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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Thinking, Freud argued, begins as a pre-conscious activity, although we paradoxically become aware of it only in consciousness: whatever we know about thinking is already a representation of thinking. This chapter argues that Shakespeare in this sense invented what we most commonly recognize as the verbal embodiment of thinking. Contrasting 3 Henry VI with King John, it shows how, in the latter play, Shakespeare first constructed his signature representation of interiority in the highly disjunctive, self-revising speech of the Bastard. Moving on to examine the more fully ripened version of this kind of speech in King Lear and The Tempest, this chapter then shows how Shakespeare’s representations of thinking have inflected not only the history of the lyric poem in English (from Keats’s ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ to Louise Gluck’s ‘Before the Storm’) but also the novel (Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway).

Keywords: Woolf, Keats, Coleridge, Glück, Freud, Heidegger, the lyric, the self, thinking, interiority, consciousness

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