This collection of essays explores tragedy, the most versatile of Renaissance literary genres, revealing its astonishing thematic, stylistic and emotional range. Each chapter consists of a case study, offering not only a definition of a particular kind of Renaissance tragedy but also new research into an important example of that genre. There is only one chapter on Shakespeare; instead contributors attend to subgenres of tragedy – biblical tragedy and closet drama, for example – in which Shakespeare did not engage and others in which the nature of his influence is interrogated, producing original critical readings of individual plays which show how interventions in these subgenres can be mapped onto debates surrounding numerous important issues, including national identity, the nature of divine authority, early modern youth culture, gender and ethics, as well as questions relating to sovereignty and political intervention. The chapters also highlight the rich range of styles adopted by the early modern tragic dramatists and show how opportunely the genre as a whole is positioned for speaking truth to power. Collectively, these essays reassess the various sub-genres of Renaissance tragedy in ways which respond to the radical changes that have affected the critical landscape over the last few decades.
theoretical politicisation of the genre occurred, initially by
monarchomachist Protestant publishers and translators of Heliodorus,
then by adapters such as Sidney, Shakespeare and Sidney Wroth.
In addition to being associated with political
discourse, European erotic romance set the standard by which the
social and literary significance of chivalric romance was judged. In
This introduction establishes the French inflection of Italian modes and
models in Shakespearean comedy as a compositional paradigm and the basis for
an intertextual critical approach. After discussion of the broad theoretical
principles of such an approach, The Taming of the Shrew is set off against
its anonymous analogue, The Taming of a Shrew, so as to throw into relief
the latter’s incorporation, in the key passage presenting the heroine’s
acceptance of her ‘taming’, of a translation from Guillaume Du Bartas’s La
création du monde. The intertextual dynamic thereby set in motion is then
applied to Shakespeare’s text, with attention to the different
interpretative possibilities thereby made available, given the uncertain
relation between the two plays with regard to chronology and authorship.
The volume offers a new method of interpreting screen adaptations of Shakespearean drama, focusing on the significance of cinematic genres in the analysis of films adapted from literary sources. The book’s central argument is rooted in the recognition that film genres may provide the most important context informing a film’s production, critical and popular reception. The novelty of the volume is in its use of a genre-based interpretation as an organising principle for a systematic interpretation of Shakespeare film adaptations. The book also highlights Shakespearean elements in several lesser-known films, hoping to generate new critical attention towards them. The volume is organised into six chapters, discussing films that form broad generic groups. Part I comprises three genres from the classical Hollywood era (western, melodrama and gangster noir), while Part II deals with three contemporary blockbuster genres (teen film, undead horror and the biopic). The analyses underline elements that the films have inherited from Shakespeare, while emphasising how the adapting genre leaves a more important mark on the final product than the textual source. The volume’s interdisciplinary approach means that its findings are rooted in both Shakespeare and media studies, underlining the crucial role genres play in the production and reception of literature as well as in contemporary popular visual culture.
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.
This book offers a new approach to engaging with the representation and aesthetics of provisional knowledge in Edmund Spenser’s writing via a focus on his use of spatial images. The study takes advantage of recent interdisciplinary interests in the spatial qualities of early modern thought and culture, and considers literature concerning the art of cosmography and navigation alongside imaginative literature in order to identify shared modes and preoccupations. The book looks to the work of cultural and historical geographers in order to gauge the roles that aesthetic subjectivity and the imagination play in the development of geographical knowledge – contexts ultimately employed by the study to achieve a better understanding of the place of Ireland in Spenser’s writing. The study also engages with recent ecocritical approaches to literary environments, such as coastlines, wetlands, and islands, in order to frame fresh readings of Spenser’s handling of mixed genres.
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.
Thomas Heywood was unusual in the diversity and sheer quantity of his output, and fascinatingly individual in his classicism. This volume offers a ground-breaking investigation of his engagement with the classics across a writing career that spanned more than 40 years. It is the first in-depth study of his classicism, and it features a variety of perspectives. The introduction and twelve essays trace how the classics shaped Heywood’s writing in a wide variety of genres – translation, drama, epyllic and epic verse, compendia, epigrams, panegyrics and pamphlets – and informed both his many pageants and the warship he helped design for Charles I. Close readings demonstrate the depth and breadth of his classicism, establishing the rich influence of continental editions and translations of Latin and Greek texts, early modern mythographies, chronicles and the medieval tradition of Troy as revived by the Tudors. The essays probe Heywood’s habit of juxtaposing different and often disjunctive layers of a capaciously conceived ‘classical tradition’ in thought-provoking ways, attend to his use of the multiplicitous logic of myth to interrogate gender and heroism, and consider the way he turns to antiquity not only to celebrate but also to defamiliarise the theatrical or political present. Different contributions focus on A Woman Killed with Kindness, Oenone and Paris, Loves School, The Rape of Lucrece, Troia Britanica, the Ages plays, Gynaikeion, Pleasant Dialogues and Dramma’s, Apology for Actors and Sovereign of the Seas. Classical reception thus provides an illuminating, productively cross-generic angle for approaching Heywood’s prolific output and idiosyncratic aesthetic.
textual layering, and perhaps the
most exhaustive study of the variety of the relationships between texts, and the meanings
that are thereby generated is Gérard Genette’s Palimpsests:
Literature in the Second Degree (1997). His overarching categories are those of
‘architextuality’, which he describes as ‘the entire set of general or
transcendent categories – types of discourse, modes of enunciation, literary genres
– from which emerges each singular text’, and ‘trans-textuality’
defined as ‘all that sets the text in a
the accumulating fruits of Shakespeare’s own efforts,
involving his refashioning of earlier motifs and structures. For example, he reformulated in
different genres stock situations involving questions of jealousy and deception as they might
be traced through Comedies such as Much Ado About Nothing , Tragedies such as
Othello and Tragicomedies such as The Winter’s Tale . There is also the
repetition of stock characters in familiar situations, as in the case of the Duke in
Measure for Measure or Prospero in The