Time Travel and the Return of the Author
Shakespeare in Love, "The Shakespeare Code," and Bill
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, fueled 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 "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 modern audiences, whether that be romantic bard or rock star hero. The texts considered here which explore versions of the author Shakespeare include John Madden's Shakespeare in Love (1998), the BBC's Doctor Who: "The Shakespeare Code" (2007), and Richard Bracewell's Bill (2015). The discussion investigates the significance of these filmic travels through time and place and, by linking them to literary tourism, examines how these ideas are utilized to create personal and national memories. It also shows how these representations of time and place, and the attempt to establish contemporary connections with audiences, engages with central questions in adaptation studies about the authenticity and fidelity of texts and performance.
The opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors, the English Department, or the University System of Georgia.
Borrowers and Lenders is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND. Authors hold copyright on their essays and may share their essays freely and readers may cite essays freely with appropriate attribution. We abide by Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act on Fair Use.
If you have any further information about copyrights and permissions of material on this site, please contact the editors.