This is part of a regular 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.
Citation and Link:
The purpose of this study is to present the theoretical bases of a work in progress, the author’s forthcoming dictionary of Shakespeare’s insults. If Shakespeare’s insults have so far produced bankable entertaining anthologies of wit, they have not been the object of any systematic scientific research. This statement shows the relevance of such a book and at the same time suggests that the enterprise is paved with specific difficulties. Notably using Évelyne Larguèche’s work on the “insulting effect”, we first show that the aim of this dictionary is to elucidate what words have an insulting content and effect in Shakespeare’s plays and why. Then we show that this dictionary cannot but adopt a pragmatic linguistic approach which does not exclude what Jean-Jacques Lecercle calls “the other side of language” or “the remainder”. We strive to show that, by its essential instability, the language of insults is at the heart of the richness and theatricality of Shakespeare’s plays.