The outlines of contemporary critical theory are now often taught as a standard feature of a degree in literary studies. This text aims to explore the theoretical issues and conflicts embodied in the essays selected and locates areas of disagreement between positions.
Shakespearean Tragedy brings together fifteen major contemporary essays on individual plays and the genre as a whole. Each piece has been carefully chosen as a key intervention in its own right and as a representative of an influential critical approach to the genre. The collection as a whole, therefore, provides both a guide and explanation to the various ways in which contemporary criticism has determined our understanding of the tragedies, and the opportunity for assessing the wider issues such criticism raises.
The collection begins by considering the impact of social semiotics on approaches to the tragedies, before moving on to deal, in turn, with the various forms of Marxist criticism, New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and Poststructuralism.
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"The cumulative effect of these essays is to destabalise the apparent firmness and cohesion of the concept of 'tragedy' itself, to liberate the texts of Shakespearian drama from such universalising categories, and to return the texts to history, to criticism and to theory." - Times Educational Supplement
Table of Contents
1. Introduction Tragedy and metaphysics Freud and the pleasure of tragedy Aristotle and tragedy Nietzsche and tragedy Hegel and Bradley on tragedy Tragedy and social order Tragedy and violence Tragedy and the pharmakos Materialist Tragedy
2. Semiotics 2.1 The Great Eclipse: Tragic Form as the Deconsecration of Sovereignty, Franco Moretti 2.2 The Breakdown of Medieval Hierarchy in "King Lear", Alessandro Serpieri; trans. Sandra Payne
3. Marxism and materialism 3.1 Aristocratic Failure, Walter Cohen 3.2 Shakespeare's Theatre: Tradition and Experiment, Robert Weimann
4. New Historicism 4.1 The Improvision of Power, Stephen Greenblatt
5. Cultural materialism 5.1 "King Lear" (c. 1605-6) and Essentialist Humanism, Jonathon Dollimore
6. Feminism 6.1 Finding a Place, Catherine Belsey 6.2 The Late Tragedies, Marilyn French 6.3 Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness and the Responsabilities of Feminist Criticism, Elaine Showalter
7. Psychoanalytical criticism 7.1 "Romeo and Ju
Shakespearean Tragedy by John Drakakis
Longman Critical Readers
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