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Steve Sohmer

In 1992 Graham Bradshaw wrote,‘Although it is factitious and distracting, the theory or myth of ‘double time’ is still respectfully trundled out in every modern scholarly edition of Othello … It has been as long-lived as Nahum Tate’s adaptation of King Lear which held the stage for a century and a half and, like that adaptation, deserves to be firmly laid to rest.’ 1

in Shakespeare for the wiser sort
Stephen Orgel

Othello begins at the moment when comedies end, with a happy marriage. It begins, too, where The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night leave off, with the question of ethnic or social outsiders – Shylock, Malvolio – as the catalysts for the destructive elements within society. It might seem that here the terms are reversed, with the

in Spectacular Performances
Film noir, gangster, gangster noir
Kinga Földváry

In the introduction to Part I of the book, I have attempted to provide a brief summary of the concept of film noir , the characteristics of the gangster film and the strong connections between the two conventions. It is of course unsurprising that within Shakespeare’s dramatic oeuvre it is typically the tragedies that find the most welcoming adapting environment in film noir and gangster narratives, as several versions of Hamlet , Othello and Macbeth can testify in the analyses later in this chapter, even though other source texts have also been

in Cowboy Hamlets and zombie Romeos
H. B. Charlton
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Solving Shakespeare’s riddles in The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, King John, 1–2 Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Othello, Macbeth and Cymberline
Author: Steve Sohmer

Knowing William Shakespeare better, we are better equipped to know his plays. Better knowing his plays brings us closer to knowing him. This book suggests that Shakespeare wrote not only for the mass audience, but simultaneously for that stratum of cognoscenti whom Gabriel Harvey dubbed 'the wiser sort.' It identifies many passages in the plays which Shakespeare resolves famous cruces which scholars have never been able to unravel, and casts new light on Shakespeare's mind and method. Shakespeare wrote into Julius Caesar more than one passage intelligible only to that handful of the wiser sort who had read Plutarch and knew their Suetonius. Into Macbeth Shakespeare injected a detail accessible only to the few intrepid souls brave or reckless enough to have cast the horoscope of King James I. We find a poem in Hamlet, where the prince invites his love and bandies matters of cosmology which were burning issues (literally) throughout Shakespeare's lifetime. While Julius Caesar's old Julian calendar prevailed in England its rival, the scientifically correct Gregorian reformed calendar, dominated most of Europe. Shakespeare suffused his plays with references to calendrical anomalies, as seen in Othello. By relating Shakespeare's texts, the Renaissance calendars and the liturgy, the book produces a lexicon apt for parsing the time-riddles in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare handled religious subjects, examined and interrogated the dogmas of the received religions, and parodied the Crucifixion by exploiting Holinshed's account of the persecution and assassination of York.

Shakespearean swoons and unreadable body-texts
Naomi Booth

Shakespearean body is mired in expressive complexity. The Shakespearean swoons of interest to me here are abyssal: they stage a fall into the dark depths of a body that is inaccessible to the modes of ‘reading’ attempted by the characters of the play-world. In this chapter, I focus on pivotal swoons in three plays: Much Ado About Nothing , Julius Caesar and Othello . 1 Falling, fainting and shaking are crucial to the action of these plays, and to the trajectories of their characters. These are also plays in which bodies

in Swoon
Spenser and Shakespeare
Robert Lanier Reid

‘invaded’ by an inverse mirror-self: conqueror Titus stunned by his mutilated daughter; proud Titania doting on ass-headed Bottom; Othello possessed/rapt by Desdemona, then by demonic Iago; Lear enduring three distinct ‘possessions’ (Goneril, Tom, Cordelia); Macbeth, infernally ‘manned’ by his wife, unmanned by Banquo’s ghost, voided by Macduff; Antony entranced by

in Renaissance psychologies
Abstract only
Richard Strier

Hamlet is, of course, ‘the melancholy Dane’, and his play is, of course, one of the world's great tragedies. But there is a way in which emphasis on the first of these (supposed) facts can be seen to diminish some of the force of the second. Hamlet is certainly not the most painful of the ‘great’ or ‘mature’ Shakespearean tragedies— Othello and King Lear compete for that honor—but Hamlet can and, I think, should be seen as the saddest of them. Part of this sadness springs from the fact that, unlike Lear, Othello, or Macbeth, Hamlet did

in Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture
The new philosophy in Hamlet
Steve Sohmer

Othello. 11 While Digges’ infinite universe and Copernicus’ solar system were freely discussed in London, Wittenberg, and other reformed regions, in Catholic states the evil powers of the Inquisition were doing their worst to suppress the new gestalt. Bruno went to the stake in 1600. Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus was placed on the Index of forbidden books in 1616 (it

in Shakespeare for the wiser sort
The Jacobean Antony and Cleopatra
Carol Chillington Rutter

’ then ‘againe com m anded By the Kings Ma ies tie’ on ‘Shroutusday’) they appeared at court in seven plays by William Shakespeare, five of them – The Comedy of Errors , The Merry Wives of Windsor , Henry V , Love's Labour's Lost , The Merchant of Venice – plays that had appeared at the Globe before the plague closure. Two of these plays, however, were new to the autumn Globe repertoire, Measure for Measure and (more significant for my purposes) the play that would open the run of performances at Court, Othello: The Moor of Venice , staged ‘att whithall’ ‘in

in Antony and Cleopatra