(Auto)Biographical Forgery as a Means of De-Sacralizing Canonical Author (Arthur Phillips’ “The Tragedy of Arthur”)

Natalia Vysotska

Abstract


Due to a number of socio-cultural factors biography (sub)genre “аuthor as character” has become fairly popular in current biographic writings. It is no wonder that William Shakespeare – the central figure in the Western canon according to H. Bloom – is one of its favorite “heroes”. In his novel The Tragedy of Arthur (2011) Arthur Phillips increasingly referred to as one of the most promising American writers of his generation engages his readers in a sophisticated play carried out around Shakespeare as a cult person. The play is centered on Shakespeare’s “unknown” tragedy; its text is incorporated into the novel being a masterful stylization imitating conventions and language of Elizabethan drama. The bulk of the novel has the form of an Introduction to the play relating the latter’s story which is simultaneously the story of the protagonist’s (the writer Arthur Phillips’) personal and professional coming of age. The paper sets out to explore the strategies the novelist deploys to tackle topical issues of present-day humanities. These include institutionalizing of the canon; machinery of literary cult functioning; blending borders between the original and the copy/forgery in the age of electronic technologies; limits of autofiction, etc. The timeliness of these issues guarantees Phillips’ daring experiment no small degree of interest both in its matter and its form.


Keywords


William Shakespeare; Arthur Phillips; (sub)genre “аuthor as character”; Postmodernist play; forgery; canon; cult

References


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GOST Style Citations


Дубин Б. В. Классик – звезда – модное имя – культовая фигура: О стратегиях легитимации культурного авторитета / Борис Дубин // Культ как феномен литературного процесса: автор, текст, читатель : [коллективная монография] / oтв. ред. М. Ф. Надъярных, А. П. Уракова. – М. : ИМЛИ РАН, 2011. – С. 324–330.

 

Пронкевич О. Шекспір і популярна культура / Олександр Пронкевич // Шекспірівський дискурс : науковий збірник / відп. ред. Н. М. Торкут. – Запоріжжя : КПУ, 2010. – Вип. I. – С. 262–271.

 

Уракова А. П. Введение / Александра Уракова // Культ как феномен литературного процесса: автор, текст, читатель : [коллективная монография] / отв. ред. М. Ф. Надъярных, А. П. Уракова. – М. : ИМЛИ РАН, 2011. – С. 3–20.

 

Franssen P. The Author as Character: Defining a Genre. Introduction / Paul Franssen, Ton Hoenselaars // The Author as Character: Representing Historical Writers in Western Literature / ed. P. Franssen and T. Hoenselaars. – Madison : Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1999. – P. 11–35.

 

Eagleton T. Literary Theory: An Introduction / Terry Eagleton. – Oxford : Blackwell, 1983. – 248 p.

 

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory. Approaches, Scholars, Terms / gen. ed. I. Makaryk. – Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1994. – 656 p.

 

Garber M. Shakespeare and Modern Culture / Marjorie Garber. – N.Y. : Pantheon Books, 2008. – 321 p.

Phillips A. The Tragedy of Arthur / Arthur Phillips. – N.Y. : Random House, 2011. – 368 p.

 

Shapiro J. Introduction / James Shapiro// Shakespeare in America. An Anthology from the Revolution to Now / ed. by J. Shapiro. – N.Y. : The Library of America, 2014. – P. xix–xxxi.

 

Schlaeger J. Biography: Cult as Culture / Jurgen Schlaeger // The Art of Literary Biography. – Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1995. – P. 54–70.

 

Wells S. Taking Random House for a Shakespearean Ride / Stanley Wells // The New York Review of Books, 2011. – October 27. – P. 63–66. 



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