Power and Passion in Shakespeare's Pronouns: Interrogating 'you' and 'thou'

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Ashgate, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 280 pages
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In revealing patterns of you/thou use in Shakespeare's plays, this study highlights striking and significant shifts from one to the other. Penelope Freedman demonstrates that understanding of the implications of you/thou use in early modern English has been bedevilled by overconcern with issues of power and status, and her careful research, analysing all the plays, reveals how a fuller understanding of Shakespeare's usage can provide a key to unlock puzzles of motive and character, and a glass to clarify relationships and emotions. The work focuses particularly on dialogue between men and women, and sheds new light on male and female language use. The scholarship presented in this volume is augmented with tables and a glossary of linguistic terms.

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Superb - as a First Folio Performer Specialist I have long been aware of the importance of the distinction between (the broadly speaking formal) you + ye, your, yours and (the broadly speaking familiar / intimate) thou + thee, thy and thine.
The scholarship of this book takes it to a whole new level of discovery and challenges me to rethink my approach to certain characters / scenes / speeches that I had not considered before. I like those kind of acting challenges. Fascinating stuff.
John Nobody of www.versebuster.com April 2010

About the author (2007)

Penelope Freedman taught Literary Linguistics and Stylistics at the University of Kent until 1992, combining her academic work with acting and directing at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury. She now lives and works in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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