A Double Heart for His Single One. A “Much Ado About Nothing” Experience

Germana Maciocci
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This is a story about love (for Shakespeare of course, English Theatre, the UK, and yes, for “Doctor Who” too). It is also a diary about a journey to London, and a literature essay (it includes a complete exegesis about “Much Ado About Nothing”! – for Dummies, maybe, but it actually does).
But this is mainly a story about friendship.
When, in January 2011, she bought her ticket for that summer production of “Much Ado About Nothing” (starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate, directed by Josie Rourke), the Author didn’t know she would start to regularly post personal thoughts about her experience on an American website, that she would meet and greet the whole cast of the production, and last but not least, that some new friends would be there, waiting to share such a peculiar experience with her, making it even more special.

Germana Maciocci is an avid reader, a blogger specialising in fiction and drama, and a mum. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature. Her thesis was on Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus”. She loves London, the piano, and writing – professionally, for fun and above all, for passion.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Germana Maciocci
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Published on
Jun 2, 2014
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Pages
68
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ISBN
9786050306477
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / Performance
Literary Criticism / Shakespeare
Performing Arts / Theater / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Throughout his plays, Shakespeare placed an extraordinary emphasis on the power of the face to reveal or conceal moral character and emotion, repeatedly inviting the audience to attend carefully to facial features and expressions. The essays collected here disclose that an attention to the power of the face in Shakespeare’s England helps explain moments when Shakespeare’s language of the self becomes intertwined with his language of the face. As the range of these essays demonstrates, an attention to Shakespeare’s treatment of faces has implications for our understanding of the historical and cultural context in which he wrote, as well as the significance of the face for the ongoing interpretation and production of the plays. Engaging with a variety of critical strands that have emerged from the so-called turn to the body, the contributors to this volume argue that Shakespeare’s invitation to look to the face for clues to inner character is not an invitation to seek a static text beneath an external image, but rather to experience the power of the face to initiate reflection, judgment, and action. The evidence of the plays suggests that Shakespeare understood that this experience was extremely complex and mysterious. By turning attention to the face, the collection offers important new analyses of a key feature of Shakespeare’s dramatic attention to the part of the body that garnered the most commentary in early modern England. By bringing together critics interested in material culture studies with those focused on philosophies of self and other and historians and theorists of performance, Shakespeare and the Power of the Face constitutes a significant contribution to our growing understanding of attitudes towards embodiment in Shakespeare’s England.
'Much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to: in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.' Porter, Macbeth, II i.

Why would Elizabethan audiences find Shakespeare's Porter in Macbeth so funny? And what exactly is meant by the name the 'Weird' Sisters? Jonathan Hope, in a comprehensive and fascinating study, looks at how the concept of words meant something entirely different to Elizabethan audiences than they do to us today. In Shakespeare and Language: Reason, Eloquence and Artifice in the Renaissance, he traces the ideas about language that separate us from Shakespeare.


Our understanding of 'words', and how they get their meanings, based on a stable spelling system and dictionary definitions, simply does not hold. Language in the Renaissance was speech rather than writing - for most writers at the time, a 'word' was by definition a collection of sounds, not letters - and the consequences of this run deep. They explain our culture's inability to appreciate Shakespeare's wordplay, and suggest that a rift opened up in the seventeenth century as language came to be regarded as essentially 'written'. The book also considers the visual iconography of language in the Renaissance, the influence of the rhetorical tradition, the extent to which Shakespeare's late style is driven by a desire to increase the subjective content of the text, and new ways of studying Shakespeare's language using computers. As such it will be of great interest to all serious students and teachers of Shakespeare. Despite the complexity of its subject matter, the book is accessibly written with an undergraduate readership in mind.

Shakespeare's characters are thought to be his greatest achievement—imaginatively autonomous, possessed of depth and individuality, while his plots are said to be second-hand and careless of details of time and place. This view has survived the assaults of various literary theories and has even, surprisingly, been revitalized by the recent emphasis on the collaborative nature of early modern theatre. But belief in the autonomous imaginative life of Shakespeare's characters depends on another unexamined myth: the myth that Shakespeare rejected neoclassicism, playing freely with theatrical time and place. Circumstantial Shakespeare explodes these venerable critical commonplaces. Drawing on sixteenth-century rhetorical pedagogy, it reveals the importance of topics of circumstance (of Time, Place, and Motive, etc.) in the conjuring of compelling narratives and vivid mental images. 'Circumstances' — which we now think of as incalculable contingencies — were originally topics of forensic inquiry into human intention or passion. In drawing on the Roman forensic tradition of circumstantial proof, Shakespeare did not ignore time and place. His brilliant innovation was to use the topics of circumstance to imply offstage actions, times and places in terms of the motives and desires we attribute to the characters. His plays thus create both their own vivid and coherent dramatic worlds and a sense of the unconscious feelings of characters inhabiting them. Circumstantial Shakespeare offers new readings of Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Lucrece, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Macbeth, as well as new interpretations of Sackville and Norton's Gorboduc and Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy. It engages with eighteenth-century Shakespeare criticism, contemporary Shakespeare criticism, semiotics of theatre, Roman forensic rhetoric, humanist pedagogy, the prehistory of modern probability, psychoanalytic criticism and sixteenth-century constitutional thought.
Oedipus the King * Aias * Philoctetes * Oedipus at Colonus Sophocles stands as one of the greatest dramatists of all time, and one of the most influential on artists and thinkers over the centuries. In these four tragedies he portrays the extremes of human suffering and emotion, turning the heroic myths into supreme works of poetry and dramatic action. Oedipus the King follows Oedipus, the 'man of sorrow', who has unwittingly chosen to enact his prophesied course by murdering his father and marrying his mother. In Aias, the great warrior confronts the harrowing humiliation inflicted upon him, while Philoctetes sees a once-noble hero nursing his resentment after ten years of marooned isolation. In Oedipus at Colonus the blind Oedipus, who has wandered far and wide as a beggar, finally meets his mysterious death. These original and distinctive verse translations convey the vitality of Sophocles' poetry and the vigour of the plays in performance. Each play is accompanied by an introduction and substantial notes on topographical and mythical references and interpretation. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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