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The speaker, his soul, and the poem as stage
Angelika Zirker

conventions of comedy rather than tragedy through their happy endings: hence, one might also call these miniature dramas divine comedies . The generic contexts associated with drama are further reflected in the form of the sonnet itself. Donne’s Holy Sonnets mostly end happily (or with a positive outlook, e.g. Holy Sonnet ‘Batter my Heart’), either in that the speaker finds grace, a way towards redemption, or in that death is overcome

in William Shakespeare and John Donne
The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night
Richard Hillman

As this chapter’s title is meant to signal, I propose to treat three comedies dating from between 1596 (roughly) and 1604 as varied experiments in tragicomedy. To this extent, they anticipate the formal generic turn of the final plays, but they are far from achieving the distinctive synthesis of tragic and comic strains which the latter establish (while exhibiting, of course, their own variations). Instead, the notion of tragicomedy that broadly applies here involves a more or less uneasy juxtaposition of fulfilled comic patterns with an affirmation of tragic

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic
Nigel Wood

But we know we are watching a comedy, so such scepticism is presumably diluted by the inexorability of the fortunate ending; Puck provides an apology for any offending ‘shadows’ – or unskilful actors – and the ‘visions’ they have offered that can now safely appear but a ‘weak and idle theme’ true only of dreams (5.1.417–21). Seasoned theatregoers

in The Renaissance of emotion
Stephen Orgel

Othello begins at the moment when comedies end, with a happy marriage. It begins, too, where The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night leave off, with the question of ethnic or social outsiders – Shylock, Malvolio – as the catalysts for the destructive elements within society. It might seem that here the terms are reversed, with the

in Spectacular Performances
R. S. White

Gendered disguise If Shakespeare’s comedies in general provide cinematic romantic comedy with a composite generic blueprint, and if A Midsummer Night’s Dream offers a specific model for love’s confusions, another linking, generic element that emerges is romantic comedy based on disguised identity. This chapter raises the acute problems concerning the nature of

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love
The ‘jest unseen’ of love letters in Two Gentlemen of Verona and El perro del
Susanne L. Wofford

of domination, with no liberty at its top, and especially not for women, whose figures of highest rank are also shown to be constrained and lacking in freedom. The social order itself in both plays is represented as dominating individuals within it, and comedy as a genre participates in both representing that degree of domination, and imagining an escape from it. This double

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
French inflections

This book discusses Shakespeare’s deployment of French material within genres whose dominant Italian models and affinities might seem to leave little scope for French ones. It proposes specific, and unsuspected, points of contact but also a broad tendency to draw on French intertexts, both dramatic and non-dramatic, to inflect comic forms in potentially tragic directions. The resulting tensions within the genre are evident from the earliest comedies to the latest tragicomedies (or ‘romances’). An introduction establishes the French inflection of Italian modes and models, beginning with The Taming of the Shrew, as a compositional paradigm and the basis for an intertextual critical approach. Next, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is related to three French intertexts highlighting, respectively, its use of pastoral dramatic convention, its colouration by the histoire tragique and its parodic dramatisation of the Pyramus and Thisbe story. The third chapter interrogates the ‘French’ settings found in the romantic comedies, while the fourth applies French intertexts to three middle-to-late comedies as experiments in tragicomedy. Finally, the distinctive form given tragicomedy (or ‘romance’) in Shakespeare’s late production is set against the evolution of tragicomedy in France and related to French intertexts that shed new light on the generic synthesis achieved—and the degree of bricolage employed in achieving it.

A study in genre and influence

This entertaining and scholarly book takes as its theme the original argument that Shakespeare’s generic innovations in dramatizing love stories have found their way, through various cultural channels, into the films of Hollywood in the first half of the twentieth century and, more recently, Bollywood. It does not deal primarily with individual cinematic allusions to Shakespeare’s plays, nor ‘the Shakespeare film’ as a distinct, heritage genre, nor with ‘adaptation’ as a straightforward process, but rather the ways in which the film industry is implicitly indebted to the generic shapes of a number of Shakespearean forms based on comedy and romance dealing with love. Particular plays such as The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, and Romeo and Juliet all powerfully entered the genres of mainstream movies through their compelling emotional structures and underlying conceptualisations of love. Drawing on dozens of examples from films, both mainstream and less familiar, the book opens up rich, new ways of understanding the pervasive influence of Shakespeare on modern media and culture, and more generally on our conventions of romantic love. It is such connections that make Shakespeare a potent ‘brand’ and international influence in 2016, even 400 years after his death.

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Even by the standards of Shakespearean comedy, As You Like It tests theatrical logic. Unlike other Shakespearean comedies, comic closure is not compromised by pain, punishment or death; nor does the play returns its characters and audiences to a 'real' world in which the fantastic may be put to the test. This book focuses on the performance of As You Like It in the twentieth century. It offers a summary of the prehistory that provides its background and context. The book examines the play as a text for performance on the early modern stage. It is examined not by conjecturally reconstructing a performance that may or may not have taken place, but by mining the script for clues as to how it might have been handled by its first players. It pays particular attention to three contrasting RSC productions: Michael Elliott's of 1961, which launched Vanessa Redgrave's legendary, epoch-defining Rosalind; Buzz Goodbody's of 1973, and Adrian Noble's of 1985. The book addresses two productions beyond the English (and English-speaking) theatre context. The first of these, seen at l'Atelier in Paris in 1934, is Jacques Copeau's redaction Rosalinde; the second Peter Stein's monumental four-hour production for the Schaubühne Berlin in 1977. It focuses on two all-male versions of the play: Clifford Williams's for the National Theatre in 1967, and Declan Donnellan's for Cheek by Jowl in 1991 and 1994. The book draws substantially upon the first-hand audience experience of a recent production, Blanche McIntyre's for Shakespeare's Globe in 2015.

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A play that ‘approves the common liar’
Carol Chillington Rutter

of our general's ….’ serves to wrong-foot the lovers’ huge passion. Dotage. Youngsters in love may dote, like Romeo doting on Rosaline before he meets Juliet (2.3.81) or Helena on that ‘spotted and inconstant man’, Demetrius, in A Midsummer Night's Dream : she ‘dotes, / Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry’ (1.1.108–109). 9 But the infatuations of youth that transform young lovers literally into fools can be indulged, generically ‘corrected’ by comedy. Age hardens attitudes towards ‘dotage’. At Antony's age dotage

in Antony and Cleopatra