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Late Shakespeare : A New World of Words - Simon Palfrey

Late Shakespeare

A New World of Words

Hardcover

Published: 1st January 1998
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Shakespeare's late plays are usually seen in terms of courtliness and escapism. But the critical tradition has been too decorous. Neither neo-Christian pieties nor high-political allegory can account for the works' audacity and surprise, or the popular investment in both their form and meaning. Post-structuralist and historicist approaches show the indeterminacy and materiality of language, but rarely identify how particular figures (words and characters) capture and energise contested history. Recent criticism tends to put a pre-emptive `master-paradigm' above all else; a more sinuous, minutely attentive critical vocabulary is needed to apprehend Shakespeare's turbulent, precise, teeming metaphorical discourse. Late Shakespeare: A New World of Words reappraises the origins of authority, language, and decorum, and the prospects for each. Through his portrayal of `popular' desire---in his rustics, clowns, rogues, slaves, women---Shakespeare presents worlds which explore the meaning of the `subject', and the potential for effective transformatory agency. Rather than a Jonsonian (or perhaps earlier Shakespearian) verisimilitude, with each person discrete and verifiable, Shakespeare's characters embody metaphor-in-process; like the revamped romance genre itself, they `take on' surrounding turbulence. The plays show the stormy consequences of hegemonic violence. The subsequent exile to wilderness allows for contingent novelty: new liberties are tested amid the wreckage or recapitulation of old forms. The plays pit possible sources of regeneration (romantic pastoral, semi-populist humanism) against more primal violence and rebelliousness. Finally, the book argues against a conventional sense of the plays' movement towards divinely sanctioned closure; mischief, irony, polysemy remain; romance's political problems are competitive, multiple, and tumescently unpredictable.

presents valuable insights into the undercurrent of turbulence and discord that informs these romantic plays - R.H. Peake, formerly of the University of Virginia, Choice, Vol 35, No. 10, June '98

Introduction 1: Romance, irony, and humanism 2: Pericles and the idea of the hero 3: Court 4: Country 5: Magnetic Island and Islander in The Tempest 6: Violence and Freedom 7: Women and Romance 8: Endings Abbreviations Selected Primary References Selected Secondary References

ISBN: 9780198186199
ISBN-10: 0198186193
Series: Oxford English Monographs
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 1st January 1998
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.5 x 14.4  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.5