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Jean R. Brink

of a middle-class tradesman. Alexander Judson takes literally Spenser's allusions to his Spencer patrons and elaborates his kinship ties with the wealthy Spencers of Althorp. Andrew Hadfield records and reconciles both of these hypotheses concerning Spenser's lineage: Grosart's middle-class tradesman background and the aristocratic connections emphasized by Judson. 11 The biographies of Grosart

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
Jean R. Brink

contextualizing Spenser's View of the Present State of Ireland , Debora Shuger explains that, to many Elizabethans, Ireland represented their own medieval past, a feudal world in which there was no middle class. Aristocratic noblemen held sway over their vassals, most of whom lacked the self-reliance of the English yeoman, merchant, or guildsman. 1 To cite only characteristically medieval events which occurred: rival

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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From commentary on poetry to poetry as commentary
William John Kennedy

. Middle-class merchants and military adventurers could gain language experience through travel abroad. London had long attracted foreign-born merchants and artisans, and polyglot language-learning manuals emphasised the acquisition of their languages for practical purposes. While the anonymous A Plain Pathway to the French Tongue (c. 1571) advertised itself as Very profitable for Marchants , William

in The early modern English sonnet
Jean R. Brink

, matriculated as a gentleman pensioner, making him at least upper middle class by our standards. Harvey's wealthy father, however, was a rope-maker, branding him, like Spenser and Shakespeare, as a new man. Wealth and power were not enough to make an Elizabethan a great man. A title and estate had to have been in the family for generations for such assets to confer unqualified distinction. The seventeenth Earl of Oxford, whose character troubled many

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
Steve Sohmer

future fortune. Contriving and interpreting anagrams was a game for the well-educated with the leisure to play it, a ‘courtly conceit’. Puttenham did not invent the game. The anagram had a long history; some think it as old as Moses. Puttenham traced the sport to the Greek Lycophron (third century BC), poet and curator of plays at the library of Alexandria. In the Middle Ages

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
Love’s Labour’s Lost and As You Like It
Richard Hillman

This chapter will be brief because its focus is narrow and its main point simple. I propose to consider the French settings of these two middle-to-late comedies ( c. 1595 and 1599, respectively) as a factor that would have rendered audience response to their romantic plots more complex, essentially by taking openly ‘French’ raw material in two contrary directions at once: on the one hand, mythicising it – that is, detaching it from spectators’ specific knowledge and assumptions; on the other hand, opening up a competing ‘realistic’ perspective. The latter

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic
Victoria Coldham-Fussell

Known for its heroic mythology, idealising love poetry, and forthright didacticism, the Renaissance is sometimes portrayed as a literary Golden Age sandwiched between the unheroic Middle Ages and the mock-heroic eighteenth century. More than a product of modern nostalgia, this reputation for gravitas was actively fostered during the period itself: the assumption that seriousness is synonymous with moral and literary value (the latter two things being theoretically equated) is frequently encountered in prefaces and dedications. Elizabethan theorists tell us

in Comic Spenser
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Victoria Coldham-Fussell

as the province of comic drama, so long as their negative consequences are limited. Aristotle takes it for granted that laughter on the stage will always be directed at the preoccupations and intrigues of low-class people (a rule that the drawing-room comedies of Oscar Wilde happily reversed). 19 Renaissance literary critics often echoed this rule of thumb regarding social class and humour, together with the connection between laughter and ugliness also forged by Aristotle (and Cicero and Quintilian after him). 20 However, comic practice could be far more

in Comic Spenser
Glen Byam Shaw, Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, 1953
Carol Chillington Rutter

-five years earlier, ‘ in statu pupillari ’ (quoted in Said 1978 , 36–37). Or more demotically, to the class of white colonial supremacists who hadn't learned Latin at school (unlike Cromer, who attended Eton) – and even to many who had (like Shaw, who went to Westminster) – the natives encountered on location as Shaw encountered them were just ‘wogs’. ‘Wogs’, then, tropes this Antony and Cleopatra as a product of residual colonialism. Just as certainly, though, it was a product of global war fought on an East–West axis, of civilisations in

in Antony and Cleopatra
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Shakespeare and the supernatural
Victoria Bladen and Yan Brailowsky

. 17 Given that the Zoroastrians were suspect foreigners from the perspective of the Greeks and Romans, from the outset magic was something potentially threatening and likely to arouse apprehension. 18 Natural magic was distinct, in theory, from demonic magic, which involved a pact with the Devil to access demonic power (rather than the power of natural properties). As Richard Kieckhefer outlines, in Magic in the Middle Ages

in Shakespeare and the supernatural