Time Travel and the Return of the Author

Wardle, Janice (2019) Time Travel and the Return of the Author. Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, 12 (1). ISSN 1554-6985

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In the latter part of the twentieth century Roland Barthes's reader orientated theory 'the death of the author' seemed to signal the end of biographical literary investigation. And yet by the end of the twentieth century, fuelled in part by the rising wave of celebrity culture, a new strategy in relation to canonical texts emerged: the resurrection of the author via the biographical film. This paper examines the extent to which this ' time travel' via contemporary film, to the early career of Shakespeare in the 1590s, has been driven by a search for images of the playwright relevant to modem audiences, whether that be romantic bard or rock star hero. It explores versions of the author Shakespeare in Madden's Shakesp eare in Love
(I 998), the BBC's Dr Who: Shakespeare Code (2007), and Bracewell's Bill (2015). The paper explores the significance of these travels through time and place and, by linking them to literary tourism, examines how these ideas are utilised to create personal and national memories. It also shows how time and place in representations of the author Shakespeare, have become a means to establish contemporary connections that impinge on central questions in adaptation studies, about the authenticity and fidelity of texts and performance.

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