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

Kirwan, Peter (2010) “What’s past is prologue”: negotiating the authority of tense in reviewing Shakespeare. Shakespeare, 6 (3). pp. 337-342. ISSN 1745-0926

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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.

Item Type: Article
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.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17450918.2010.497856.
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/17450918.2010.497856
Depositing User: Zimmerman, Emma
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2016 11:21
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2016 02:57
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/37575

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