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Shakespeare's Festive Comedy:
A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom
C. L. Barber
With a new foreword by Stephen Greenblatt

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"C. L. Barber is the most compelling of the anthropological critics and his book, Shakespeare's Festive Comedy, is to my mind far and away the most illuminating yet to appear on its subject. He is compelling for many reasons--a mind both intricate and deft, a sensitivity quick to the accommodation of esthetic form to the intricacies of psychological function, a humanity benignly tolerant and inclusive. . . . The especial merit of Barber's criticism lies in its sensitive exploration of the individual working out of the release-clarification formula in five separate plays. Each, he discovers, 'tends to focus on a particular kind of folly that is released along with love--witty masquerade in Love's Labour's Lost, delusive fantasy in A Midsummer Night's Dream, romance in As You Like It, and in The Merchant of Venice, prodigality balanced against usuary.' Twelfth Night, to complete the list, focuses on misrule and its complementary folly of time-serving."--Arthur M. Eastman, in A Short History of Shakespearean Criticism

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File created: 11/22/2015

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