This chapter begins with speech — the original medium of communication — and with the related terms ‘expression’ and ‘articulation’. Both are shown to have bodily associations in addition to their functions in the context of language. It focuses on the Renaissance literary and educational values associated with speech-based skills, notably ‘liveliness’ (enargeia). Illustrations are given from Quintilian, Erasmus, Mulcaster, and Derrida. The issues raised in the first half of the chapter are developed in a discussion of Hamlet, a play (and character) much concerned with the problems of the media and with the relations between the oral and the written, rhetoric and performance. It is argued that the play tracks the future of English as a subject as it rejects the world of speech and performance as inauthentic, and searches for an idealized world of self and text.
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