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Dance in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ | Early Modern and Open Access

By June 12, 2016 No Comments

This is part of a bi-weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer-reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.


Claire Gwendoline Hansen, “The Complexity of Dance in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Early Modern Literary Studies 18 (2015)


In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, dance operates as a vehicle for interaction and transformation. In exhibiting these complex behavioural patterns, dance falls under the purview of complexity theory, which is interested in how systems are created and changed through the interaction of their parts. The aim of this essay is to use the lens of complexity theory to reconsider the role of dance in three key passages of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This analysis will demonstrate that the dances of the play function as an alternative model of network interactions or politicised discourses used to explore the negotiation of tensions, and to communicate between and across different systems within the play’s narrative.


Author Lindsay

Lindsay Ann Reid is a regular contributor to The Scrivener and Early Modern and Open Access. She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is a Lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

More posts by Lindsay

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