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Shakespeare's Festive Comedy – A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom - Princeton Scholarship Online
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Shakespeare's Festive Comedy: A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom

Cesar Lombardi Barber


This book argues that Elizabethan seasonal festivals such as May Day and Twelfth Night are the key to understanding Shakespeare's comedies. Interweaving anthropology, social history, and literary criticism, the book traces the inward journey—psychological, bodily, spiritual—of the comedies: from confusion, raucous laughter, aching desire, and aggression, to harmony. Revealing the interplay between social custom and dramatic form, the book shows how the Elizabethan antithesis between everyday and holiday comes to life in the comedies' combination of seriousness and levity. “I have been led into ... More

Keywords: Elizabethan festivals, seasonal festivals, May Day, Twelfth Night, Shakespeare, comedies

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780691149523
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691149523.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Cesar Lombardi Barber, author