I am interested in breaking down boundaries – disciplinary, national, and historical. My expertise and experience are in Shakespeare and early modern literature more broadly, but I am as concerned with what is medieval or even modern about early modern literature, and how such boundaries come into existence. Most of my research so far has focused on how Shakespeare’s works can be read both in the context of their own time and the time that came before; how they prefigure ideas that came later; and even how the ideas being expressed by Shakespeare may not have had a means of theoretical expression in his own time.
My first book, Shakespeare’s Ontology, which I am currently editing for publication, considers Shakespeare’s evident preoccupation with ‘being’ from the standpoint of philosophical ontology, questioning and clarifying how the plays and poems present existence. The aim is to reveal what ‘being’ involves that is different from, for instance, identity or subjectivity.
The project I am currently working on, Shakespeare’s Untranslatability, continues this concern with philosophical ideas and boundary breaking from a more international perspective. My intent is to undo the separation between global Shakespeare and textual studies by using translations of Shakespeare as a way of reading Shakespeare. Specifically, I am undertaking a philosophical investigation of untranslatable elements in Japanese translations of Shakespeare to reveal the particularities and the limitations of the source text. Untranslatability invites a philosophical consideration of the source text, providing an opportunity to examine what makes the original language unique in ways that a monolingual native speaker might not realise. It also exposes Shakespeare’s supposed universality as a shibboleth by making visible the cultural norms inherent in his works.