The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0206 Thursday, 23 March 2006
Date: Wednesday, 22 Mar 2006 09:42:49 -0800
Subject: Genre and Measure for Measure
I think the question of M4M's genre is simply uninteresting. I find
genre to be a rather blunt and ineffective tool for illuminating
Shakespeare's plays--especially the late and "problem" plays. (Insert
obligatory Polonius genre quote here.)
The oceans of ink that have been spent on genre controversies and
definitions are largely wasted, IMHO--much of it consists of
inward-looking contentions that serve the contenders rather than the
texts or their readers/auditors. (More colorful metaphors are close to
Genre tags can serve as useful shorthand if they're used in a very
generic way (i.e. "the late tragedies"). But a much more interesting
question (probably beyond the capabilities of most undergraduates,
writing at whatever length) would be, "How does Shakespeare play on
dramatic/theatrical/literary conventions (from any genre[s]) to generate
the effects in M4M."
He does that *in spades* in M4M, and achieves much of the play's effect
through that play.
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