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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: June ::
Re: Autolycus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0587  Wednesday, 24 June 1998.

From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Jun 1998 08:29:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Autolycus


For anyone that recalls this month old question:

For Prof. Laroque whose book: Shakespeare's Festive World: Elizabethan
Seasonal Entertainment and the Professional Stage.  Trans. Janet Lloyd.
Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 1991, was invaluable, I found references to
the etymology of Autolycus in:

"there is a self, and a wolf also, in his name," ...his first act is to
"con the clown by enacting the part of his own victim"

Nevo, Ruth.  Shakespeare's Other Language.  New York: Methuen, 1987. p.
122

"The self and the wolf in Autolycus are preserved by the fiction of The
Winter's Tale from doing evil.  Unlike the lion [Leontes] and the bear
of the play, the wolf is not predatory or molests only where no real
harm  is done.  This, I believe, is because Autolycus represents a
factor that must be preserved: he represents one side of the necessary
knife edge balance' between integration and disintegration
psychodynamics has discovered in all creative effort, the leaven of
malice necessary in all human creativity."

Sokol, B. Art and Illusion in The Winter's Tale. Manchester: Manchester
U P, 1994. p. 179

For Alison Horton: I found classical sources for Autolycus in

Apollonius the Argonautica  Book II
The Iliad: Book X
The Odyssey Book XIX, XXI, XXIV
Plutarch  Lucullus

I wish I had had time to pursue the werewolf angle you mentioned. I
believe it may be relevant to my interpretation of the rogue as a lord
of misrule.

For Chris Stroffolino:

I don't think that "Autolycus" has anything to do with "ought to like
us," but I do think it may be a hint to read him as  "autobiographicus"

For Karen Pirnie:

I did not make use of Barbara Mowat's paper because her emphasis on the
printed text puts the character into the cultural context of the first
folio of 1623, and my focus was on the public theater of 1611.

Thanks and a happy summer to all.
 

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