This chapter explores the nature of poetry as a dramatic use of language, showing the relevance of Experientialist theories in Cognitive Linguistics to the empirical experience of acting Shakespeare’s verse out. The assumption is that an overt and collectively-shared embodiment of meanings, accomplished through the use of creative writing and drama techniques, can enhance the interpreters’ awareness of the formal and metaphorical characteristics of this poetic text. This also entails the interpreters’ rediscovery of the ‘embodied’ nature of their own ‘schemata’ (or background experience) at the source of their emotional and conceptual responses to the poetic language of Shakespearean characters. Interpreters are therefore defined as acting interpreters when they act poetry out in a real space, appropriate it into their own schematic identities as they embody and authenticate its meanings, and then analyze its effects on themselves and on the other acting interpreters inter-acting with them. Embodied Stylistics is therefore meant not as the analysis of the text as such but, instead, as the analysis of the acting interpreters’ responses to the poetic patterns of the text. This theoretical argument becomes actualized in the experience of ‘poetic meaning embodiment’ reported by the case-study subjects as ‘acting interpreters’ (some of them acclaimed British actors and stage directors) and an embodied-stylistic analysis will be carried out precisely on the ethnographic data collected during their creative-writing and poetic-drama workshops.
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