Spenser’s Busirane and Donne’s ‘A Valediction of my name, in the window’
the sense of a literal mark and the idea that the self could be inscribed into an epistle, folded, sealed, and conveyed across distance, and then reconstituted by the reader. By the late sixteenth century, character designated both the mark and the hidden essence of a subject, and it thus also invoked the intricate relationship between these two semantic poles. Handwriting or signatures emerged gradually during this time as a declaration of idiosyncratic identity, although, as Jonathan Goldberg notes, the mark was distrusted as a guarantor of identity until cultural
the illusion, as well as the audience, were hearing double. Recorded voices, voice-overs and radio microphones were meant to produce distance and eeriness. The Honour Court echoed with ominous laughter in the storm scene at the beginning of Vilar's Macbeth , while voice-overs dubbed the soundtrack of the tempest in the opening scene of Arias’ production. Vilar's witches used microphones to provide a contrast with human voices, emphasising at sound level the co-existence of the supernatural and natural worlds. In Ostermeier's Hamlet , Jucker also spoke into a
thunder. Blair Brown's Prospera possessed and was possessed by her magic in the manner of an earth goddess, for it appeared to be innate, rather than the result of learning.
This production's portrayal of magic embodied several feminist cross-currents. On one hand, it presented an inherently powerful woman. Brown's physique, voice and manner were authoritative and regal. On the other hand, the suggestion that the events transpired as a dream distanced her from responsibility for her magic.
Illyria where Twelfth Night ’s Viola is shipwrecked. (It may not be beside the point that all three locales were actually under Ottoman domination in Shakespeare’s day.) The effective de-localisation of these settings is actually enhanced by the flagrant Englishness of their comic characters, and it is not impinged on by the French – or other – intertexts that share the discursive space. The Vienna of Measure for Measure is not so much de-localised as dislocated, at once distanced from reality and evoking various realities across a range of intertexts – Italian
Sannazaro's Arcadia .
I am persuaded by Heninger's arguments that Harvey was Spenser's
collaborator, but I think that Spenser, as author, exercised full editorial
control over the textual production of the Shepheardes Calender.
Stylistically, the Gloss seems to be the work of Gabriel Harvey, but
Immerito, exercising ironic distance, stands behind this commentary. Spenser
about ironic disjunctions (a Catholic monastery representing Protestant repentance, for example), we need to consider the larger incongruity at the heart of allegory: the distance between what it promises and what it delivers. Claims have traditionally been made for allegory’s utility as an engaging didactic tool and for its visionary possibilities as a mode that points beyond itself. But equally, allegory is a problematic didactic tool because it multiplies interpretative possibilities (in a more self-advertising way than other forms of linguistic expression), and
already, the ‘capability of being understood in two or more ways’ implies something divided in both the comic object and one’s response to it. Laurent Joubert, the French physician and prominent Renaissance theorist of laughter, recognised the prevalence of ambivalence as a comic response. His Traité dv ris (1579) asserts that conflicted feelings – repulsion and attraction, joy and sadness, for example – are released when we laugh. 27 Such a theory is hardly arcane; most of us will recognise that when we laugh a sense of distance or superiority can be complicated by
Sir Philip Sidney, humility and revising the Arcadia
Richard James Wood
the departure of Philisides also the end of the poet’s participation in his own poem? In the New Arcadia in general, Sidney revises his narrative technique, eschewing the guiding voice of the narrator in favour a series of narratives recollected by his characters. By this further means Sidney seems to distance himself and his own biography from the characters and the events of the revised romance. Nevertheless, I will argue that, rather than severing his personal ties with his text, the author replaces his fictional persona with Amphialus, a morally ambiguous
Foreign Antony and Cleopatra in Britain and abroad
Carol Chillington Rutter
‘tragedy’ of Antony and Cleopatra as a grand but shabby game of human pitch and toss (though by offering this speculation on the maestro's ‘conception’, I'm second-guessing Komisarjevsky from a distance of eighty years). Komis, we remember, was ‘ahead, ahead, ahead’ of his time, as we see by fast-forwarding to future productions that unwittingly reproduced his innovations. In 2014 Gary Griffin's production in Stratford, Ontario, would open not with the soldiers but with Antony and Cleopatra rolling dice. In 1995 a ‘scene of small-scale comic bawdy’ would aptly have
setting once more back to Greco-Roman mythology. However, for those who knew Spenser or his sources for The Faerie Queene , the ‘fairy queen’ in Shakespeare's Midsummer is not equated by name with Spenser's Gloriana, thus distancing the character from a text that might otherwise have been signalled as a ‘source’.
In the midst of all this meandering through a variety of myths and romances, there appears ‘that shrewd and knavish sprite/Called Robin Goodfellow’ (2.1.33–34), who some call ‘hobgoblin’ and some ‘sweet puck’ (2.1.40). It is important to