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Re-tuning Shakespeare uses modern and historical linguistic evidence to reconsider the role that syllable-duration may have played in Elizabethan verse. The methodological and theoretical frameworks for the project are drawn from Elizabethan metrical treatises (from Ascham to Daniel), Kristin Hanson’s work on moraic meters in Sidney and Shakespeare (2001, 2006), and Dobson’s English Pronunciation 1500-1700 (1968). At the moment, I am particularly curious about the distinction Hanson (2006) makes between syllabic, lyric meters and moraic, dramatic meters, and the ways these can be manipulated to create dramatic action in performance. 

Presentations and Publications


Single author. “Thomas Campion’s Iambic and Quantitative Sapphic: Further Evidence for Phonological Weight in Elizabethan English Quantitative and Non-quantitative Meters.” Language and Literature. Forthcoming. 

Single author. “Puttenham Rehabilitated: the Significance of ‘Tune’ in The Arte of English Poesie. Computing in the Humanities Working Papers/Text Technology 12.1 (September 2003) <http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/chwp/titles.html>. Web. 


“Re-Tuning Shakespeare: Meter and Timing in The Comedy of Errors and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Ph.D. Department of English, University of Toronto, 2007.

Conference Papers

Single author. "Speaking in Tongues: Metrical Dramaturgy in Sir Clyomon and Clamydes." Panel paper: Imagining the Queen's Men. Renaissance Society of America, April 2010. 

Single author. “Rhythmic (and non-rhythmic) Richards: Shakespeare vs. the Queen’s Men.” Seminar paper: Shakespeare and the Creation of Language: Poetry in the World of Play. Shakespeare Association of America, Dallas, March 2008. 

Single author. “Meter, timing, and dramaturgy in The Comedy of Errors and A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Seminar paper: Performing Textual Shakespeares. The American Society for Theatre Research and The Theatre Library Association, Toronto, November 2005. 

Single author. “In tune with the times?: English Renaissance Metrics and the Lexicons of Early Modern English.” Paper: Association for Computers and the Humanities-Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing, Victoria, British Columbia, June 2005.

Single author “Metrical Pacing in The Comedy of Errors?” Seminar paper: The Comedy of Errors: New Directions. Shakespeare Association of America, Bermuda, March 2005. 

Single author. “Musical-metrical vocabulary in Early Modern English: a preliminary lexicon.” Panel paper: Renaissance Digital Humanities. Renaissance Society of America, Toronto, 2003. 

Single author. “Re-tuning English Renaissance Poetry: an application of the Lexicons of Early Modern English.” Paper: Consortium for Computers in the Humanities/Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, Toronto, May 2002. 

© Jennifer Roberts-Smith 2012