Troilus and Criseyde and Troilus and Cressida

For the last three decades or so, literary studies, especially those dealing with premodern texts, have been dominated by the New Historicist paradigm. This book is a collection of essays explores medieval and early modern Troilus-texts from Chaucer to Shakespeare. The contributions show how medieval and early modern fictions of Troy use love and other emotions as a means of approaching the problem of tradition. The book argues that by emphasizing Troilus's and Cressida's hopes and fears, Shakespeare sets in motion a triangle of narrative, emotion and temporality. It is a spectacle of which tells something about the play but also about the relation between anticipatory emotion and temporality. The sense of multiple literary futures is shaped by Shakespeare's Chaucer, and in particular by Troilus and Criseyde. The book argues that the play's attempted violence upon a prototypical form of historical time is in part an attack on the literary narratives. Criseyde's beauty is described many times. The characters' predilection for sententiousness unfolds gradually. Through Criseyde, Chaucer's Poet displaces authorial humility as arrogance. The Troilus and Criseyde/Cressida saga begins with Boccaccio, who isolates and expands the love affair between Troiolo and Criseida to vent his sexual frustration. The poem appears to be linking an awareness of history and its continuing influence and impact on the present to hermeneutical acts conspicuously gendered female. The main late medieval Troy tradition does two things: it represents ferocious military combat, and also practises ferocious literary combat against other, competing traditions of Troy.

Marissa Nicosia

and sententious news P lay pamphlets were especially well suited to fictionalise and politicise current events because they were short, cheap and looked like newsbooks or polemical pamphlets.6 Susan Wiseman suggests that the genre is concerned with an ‘active shaping of the reader’s views’ and at the same time aware of its ‘own status as news’.7 The mid-​seventeenth century play pamphlet was an innovation in news media that brought the traditions of the public stage to the burgeoning national press.8 Publishers printed them in the same quarto format as newsbooks

in From Republic to Restoration
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Editor: Gregory Vargo

The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.

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J. A. Smith

work their way through their fictional worlds. But so too 46 Samuel Richardson and the theory of tragedy rumour and the received notions it threatens to reinforce are shadily implicated in the other literary form that Richardson worked his novels into: the anthology of sententious maxims. As we have seen, in 1753 and 1755, Richardson compiled two versions of a Collection of Moral Sentiments sourced from Clarissa and then from his other novels, perhaps in a last attempt to lay down the law on his texts’ moral content in a way that the open-ended ambiguity of his

in Samuel Richardson and the theory of tragedy
Verena Olejniczak Lobsien

justify their actions. These are indeed ‘stewed phrases’, 5 more than current, devoid of individuality, suitable for all seasons, schematic and adaptable, clichéd, tasteless and diseased. Their language is promiscuous, prostituted. But they are helpful. Theirs is a ready-made, often proverbial rationality, sententious, pithy and easily remembered. And they always seem to come true

in Love, history and emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare
Heather James

England’s Parnassus is the common English reader, who may claim a share of the sententious authority and bold speech that the English writer (‘Daniell’) uses to address the abusive monarch. But the last word on the subject of kingship is assigned to Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who enters the text – or the lists – to blow past the problem of minions

in Formal matters
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The case of Jonson’s Sejanus
John E. Curran, Jr

giants who had made it what it was, and they repeatedly illustrated human extremes. Whether exhibiting demi-godlike virtue or devil-worthy depravity, they could endow a dramatis personae with a built-in stateliness and sublimity – and with, also, an undeniable relevance. For, finally, given Roman stories’ truth and importance, they were ubiquitously held to supply moral lessons, utility for personal and political life. For Jonson, any brand of tragedy ought to be sententious, by which he literally means it should be fortified with cleverly formulated aphorisms, and

in The genres of Renaissance tragedy
W. J. McCormack

mottoes or epigraphs. For the inexhaustable riches of novelistic character are incomparable to the brittle and sententious trophies of the phrase-hunter. Perhaps so, but the elaborate literary creation which is character in the classic account of fiction is known by a simple name – we recognise Dorothea, not Chapter the Fifth. And the sentiment blazoned in an epigraph is usually

in Dissolute characters
George Orwell

his more sententious poems, such as ‘If’,5 were given almost Biblical status. But it is doubtful whether the Blimps have ever read him with attention, any more than they have read the Bible. Much of what he says they could not possibly approve. Few people who have criticized England from the inside have said bitterer things about her than this gutter patriot. As a rule it is the British working class that he is attacking, but not always. That phrase about ‘the flannelled fools at the wicket and the muddied oafs at the goals’6 sticks like an arrow to this day, and it

in In Time’s eye
W. J. McCormack

joy in her own mind what she could not from her place in the window see – the blue china house, with all its reflecting windows, perched on its knoll in the brilliant, fading air. They are too rare-visions of where we are. 8 This little smack of Wordsworthian sententiousness on

in Dissolute characters