Things Supernatural and Causeless: Shakespearean Romance
"After centuries of denigration, Shakespeare's romances, in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, came to be seen by many critics as among Shakespeare's most profound works - as extensions of his tragic vision, as experiments in dramatic form, as deeply significant statements about art, about nature, about life. Marco Mincoff's Things Supernatural and Causeless - a work published in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1987, just before his death, but clearly written in the mid-1970s - sets out to show why this evaluation of the romances is wrong and to propose another way of looking at and evaluating Pericles and the plays that followed it." "For Mincoff, romance is "an inherently inferior genre" that, no matter what dramatic skills Shakespeare lavished on it, could never yield great drama. He argues that none of the romances has a profound message: whatever meaning one finds in Pericles, for instance, can be found just as readily in Apollonius of Tyre. Thus to look to these plays for greatness or for profound themes or ideas is to be inevitably disappointed or self-deluded." "What one does find in the romances, though, are plays that diverge sharply from their sources and analogues, and from other drama of the period, in the attention given to the creation of a sense of wonder. Mincoff finds, in the systematic control of language, crafting of scenes, and altering of sources in the plays, the suggestion of supernatural influence upon the play's action that exploits the "wonderful" inherent in Heliodorian romance. Mincoff suspects that "this sense of wonder really was important to Shakespeare," and finds Lafew's words (in All's Well That Ends Well) both a rather bitter commentary on Jacobean society and a clue to our better understanding of the romances:" ""They say miracles are past, and we have our philosophical persons to make modern and familiar, things supernatural and causeless. Hence it is that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear."" "Mincoff can spot that which is truly unusual in the romances because of his extensive knowledge of the other drama and other literature of the period and because of his ability to place the plays within the context of their own time. He places the above quotation, for example, within contemporary responses to skepticism; he discusses such dramaturgical devices as Presenters and expository supernumeraries in the context of other plays that Shakespeare's audiences would have been seeing; he is alert to the differences between our present-day understanding of life and language and that of Shakespeare's age, showing how words like art and nature are today understood in postromantic terms that make them far different words, representing far different concepts, from those used by Shakespeare in his romances."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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action actually already appear atmosphere attempt audience Beaumont better blind bring brought Caliban chance characters comedies comes complete considerable contrast course court critics Cymbeline daughter death developed direct doubt effect Elizabethan emotional episode fact feel figures final follows further give given Greene hand happy hero human ideas imagination important interest island Italy jealousy later leading least Leontes less magic meaning merely Mincoff mind nature never obviously offers once opening perhaps Pericles personality Philaster picture play play's plot possible Posthumus practically presented probably Prospero providence question reason remains represented romance scarcely scene seems sense Shake Shakespeare simple situation sort speak speech stage stand story strange stress structure success suggest supernatural taken Tale Tempest theme things thought tion true vision whole Winter's Tale wonder young
Page 108 - Be not afeard ; the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears, and sometimes voices That, if I then had waked after long sleep, Will make me sleep again : and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me, that, when I waked, I cried to dream again.
Page 112 - And mine shall. Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling Of their afflictions, and shall not myself, One of their kind, that relish all as sharply Passion as they...
Page 10 - They say, miracles are past; and we -have our philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar things, supernatural and causeless. Hence is it, that we make trifles of terrors; ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.
Page 112 - gainst my fury Do I take part : the rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance : they being penitent, The sole drift of my purpose doth extend Not a frown further : Go, release them, Ariel ; My charms I'll break, their senses I'll restore, And they shall be themselves.
Page 45 - Might have been shut together in one shed; And then had taken me some mountain-girl, Beaten with winds, chaste as the hard'ned rocks Whereon she dwelt, that might have strewed my bed With leaves and reeds, and with the skins of beasts, Our neighbours, and have borne at her big breasts My large coarse issue ! This had been a life Free from vexation.
Page 121 - THE TRIUMPH OF TIME WHEREIN IS DISCOVERED by a pleasant Historie, that although by the meanes of sinister fortune, Truth may be concealed yet by Time in spight of fortune it is most manifestly reuealed.
Page 45 - Of women's looks ; but digg'd myself a cave, Where I, my fire, my cattle, and my bed, Might have been shut together in one shed ; And then had taken me some mountain girl, Beaten with winds, chaste as the...