A New Mimesis: Shakespeare and the Representation of Reality

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Yale University Press, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 209 pages
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In pursuit of a powerful, common-sense argument about realism, renowned scholar A. D. Nuttall discusses English eighteenth-century and French neo-classical conceptions of realism, and considers Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and both parts of King Henry IV as a prolonged feat of mimesis, with particular emphasis on Shakespeare’s perception of society and culture as subject to historical change. Shakespeare is chosen as the great example of realism because he addresses not only the stable characteristics but also the flux of things, and he is thus seen as a perceiver of that flux and not a mere specimen. An acknowledged classic of literary studies, A New Mimesis is reissued here with a new preface by the author.
 

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Contents

the priority of language to meaning
22
The dissolution of mimesis
51
Eighteenthcentury perceptions of Shakespeare
66
The two languages of criticism
80
Shakespeares imitation of the world
99
The Merchant of Venice and Othello
120
Prince Hal and Falstaff
143
The new mimesis
163
Conclusion
181
Notes
194
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About the author (2007)

A. D. Nuttall is professor of English at Oxford University and the author of numerous books, including Shakespeare the Thinker, published by Yale University Press, A Common Sky: Philosophy and the Literary Imagination, and Why Does Tragedy Give Pleasure?

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