Shakespeare's Agonistic Comedy: Poetics, Analysis, Criticism

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Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1993 - Всего страниц: 302
Shakespeare's Agonistic Comedy focuses on one of the three comic strategies deployed and explored by Shakespeare in his comedies from Errors to Twelfth Night: the essentially punitive strategy, which author G. Beiner labels "agonistic," and which is distinguished from the essentially reparative "comedy of love" as well as from the perspective of folly.
In one respect, the purpose of this book is to define the characteristics and to map the canon of Shakespeare's agonistic comedy; in other words, to provide a poetics. Such a task has its own importance and preliminary value if fundamental patterns and functions have not been recognized as such in the critical analysis of a body of texts. Part I of Shakespeare's Agonistic Comedy identifies the structural characteristics of the provisionally outlined canon, focuses on apparently borderline cases (Petruchio and Katherina, Benedick and Beatrice, Jaques and Don John, as well as that of Love's Labour's Lost) in order to define the canon more precisely, defines the distinctive perspective generated by agonistic comedy, and examines the thematic and referential patterns that may appear prima facie to be characteristic of this comedy: violence and revenge. Throughout this section dealing with poetics, Beiner emphasizes that agonistic comedy is capable of being self-complete and independent and yet in Shakespearean comedy it never generates an entire play; nor does it appear in every play from Errors to Twelfth Night. A poetics of Shakespeare's agonistic comedy is necessarily related to the wider field of a poetics of Shakespearean comedy, which in turn is related to the even wider area of comic traditions.
As the poetics is based on the texts (not derived by deduction or theoretical extension from some principle of poetics), so it is applied as a tool of analysis to the texts and used in conjunction with evaluation. The underlying assumption is that the task of poetics is instrumental, and that its usefulness has to be demonstrated and verified in practice. Hence, the division of the book into two parts. As Part I formulates a poetics on the basis of the texts, so Part II applies the poetics to the major texts - always within the dynamics of the multiple-plot and multi-layered perspective on a play. Part II focuses in detail on The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night, analyzing the agons and placing them in relation to the comedy of love and the perspective of folly.
 

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Содержание

Agon versus Comedy of Love Structural Difference and Complementarity
25
Semiagon and the Comedy of Love Clarifying the Boundary
54
The Agonistic Perspective ReaderSpectator Response
79
Violence in the Comedy of Love Errors to Twelfth Night Referential and Thematic Patterns
92
Comic Revenge and Agons Referential and Thematic Patterns Continued
122
The Major Texts
141
The Merry Wives of Windsor
143
The Merchant of Venice
168
Twelfth Night
203
Notes
235
Bibliography
284
Index
297
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