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Three case studies

This book explores English tragedy in relation to France with a frank concentration on Shakespeare. Three manifestations of the 'Shakespearean tragic' are singled out: Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra and All's Well That Ends Well, a comedy with melancholic overtones whose French setting is shown to be richly significant. Hamlet has occasioned many books on its own, including a recent study by Margreta De Grazia, Hamlet without Hamlet, whose objective is to free the text from the 'Modern Hamlet'. The influence of Michel de Montaigne on Hamlet is usually assumed to have left its traces in more or less precise verbal or intellectual correspondences. The book proposes two further sources of French resonance accessible to auditors of the ultimate early modern English tragedy. It talks about two French Antonies. One is the steadfast friend of Caesar and avenging Triumvir, as heralded in Jacques Grévin's César and vividly evoked in Robert Garnier's Porcie. The other is the hedonist who ruins himself for Cleopatra, as first brought on stage in France by Étienne Jodelle in Cléopâtre captive, then substantially fleshed out in Garnier's own Marc Antoine. The distance between the tragedies and All's Well comes down to the difference between horizontal and vertical lifeless bodies. When he grafted the true-to-life histoire tragique of Hélène of Tournon onto the fairy-tale of Giletta of Narbonne, Shakespeare retained the latter's basic family situation. Shakespeare's Helena succeeds where the King has failed by exploiting her position as an outsider.

Theatre, form, meme and reciprocity
John Drakakis

as they must have done in their own period’. 48 She goes on to speculate: ‘Perhaps, then, the adaptability of Shakespeare echoes the renewability of the fairy tales he reinscribes.’ 49 The phrase ‘with a difference’ reserves for Shakespeare a residual ‘singularity’ that is important, since the thoughtless relativism that Belsey believes has infected the study of Shakespeare has been in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Indeed, to redistribute the elements of the Shakespearean text in such a way

in Shakespeare’s resources
Mythographic complexities in 1 Iron Age
Charlotte Coffin

, finishing Le Recueil des histoires de Troyes in 1464, which William Caxton translated into the English Recuyell published in 1473/74. 16 The word ‘translation’ does not convey the alterations along the way: this is a story of metamorphoses across genres and styles, through expansion or reduction. Benoît much developed the story he found in Dares and Dictys, adding lavish descriptions and fabulous details. He was ‘weaving in elements not only from classical sources like the Metamorphoses but also from all the romances and fairy tales he had ever read or heard

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
Foreign Antony and Cleopatra in Britain and abroad
Carol Chillington Rutter

’, she had nothing more than a cafe chair for a throne and, dying, couldn't even keep possession of her crown, ‘awry’ or not. For Die Zeit 's reviewer, a production that started as ‘oriental operetta’ ‘taking a holiday from Shakespeare’, then ‘halfway through … instead of falling for oriental fever’, sent Shakespeare ‘to Tuscany for therapy’, finally wound up in some kind of fairy-tale ‘Vienna’ in the hands of ‘Shakespeare, the inspired rake’ with that ‘long epilogue that belongs to no one but the queen’ (14 May 1994). For him, Mattes was ‘miscast’ as Cleopatra, but

in Antony and Cleopatra
Edna O’Brien’s self-disciplining bodies
Nicholas Taylor-Collins

steal Prospero’s books in Shakespeare’s The Tempest , [when] Eleanora finds freedom and escape, and her own expressive voice, through working her way through the contents of her husband’s library’ ( McWilliams, 2013 : 81). Declan Kiberd wishes away the fairy tale connection between The Country Girls and The Winter’s Tale ( Kiberd, 2017 : 70). The Shakespearean

in Shakespeare, memory, and modern Irish literature
John Drakakis

prospect of borrowing money from a usurer has been mooted, Portia’s confession that her ‘little body is aweary of this great world’ (1.2.1) highlights an anxiety that makes of Belmont something less than a fairy-tale world. Nerrisa’s response is to give Portia a mini-lecture on the virtues of the Aristotelian mean, as a response to her mistress’s frustrating dilemma: O me, the word ‘choose’! I may neither choose who I would, nor refuse who I dislike, so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of

in Shakespeare’s resources
Taking the measure of Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1972, 1978, 1982
Carol Chillington Rutter

of blood to the head’ that Michael Billington saw determining the decisions made by Gambon's Antony ( Guardian , 14 October 1982) or of the way Mirren's ‘barefoot Egyptian nymph’, with ‘the charming naivety of Princess Diana’ (who'd married the Prince of Wales in a fairy-tale wedding the previous year), raced ‘from one emotional whirlpool to another’ (David Roper, Daily Express , 14 October 1982). But Noble's direction also made room for the languid, the reflective. That mysterious scene among the common soldiers (4.3) who hear ‘the god Hercules whom Antony loved

in Antony and Cleopatra
Five minutes to midnight and All’s Well
Richard Hillman

not to impede the French in Italy, and Count of Roussillon became one of the titles claimed by the Emperor Charles V (Rodriguez-Salgado, 1988 , p. 33). On the one hand, the Catalan Roussillon made as fitting a setting for fairy-tale romance as, say, Illyria. On the other hand, in terms of French nationhood, the new-found Roussillon in Dauphiné takes the place of the lost one. By manipulating this

in French reflections in the Shakespearean tragic
King Lear and the King’s Men
Richard Wilson

‘distressed’ faux-naif beauty of the Contes de ma mère l’Oye. But though she ‘walks off with the fairy-tale prince’, when Cordelia tries the same trick, her prima donna offer of ‘love like salt’ is itself what critics now take ‘with a pinch of salt’. 75 And the reason for our scepticism is that Shakespeare shows how in the personalist politics of the

in Free Will
Love’s Labour’s Lost and As You Like It
Richard Hillman

where I previously included discussion of All’s Well That Ends Well (1602–3) in a study of Shakespearean tragedy. 1 The development of the problematic there is extensive, and I will not retrace it here, but it boils down to a notion that seems useful as well in exploring the earlier plays – that of a doubleness built into (or drawn out of) the French setting itself. In All’s Well That Ends Well , that setting virtually divides into two ‘Roussillons’, which remain in mutual suspension: one derived from Boccaccio’s medieval source story and in line with its fairy-tale

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic