I was reading Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms last week and was struck throughout by the main subject’s unconscious insistence on literalizing as his main reading/interpretational strategy. Today I’ve been reading my university’s copy of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s The Changeling and find that I’ve been preceded by someone with an almost equally strong literalizing tendency. Their marginal commentary was kept up throughout and by the end passed from annoying to accidental Mystery Science Theater. Here are some highlights:
Act 3, Quieting Dead Metaphors
Act IV, The Spatial Poetics of Obscurity
Act V, Unmasking Metaphors: Reading Radical Literalism in Jacobean Tragedy
And two bonuses – because no modern academic reading is complete without finding ‘fallic’ (sic) imagery or pointing out performativity.