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Memory has been recognized since ancient times as a basic element of artistic creativity. The chapter argues that forgetting, or the suppression or subversion of memory, is an equally essential creative principle. Forgetting is crucial within the play's action, too: it is a radical act of forgetting that precipitates William Shakespeare's catastrophe. The chapter explores the case of King Lear, and begins with a famous emendation, which is particularly germane, because it depends on a case of memorial reconstruction. Shakespeare sets up a powerful tragic momentum reminiscent of Lear in the opening three acts, only to disarm it at the conclusion with fantasy and magic. In every version of the Lear story, both in the chronicles of early British history and in the The True Chronicle History of King Leir and his Three Daughters, Cordelia's forces are victorious, and Lear's throne is restored to him.

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Essays on theatre, imagery, books and selves in early modern England>

This book focuses on performance construed in the largest sense, as the deployment of a personal style, as imagery of various kinds, and even as books, which in the early modern era often include strongly performative elements. The chapters in the book fall logically into four groups: on personal style and the construction of the self, on drama, on books, and on the visual arts. Personal style is performative in the simple sense that it is expressive and in the more complex sense that it thereby implies that there is something to express. The book takes a broad view of the question of performance through disguise. Disguises in Elizabethan drama are nearly always presumed to be impenetrable, effectively concealing the self, whereas costume is designed to adorn the self, to make the self more strikingly recognizable. The book considers the changing effects of disguise and costume both on concepts of the self and on assumptions about the kind of reality represented by theater. As a practice that makes performance visible as such, theater is characterized by an ongoing reflection on the very norms that make dramatic performance legible and indeed possible. Images are never more performative in and for a culture than when they offer a view onto the differences through which culture is made.

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he craves as much as the diabolical Iniquo. “The pen,” Jonson wrote in his commonplace book Timber, or Discoveries , “is more noble than the pencil; for that can speak to the understanding, the other, but to the sense” (1528–30). The invidious comparison here is between the written word and pictorial art; but the synecdoche itself shades the two into each other: Inigo

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sources of the play’s unique intensity and to the peculiar power it has always exercised over audiences. In “ King Lear and the art of forgetting” I propose that forgetting, or the suppression or subversion of memory, is an essential creative principle. I have in mind both really big creative acts like forgetting that the Lear story has a happy ending, and really small but even more baffling creative

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is not simply an inscription like “fuck you,” or “up yours”; it is quite specific about the sodomitical act being invoked. Needless to say, over the centuries art historians haven’t wanted to deal with this curious aspect of the drawing, and have either ignored it or treated it as a bit of later vandalism. But a group of technologically sophisticated researchers

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world of poetic romance, is generally unsatisfactory. This, however, is the view from outside; the practitioners, no matter how modest their successes, are always believers. John Dee was unable to understand a word his angelic messengers told him, but this had no effect on his faith in his art. Even in our sceptical age Stephen Greenblatt’s similarly audacious project of speaking with the

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, has persuasively traced it down to 1697, in Normandy, where it was sold at auction. The lost Veronese portrait of Sidney is a touchstone for the complex interrelation of art and literature, a metonym for the absence of the author, that increasingly significant lacuna, which frontispiece portraits throughout the seventeenth century were insistently called upon to supply. What do

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version of it at Stanford, where the price has dropped to $60: perhaps it happens all the time these days – imitation is the essence of life, as of art. How significant is the truth or falsehood of this story – why isn’t originality an issue for Ricks here? Because everything depends on the genre: its primary function in this discourse is not factual, but as a classic exemplum, a

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of the play, convicted the King, he makes no attempt to punish him, and his death is at last effected by an incident which Hamlet has no part in producing. The catastrophe is not very happily produced; the exchange of weapons is rather an expedient of necessity than a stroke of art. A scheme might easily have been formed, to kill

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Reading early modern illustrations

. 9.2 Hercules, from Vincenzo Cartari, Vere e Nove Imagini , Padua, 1616. This is a title page that is specifically designed for this book, a visual summary of Jonson’s sense of his art, defining drama in relation to its history and its kinds, and

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