Russell West-Pavlov
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Remembering to forget in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida
Narrative palimpsests and moribund epochalities
in Love, history and emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare
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This chapter argues that Troilus and Cressida's attempted violence upon a prototypical form of historical time is in part an attack on the literary narratives. What the play lays bare is a nefarious temporality that is simultaneously condemned and underpinned, yet ultimately eroded by the relentless literary epochality of the successive Troy narratives. The chapter suggests that the past in William Shakespeare's Trojan War drama is a literary past. Emulation, in Shakespeare's vision, is at the heart of hierarchy, maintaining and exaggerating differences, and thus generating a fundamental social energy within a warlike aristocratic society. It also suggests that it is in the way that the chivalric texts accruing to the Troy narratives and the residual early modern ethos of a mythologized medievalism are relentlessly dismantled in a process of hyper-critique. The chapter focuses on the social and temporal threat that underpinning the masculine honour.

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Love, history and emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare

Troilus and Criseyde and Troilus and Cressida


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