Dreams in the forest
Romantic comedy
in Shakespeare’s cinema of love
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This chapter shows how Shakespeare innovated his unique brand of romantic comedy under the influence of prose romance and Lyly’s dramatized romance. The resulting hybrid form was so successful that it is an underpinning structural formula for romantic comedy in many modern movies, even ones where Shakespeare is not a direct source. His most successful examples became conflated through the Western educational system into a recognisable and very flexible genre, tracing how ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’ through successive stages involving centrally an exotic, transforming location such as a forest. Even twentieth century critics such as Northrop Frye played their part in popularising the genre and paving the way into movies, because of their strong influence on students in the twentieth century.

Shakespeare’s cinema of love

A study in genre and influence

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