Shakespeare's Comedies: From Roman Farce to Romantic Mystery

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University of Delaware Press, 1994 - Drama - 265 pages
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This study of Shakespeare's comedies received the University of Delaware Press Award for best manuscript in the field of Shakspearean Literature and was selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book. Unusual in scope, it is not limited to the plays of a particular period. Instead it traces Shakespeare's achievement in comedy from such early plays as The Comedy of Errors and Two Gentlemen of Verona to the plays of Shakespeare's ripest maturity, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest.
Author Robert Ornstein makes clear the inadequacy of critical attempts to reduce the comedies to a single formula or dramatic template. While the early comedies may be festive in nature, they are the work of a playwright who introduced into them a note of sadness not present in his source materials. Ornstein reminds his readers that Shakespeare wrote his most lighthearted comedies at a time when he was imaginatively absorbed in the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet, plot devices of which do indeed appear in Two Gentlemen, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing.

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Shakespeare's comedies: from roman farce to romantic mystery

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Ornstein's intended audience is "all who love, study, and teach Shakespeare,'' and he serves this readership well. Avoiding the minutiae of scholarship, he analyzes theme and character. Especially ... Read full review

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One of the great Shakespeare scholars, and an inspiring teacher.

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About the author (1994)

Robert Ornstein received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin and is the Oviatt Professor Emeritus of English at Case Western Reserve University.

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