Shakespeare | Cut: Rethinking Cutwork in an Age of Distraction

ISBN : 9780198735526

Bruce R. Smith
240 ページ
129 x 196 mm

In distracted times like the present, Shakespeare too has been driven to distraction. Shakespeare | Cut considers contemporary practices of cutting up Shakespeare in stage productions, videogames, book sculptures, and YouTube postings, but it also takes the long view of how Shakespeare's texts have been cut apart in creative ways beginning in Shakespeare's own time. The book's five chapters consider cuts, cutting, and cutwork from a variety of angles: (1) as bodily experiences, (2) as essential parts of the process whereby Shakespeare and his contemporaries crafted scripts, (3) as units in perception, (4) as technologies situated at the interface between 'figure' and 'life,' and (5) as a fetish in western culture since 1900. Printed here for the first time are examples of the cut-ups that William S. Burroughs and Brion Guysin carried out with Shakespeare texts in the 1950s. Bruce R. Smith's original analysis is accompanied by twenty-four illustrations, which suggest the multiple media in which cutwork with Shakespeare has been carried out.


1 Cuts in, to, by, from, and with Shakespeare: Forms and effects across four centuries
2 Cutwork: Cutting out plays and putting them on
3 Cut and run: Perceptual cuts in hearing, seeing, and remembering
4 At the cutting edge: Interfaces between figure and life
5 The new cut: Shuffling cuts since 1900


Bruce R. Smith, Dean's Professor of English at the University of Southern California, is the author of seven books, including The Acoustic World of Early Modern England (1999), The Key of Green (2009), Phenomenal Shakespeare (2010), and Shakespeare and Masculinity (2000, reissued 2012). The two-volume two-million-word Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare, for which he served as General Editor, was published by Cambridge University Press in January 2016. A former president of the Shakespeare Association of America, he has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the British Academy, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.