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Claire Bourne

Claire Bourne

Assistant Professor of English



Accidental Shakespeare asks what kind of information the early texts of Shakespeare’s plays preserve and transmit. The New Bibliographic orthodoxy of distinguishing “substantive” features of early editions (words) from “accidental” features (punctuation, spelling, and anything else affecting the “formal presentation” of the text) has long shaped the editing, teaching, and study of Shakespeare. By examining the fact and concept of textual “accident” in a variety of pre-modern and modern contexts, this project aims to show that notionsof “Shakespeare” have always been contingent on the unintentional and extra-lexical attributes of his plays in print.