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Magnusson, Lynne (Augusta) 1953–

MAGNUSSON, Lynne (Augusta) 1953–

(A. L. Magnusson)

PERSONAL: Born 1953.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Cambridge University Press, Edinburgh Bldg., Shaftesbury Rd., Cambridge CB2 2RU, England.

CAREER: University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, associate professor of English; Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, professor of English and literature.

WRITINGS:

(Editor and author of introduction, with C. Edward McGee, as A. L. Magnusson) The Elizabethan Theatre XI, P. D. Meany (Port Credit, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

Shakespeare and Social Dialogue: Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1999.

(With others) Reading Shakespeare's Dramatic Language: A Guide, Arden (London, England), 2000.

(Editor and author of introduction, with C. Edward McGee) The Elizabethan Theatre XV: Papers Given at the Fifteenth and Sixteenth International Conferences on Elizabethan Theatre Held at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, P. D. Meany (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

(With others) Shakespeare and the Language of Translation, Arden (London, England), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS: Lynne Magnusson is a Shakespeare scholar who has edited volumes of conference papers and written books, including Shakespeare and Social Dialogue: Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters. In the first section of this 1999 release, Magnusson uses politeness theory to study the relationships among the characters of Henry VIII, as well as in the sonnets. In the second section, she examines social relations through references to letter writing as found in various Renaissance manuals. According to Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 contributor Meredith Anne Skura, "Magnusson … calls attention to a neglected dimension of dialogue, in this case its socially determined structure. She argues that dialogue on stage as well as off functions not just semantically, to express meaning, but also socially, to establish and maintain relationships between characters. Because critics often neglect this dimension, Magnusson cautions, they need to be careful about finding psychological or stylistic significance in lines that may be predetermined by social convention rather than created on the spot by the character speaking—or by the playwright."

"Although Shakespeare and Social Dialogue is not a long book," noted H. R. Woudhuysen in the Times Literary Supplement, "it is a dense one that opens up a relatively new subject." As Wayne A. Rebhorn described in the Journal of English and Germanic Philology, "Magnusson has written a splendid book that offers both a compelling method of close reading and a number of careful, discriminating analyses of Renaissance English texts. Like the New Historicists, Magnusson is interested in the ways that literary works articulate the social and political world around them, and she demonstrates in admirable detail how linguistic texture reveals—indeed constructs—social, cultural, and ideological practices."

In her introduction to the book, noted William Dodd in Shakespeare Quarterly, "Magnusson expresses surprise at 'how few stylistic studies of Shakespeare's work since the emergence of the new historicism have taken up the challenge to relate linguistic texture to social, cultural, and ideological practices and … how few historicist studies have found ways to reengage linguistic detail or texture in any sustained way that accords with their theoretical principles and political enterprise.'" Dodd continued: "Shakespeare and Social Dialogue thus aims to begin filling this gaping gulf. But it does much more than that. Though unassumingly written and cautiously argued, it has important implications not only for the analysis of Shakespearean and dramatic dialogue in general but also for the current debate over the nature of character in literature and drama."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Criticism, summer, 2000, Gary Schneider, review of Shakespeare and Social Dialogue: Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters, p. 384.

Journal of English and Germanic Philology, April, 2001, Wayne A. Rebhorn, review of Shakespeare and Social Dialogue, p. 270.

Renaissance Quarterly, autumn, 2001, review of Reading Shakespeare's Dramatic Language: A Guide, p. 999.

Shakespeare in Southern Africa (annual), 2001, Ronald Hall, review of Reading Shakespeare's Dramatic Language, p. 107.

Shakespeare Quarterly, spring, 2001, William Dodd, review of Shakespeare and Social Dialogue, p. 154.

Shakespeare Studies (annual), 2001, William H. Sherman, review of Shakespeare and Social Dialogue, p. 232.

Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, spring, 2000, Meredith Anne Skura, review of Shakespeare and Social Dialogue, p. 355.

Times Literary Supplement, June 18, 1999, H. R. Woudhuysen, review of Shakespeare and Social Dialogue, p. 31.

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