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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Genre and Measure for Measure
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0206  Thursday, 23 March 2006

From: 		Steve Roth <
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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 
hand.)

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.

Steve

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