This collection of essays is the first to reassess a range of Shakespeare's plays in relation to carnivalesque theory. The plays discussed include: 2 Henry VI; Romeo and Juliet; A Midsummer Night's Dream; 1 & 2 Henry IV; The Merry Wives of Windsor; Hamlet; Measure for Measure; The Winter's Tale; Henry VIII. Contributors re-historicize the carnivalesque in different ways, offering both a developed application, or critique of, Bakhtin's thought. This volume makes an original contribution to the study of change and continuity in Shakespeare and the Early Modern period.
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'There is no concept more productive in Shakespeare studies than Carnival, yet no one more controversial than Mikhail Bakhtin, the critic who taught Shakespeareans to apply it. 'Shakespeare and Carnival' spans this contradiction by reading the plays both 'After Bakhtin' and within ongoing debate about early modern violence. So the essays in this collection find Carnival patterns not only in surprising places - from the Capulets' tomb to the Cardinal's palace - but in startling cultural contexts. Here Jack Cade materialises as the actor Will Kemp; Falstaff arises as a grotesque Puritan; and Paulina emerges as a Shrovetide jester. This is a volume, then, that reminds us of Bakhtin's affinity to Carl Orff - in idealising the tub-thumping 'volk' - but also his lasting relevance to Brueghel, Rabelais and Shakespeare. It will be an indispensable guide whether Shakespearean Carnival is studied for its revellers or its scapegoats.' - Richard Wilson, Professor of Renaissance Studies, Lancaster University
'...wide-ranging, generally useful, and often excellent...an important contribution to a field of inquiry in which, as these essays suggest, a great deal remains to be done.' - Modern Languages Review
RONALD KNOWLES is Senior Lecturer in English Literature and has taught at the University of Reading since 1971. His recent books include Henry IV 1&2. 'The Critics Debate', Understanding Harold Pinter and Gulliver's Travels. The Politics of Satire. He has written many articles on Pinter and Shakespeare and is Associate Editor in Britain of The Pinter Reviews. Currently he is editing 2 Henry VI for the Arden Shakespeare.
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