
Electronic ISSN 1745-0926
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 3
Institution Citation Kirwan, P. (2010). “What’s past is prologue”: negotiating the authority of tense in reviewing Shakespeare. Shakespeare, 6(3), doi:10.1080/17450918.2010.497856
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/17450918.2010.497856
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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