• "Ever begetting / New births of love": Palimpsests in Shakespeare and Fletcher’s "The Two Noble Kinsmen"

    Karoline Baumann (see profile)
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Permanent URL:
    In Shakespeare and Fletcher's "The Two Noble Kinsmen", a palimpsestlike notion of time is set against other, more definite conceptions of time and temporality, especially linearity and circularity. The palimpsest, with its different layers, is here mapped upon the stage and the dead, the half-dead and the living bodies of the characters, which frequently appear on the wrong side of the (stage) floor, symbolise the different levels of present and past times and their “tied, weaved, entangled” (1.3.42) position in the palimpsest. Drawing on Lee Patterson’s notion of Thebanness, I argue that Theseus and Athens represent a linear and progressive understanding of time, while Creon and Thebes stand for a recursive temporality that has no aim. Theseus succeeds in imposing linear order upon Thebes’ circular chaos, but at an inacceptable cost. His rule is, moreover, linked to compulsory heterosexuality, which is thus connected with linear temporal order, the production of legal heirs and family trees, while most of the protagonists don’t seem to fit in that scheme.
    A longer version of this article appears in the monograph 'The Stage as Palimpsest: Conceptions of Time and Temporality in Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida" and "The Two Noble Kinsmen"', Baden-Baden, Ergon 2018.
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    2 weeks ago
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:


    Item Name:docx kjb_palimpsests.docx
    Activity: Downloads: 5