Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Adam Kitzes


This paper examines how notions of textuality influence the production of William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton's Timon of Athens in both scholarly, print editions and in theatrical performances of the play. It focuses specifically on the scenes involving Timon's epitaph, which have proven difficult to handle both editorially and theatrically, and seeks to show how changing views of the nature of textuality has significantly altered the way that different readers and audiences encounter this play. These issues regarding the idea of textuality begin with the play itself, which enacts its own ideas about the power of texts to intervene in human affairs. This is accomplished by framing the play's harsh critique of socio-economic relations--centering on ideas of the gift and the counterfeit--within a contestation of different modes of artistic representation. Timon's epitaph emerges at the end of this contest as a specifically textual emblem. How different editions and productions of Timon of Athens treat this textual moment in the play then offers insights into their own notions of textuality, and it demonstrates how these views influence their specific editorial and theatrical decisions about how to present this play to their respective audiences. Therefore, a review of the editorial and performance history that focuses on editions and productions which offer unique treatments of the epitaph scenes highlights the significant role that ideas of textuality play in shaping these versions of the play. It also suggests how work in the field of textual studies can ultimately influence theater practice.