Memory in Shakespeare's Second Tetralogy

Rebecca Warren-Heys

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis undertakes an original analysis of the incidence and influence of memory in Shakespeare’s second tetralogy. It is the first full-length study of memory in Shakespeare to show not only how memories can lock characters into history but also how memories can be released from history in order to engender radically different futures. This thesis offers detailed close readings of key scenes in the second tetralogy to substantiate this argument and to illuminate afresh issues at the heart of the plays, such as identity, time and death. It builds on previous and current research on memory in Shakespeare, as well as considering how he may have engaged with original archival sources such as Petrus’s ‘Art of Memory’ and Gratarolo’s ‘Castle of Memory’.

The first chapter of this thesis provides an overview of Shakespeare’s use of and reliance on memory in the canon, supplies a review of previous works on memory, and explains the scope and structure of the thesis. The second chapter defines terms and clarifies the method of the thesis, considers the phenomenology of memory, and elucidates the crucial concept of forward recollection. The third chapter explores how and why Shakespeare’s drama is an especially apt vehicle for memory. These three chapters prepare the ground for the subsequent four chapters, which examine each of the plays in the second tetralogy in turn. The chapters on the plays focus on key aspects of memory that exemplify the wider argument of the thesis: memory and identity in Richard II; memory and time in 1 Henry IV; memory and death in 2 Henry IV; and memory and forward recollection in Henry V.

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Ryan, Kiernan, Supervisor
  • Fernie, Ewan, Supervisor
  • Rankin, Deana, Advisor
Award date1 Feb 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

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