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Performing Prophecy: More Life on the Shakespearean Scene


The stage has long played host to ghosts. This essay wagers on the analytic potentiality of another theatrical citizen: the prophet. Drawing on work by literary critic Paul Kottman and political theorist Bonnie Honig, Keegan argues that the optic of the prophet resolves the theater less as a space of haunting and obligation, than as a space of plurality and potentiality—of more life on the scene. Through a close reading of Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Henry VIII, the author traces the development of an analysis of performance, which moves from Wolsey’s royalist theatricality to a technology of democratic speculation with Elizabeth’s christening.

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