Making a unique intervention in an incipient but powerful resurgence of academic interest in character-based approaches to Shakespeare, this book brings scholars and theatre practitioners together to rethink why and how character continues to matter. Contributors seek in particular to expand our notions of what Shakespearean character is, and to extend the range of critical vocabularies in which character criticism can work. The return to character thus involves incorporating as well as contesting postmodern ideas that have radically revised our conceptions of subjectivity and selfhood. At the same time, by engaging theatre practitioners, this book promotes the kind of comprehensive dialogue that is necessary for the common endeavor of sustaining the vitality of Shakespeare's characters.
Contents: Introduction, Yu Jin Ko; Part 1 Shakespearean Persons: How dark was it in that room? Performing a scene Shakespeare never wrote, Michael Bristol; Shakespearean characters and early modern subjectivity: the case of King Lear, Bruce W. Young; What makes someone a character in Shakespeare, William Flesch; Wopsle’s revenge, or, reading Hamlet as character in Great Expectations, James E. Berg. Part 2 Character in Action: Historicizing spontaneity: the illusion of the first time of ‘the illusion of the first time’, Cary M. Mazer; (Re:)historicizing spontaneity: original practices, Stanislavski, and characterization, Tiffany Stern; Retracing Antonio: in search of the merchant of Venice, Diego Arciniegas; Letting unpleasantness lie: counter-intuition and character in The Merchant of Venice, Brett Gamboa; Iago: in following him I follow but myself, Dan Donohue; ‘I lay with Cassio lately’: Iago’s fantasy, the actor, and audience response to Othello in 3.3, Michael W. Shurgot. Part 3 Beyond Naturalism: Then and Now: Just do it: theory and practice in acting, Eunice Roberts; Playing sodomites: gender and protean character in As You Like It, Lina Perkins Wilder; ‘Stops’ in the name of love: playing typological Iago, Travis Curtright; Henry V’s character conflict, James Wells; Bibliography; Index.
About the Editor: Yu Jin Ko, is Professor of English at Wellesley College, USA. Michael W. Shurgot is Professor of Humanities at South Puget Sound Community College, USA.
Reviews: 'One of the collection’s strongest features is its organization […] which makes the collection feel like a unified whole, a rarity in books of essays. Particularly effective is the ‘conversation’ between Cary Mazer and Tiffany Stern in their respective pieces concerning historicizing spontaneity… Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, professionals.' Choice'The book offers a series of different perspectives on the complex relationships, between two of Shakespeare’s most compelling characters.' The Shakespeare Blog
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