It has often been stressed that The Tempest is Shakespeare's most musical play:
the island's soundscape is uniquely rich and varied, its ‘noises,/Sounds, and sweet airs’ (3.2.127–8) enhance its supernatural atmosphere and Prospero's magic power is wielded largely through the music of Ariel and his fellow spirits. Unsurprisingly, music is one of the aspects of the play that has received the most critical attention, the perfect integration of this ‘dangerously refractory material
It has traditionally been held that Robert Southwell's poetry offers a curious view of Elizabethan England from the restricted perspective of a priest-hole. This book takes apart that idea – and the poetry – word by word and discovers layers of new meanings, hidden emblems and sharp critiques of Elizabeth's courtiers, and even of the ageing queen herself. Using the most recent edition of Southwell's poetry and manuscript materials, it addresses both poetry and private writings, including letters and diary material, to give context to the radicalisation of a generation of Southwell's countrymen and women. The book shows how the young Jesuit harnessed both drama and literature to give new poetic poignancy to their experience. Bringing a forensic approach to Southwell's ‘lighter’ pieces, it shows the extent to which Southwell engaged exclusively through them in direct artistic debate with Spenser, Sidney and Shakespeare, placing the poetry firmly in the English landscape familiar to Southwell's generation. Those concerned with early modern and Elizabethan culture will find much of interest in this study, including insights into the function of the arts in the private Catholic milieu, touched by Southwell in so many ways and places, from William Byrd's holy music to Mary Stuart's coded embroideries.
Shakespeare and the supernatural explores the supernatural in Shakespearean
drama, taking account of historical contexts and meanings together with
contemporary approaches to these aspects in performance on stage, screen and in
popular culture. Supernatural elements constitute a significant dimension of
Shakespeare’s plays, contributing to their dramatic power and intrigue: ghosts
haunt political spaces and psyches; witches foresee the future; fairies meddle
with love; natural portents foreshadow events; and a magus conjures a tempest.
Although written and performed for early modern audiences, for whom the
supernatural was still part of the fabric of everyday life, the plays’
supernatural elements continue to enthral us and maintain their ability to raise
questions in contemporary contexts. The collection considers a range of issues
through the lens of five key themes: the supernatural and embodiment; haunted
spaces; supernatural utterance and haunted texts; magic, music and gender; and
present-day transformations. The volume presents an introduction to the field,
covering terminology and the porous boundaries between ideas of nature, the
preternatural and the supernatural, followed by twelve chapters from an
international range of contemporary Shakespeare scholars whose work interrogates
the five themes. They provide new insights into the central issues of how
Shakespeare constructs the supernatural through language and how supernatural
dimensions raise challenges of representation and meaning for critics and
creators. Shakespeare and the supernatural will appeal to scholars, dramatists,
teachers and students, providing valuable resources for readers interested in
Shakespeare or the supernatural in drama, whether from literary, historical,
film or performing arts perspectives.
This book presents a biography of the poetics and politics of London in 1613, from Whitehall to Guildhall, that is, Shakespeare's London. It examines major events at court, such as the untimely death of Prince Henry and its aftermath, and the extravagant wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Frederick of Germany and her journey to the Continent. The city flourished with scores of publications on a vast array of topics, including poetry, travel narratives, music, and, of course, plays. The book offers summaries and analyses of most of these texts, knowing that some of them may not be well-known to all readers. Many of these publications had a kind of link to the court. In order to understand the context of the year 1613, the book actually begins in October 1612 with Prince Henry's illness and death in November, which had a major impact on what happened in 1613. It proceeds more or less chronologically from this event to Princess Elizabeth's wedding and the stunning array of dramatic performances at court, and includes the journey to her new home in Germany. As part of the year's cultural nexus, the narrative reaches into the Guildhall experience to explore the riches of the books that emanated from London's printers and to examine specifically the drama performed or published in 1613. The final major focus centres on the Carr-Howard wedding at the year's end, full of cultural activities and ripe with political significance.
which the Weird Sisters only appear in a dream) to the supernatural. As Carroll argues, Shakespeare's play appears to be indebted to both narrative traditions. What emerges is a picture of a narrative that gradually accumulates a supernatural dimension through its various retellings, culminating in Shakespeare's playtext. Carroll's genealogical approach to Macbeth thus complements Johnson's reading of the Dream , showing how competing texts can reveal topical references and contemporary issues.
Magic, music and gender
first performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet ,
written circa 1593 and published in 1597 – whereas
Twelfth Night must have been written after the visit of
Virginio Orsini to London and before its first performance before
Elizabeth on 27 December 1601. Secondly, everyone knows Twelfth
Night begins ‘If music be the food of love’ not
‘What country, friends, is
shades, sonorities and colours of his composition.
He used an ondes Martenot , the eerie wavering notes of which reverberated in the court and enhanced the mysterious, poignant atmosphere of Shakespeare's tragedy. Jarre also composed the ‘dramatic music’
of A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Vilar, who claimed that the comedy could not be reduced to a mere fairy-tale, nor treated in a playful manner:
events in 1603–4. Sonnets
1–103 largely concern the speaker’s association with a
self-centred Young Man, and they likely belong to a period between
1594 and 1596 with subsequent revisions in the first sixty or so
An example from the Dark Lady group is sonnet 128
(‘How oft, when thou my musicmusic play’st’). 27 The poem
Representing the supernatural in film adaptations of A Midsummer
In any adaptation of a play that features the supernatural, there are decisions to be made about the performance of these elements. All performances, whether on stage or on screen, rely on costuming, set design, lighting, music, sound and special effects to contribute to the realisation of the supernatural. While it is true that some stage productions of the play remain abstract or symbolic in their representation of the supernatural, generally the impulse to literally realise some aspects of the supernatural has been consistently strong in