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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: June ::
Re: Shakespearean Comedy
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0445.  Saturday, 15 June 1996.

(1)     From:   Framji Minwalla <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Jun 1996 10:01:08 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0442  Q: Shakespearean Comedy

(2)     From:   Russ McDonald <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Jun 1996 10:22:32 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0442  Q: Shakespearean Comedy

(3)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Jun 1996 12:59:54 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Shakespeare Comedy

(4)     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Jun 1996 02:27:52 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 7.0442 Qs: Shakespearean Comedy


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Framji Minwalla <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Jun 1996 10:01:08 -0400
Subject: 7.0442  Q: Shakespearean Comedy
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0442  Q: Shakespearean Comedy

To Mario Ghezzi:

A good place to start would be Barber's SHAKESPEARE'S FESTIVE COMEDY.


Framji Minwalla

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Russ McDonald <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Jun 1996 10:22:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0442  Q: Shakespearean Comedy
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0442  Q: Shakespearean Comedy

In response to Mario Ghezzi's inquiry about help with teaching Shakespearean
comedy:

Northrop Frye, "The Argument of Comedy," rpt. in Leonard F. Dean, SHAKESPEARE:
MODERN ESSAYS IN CRITICISM (NY:  Oxford, 1957).

Barber, C.L.  SHAKESPEARE'S FESTIVE COMEDY (Princeton:  Princeton UP, 1959).

Elam, Keir.  SHAKESPEARE'S UNIVERSE OF DISCOURSE:  LANGUAGE GAMES IN THE
COMEDIES (London:  Methuen, 1984).

Bradbrook, Muriel.  THE GROWTH AND STRUCTURE OF ELIZABETHAN COMEDY (London:
Chatto and Windus, 1955).

This is more than you need.  For practical help with particular plays, a good
basic resource is Bertrand Evans, SHAKESPEARE'S COMEDIES (Oxford: OUP, 1960).

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Jun 1996 12:59:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shakespeare Comedy

Well, I just past my Ph.D. exams with a huge 75 book reading list on primarily
Shakespearean comedy criticism...

So, though there were books by H.B. Charlton in 1938 and John Palmer that began
explorations in comedy, the standard rap seems to be that NORTHROP FRYE AND C.L
BARBER'S books from the 1950's were really the first biggies that made the
study of comedy as "respectible" as tragedy. It's been a slow development
though--and especially Barber seems to speak too much from a kind of 1950's
conservative piety and his "influence" on recent criticism is largely as a
foil. Actually, much of the best discussion of particular comedies may be by
critics who write on BOTH comedy and tragedy (Say, Muriel Bradbrook's 1951
book--S and Eliz. Poetry).

Betrand Evans' book is interesting (1960), if dated.

Sigurd Burckhardt uses 12th Night to make a point of Shakes' as "poet"
(1968) in his chapter on "method"

More recently, ALEXANDER LEGGATT's book from the early 70s is often appealed
to. RUTH NEVO--Shakespearean Transformations. Ralph Berry and Richard Levin
(1986) have "darker" readings of the comedies. Interesting
psychoanalytic/gender studies work being done--much of it not in booklength
studies yet, but collections:Shakespeare's ROUGH MAGIC for instance; the
WOMAN'S PART. There's the Greenblatt (New Historicist) 12th Night piece in his
SHAKESPEAREAN NEGOTIATIONS) and Geoffrey Hartman's "deconstructive" reading in
S AND THE QUESTION OF THEORY. Renee Girard's recent theatre of envy has
chapters on both the plays you're dealing with. This should be at least the
broad outlines of a kind of "map" to start you. There's NO singular definitive
authorative book---which is part of what makes the whole S industry, for me, so
interesting. Of course, you might want to ask WHY do you consider THE TEMPEST a
comedy? If you're only teaching it and 12 NIGHT it could really inform
(distort?) your students' sense of what comedy is. But whether even the more
famous critics want to admit it, all of our senses of Shakespeare are distorted
anyway.

Hope this sort of helps. chris

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Jun 1996 02:27:52 -0400
Subject: Qs: Shakespearean Comedy
Comment:        SHK 7.0442 Qs: Shakespearean Comedy

Mario Ghezzi asks 'Is there an equivalent to Bradley's work on Shakesperean
Tragedy in the area of Shakespearean Comedy?' No: so far, so good. But keep
your voice down.

T. Hawkes
 

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