Miss Rana Banna

Supervised by

  • Kiernan Ryan First/primary/lead supervisor


Personal profile

Rana Banna was educated at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she took a first-class degree in English Literature in 2013. The following year she completed the MA in English Literature with distinction, having written her dissertation on digressions in Shakespeare. Rana is now conducting doctoral research as an AHRC-funded PhD student. 

Research interests

Rana’s doctoral thesis is currently entitled The Semiotic Subject: Shakespeare and the Early Modern Philosophy of Language. It analyses the complex relationship between subjectivity and language in Renaissance literature, situating the work of Shakespeare in its contemporary philosophical, rhetorical, and theological contexts. It reconsiders how early modern writers perceive the role language plays in the constitution of an articulate “semiotic subject.”  It shall examine the ways in which Shakespeare and his contemporaries—radically prefiguring poststructuralist accounts—understand the relationship between language and identity, in order to recuperate a sixteenth- and seventeenth-century rhetoric of subjectivity. Put simply, this study seeks to find the early modern answer to Juliet’s question, ‘what’s in a name?’

The compulsion to locate the subjective self in language itself is prevalent throughout Shakespeare’s works, as a glance at any of the Sonnets or the soliloquies of the great tragic protagonists makes immediately clear. Keeping close textual analysis at the heart of its method, this thesis seeks to make a major contribution to the key critical debates concerning the rhetoric of subjectivity and the linguistic constitution of the subject in Shakespeare’s poetry and plays.  

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