“Unheedy haste”: Interruptions, overlaps, and Shakespeare’s directing hand

Peter Groves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Early in his career, Shakespeare developed a convention whereby full verbal interruption (including anacoluthon and aposiopesis) disrupts syntax but leaves the meter of the line intact. This paper explores the possibility that in the late 1590s Shakespeare developed on the basis of this a further convention, an example of what John Barton has called “stage-direction in shorthand,” for signaling verbal overlap between characters, through the use of what I call “junctural extrametricality” (JEM), a form of metrical overlapping at the point where one speaker succeeds another. The contention is supported through the examination of many examples of JEM-cued dramatically motivated overlaps.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalVoice and Speech Review
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Shakespeare
  • meter
  • performance
  • interruptions
  • overlaps

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