Theodore Tregear, Trinity

Degree: PhD
Course: MedRen - Ren
Supervisor: Dr R Lyne
Dissertation Title:

Anthologizing Shakespeare


Biographical Information

I was born and educated in London, before coming up as an undergraduate to read English at Trinity College, Cambridge. Having graduated in 2014, I completed a Master of Studies course at Hertford College, Oxford, after which I returned to Cambridge to begin my PhD.

Research Interests

I'm coming to the end of a doctorate looking at Shakespeare's presence in early modern poetic anthologies, principally the printed compilations Englands Parnassus and Belvedere (both 1600), and using them to reread the plays and poems from which they gather their material. The genre of the anthology is useful in considering not only how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century readers read poetry - as concerned with the aesthetic glamour of long poetic passages as with the immediate utility of maxims and sententiae - but how Shakespeare's works are shaped by this culture of excerpting and commonplacing. I want to suggest that Shakespeare was keenly attuned to this way of reading; that some of the passages included in these anthologies have an especially anthologizable quality to them in the first place; and that these 'anthology moments' in the plays especially are calculated features of Shakespeare's drama, announced within the play as places rich in material worth taking, and occurring at slow but highly charged moments in the drama.

The anthologies I work on are participating, I would argue, in wider considerations of how and why to read poetry, gathering short passages on shared themes as a preliminary to the kind of close attention we might term literary criticism. I want to read Shakespeare's works in the light of what gets taken from them, thinking about how he might use these practices of excerption to explore theoretical questions relating to poetry and drama, and the afterlife he and his works might win by being preserved in anthologies. My work focusses on the poems with which Shakespeare began his career - Venus and AdonisLucrece, and later on the Sonnets - as well as several plays that were particularly anthologized, or seem particularly anthologizable: Romeo and JulietRichard II, and Hamlet. Along the way, I talk about dying words, Aristotle's Poetics, the relationship between lyric and sententiae, and the distinctive life of an artwork.

Other topics of research include early modern poetry and drama more broadly; classical texts and their reception; Renaissance aesthetics, poetics and literary criticism; and formalist approaches to English literature. Outside the period, I have interests in German philosophy from Kant to Adorno; Marxist social, economic and literary theory; and music, from the sixteenth century to the present day.

Areas of Supervision

I have worked with students from various colleges on Shakespeare (Part I Paper 5) and early modern literature (Part I Paper 4), as well as tragedy (Part II Paper 2) and practical criticism.

Selected Publications

'Music at the Close: Richard II in the Elizabethan Anthologies', forthcoming in Studies in Philology (2019).

'Mourning Thomas Kyd's Lost Works', in SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 58.2 (2018), 307-330.

'Opaque Origins', review of Christopher Pye, The Storm at Sea: Political Aesthetics in the Time of ShakespeareCambridge Quarterly 47.1 (2018), 90-98.