Shakespeare’s Insides

The research project Shakespeare’s Insides is the first comprehensive and fully systematic study of all soliloquies and solo asides in Shakespeare’s plays. Its unique mixed methodology—a combination of computer-assisted coding and traditional interpretive practices, from close reading to sociohistorical analysis—offers new and distinctive insights into one of the most closely studied authors in world literature.
The first step in the research process was the creation of the Shakespeare’s Insides Database (SID), a collection of all soliloquies and solo asides (dubbed “insides” for short) in thirty-nine Shakespeare plays. These texts were annotated in the software programme nVivo 10 according to variables of literary interest (such as act, dramatic subgenre, probable time of composition, dramatic speech acts, selected figures of speech, and character attributes such as gender and class). Having access to such comprehensive and detailed data makes it possible to generalize dependably about Shakespeare’s authorial habits, and, by extension, to identify situations where the author departs in interesting ways from his habitual practices.

The second concrete outcome of this project is a monograph of around 85,000 words (currently in its final stages of preparation). It uses the broad patterns and significant exceptions unearthed by the SID database as a backdrop for new perspectives on a broad range of Shakespeare plays.


University of Gothenburg, Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Project members

Marcus Nordlund