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Literary Criticism Shakespeare

Twelfth Night and Shakespearian Comedy

edited by Clifford Leech & John Margeson

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2019
Shakespeare, Essays, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
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    Publish Date
    Feb 2019
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Professor Leech examines here the changing nature of Shakespeare's comic art, from its early forms in such plays as The Comedy of Errors and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, where delight predominates, to later developments in Measure for Measure and The Winter's Tale, where elements of the playwright's tragic vision intrude to prevent the effect from being wholly comic. He illuminates the nature of comedy not by considering it as an isolated genre, but by defininig its relationship to tragedy and by providing a perceptive analysis of the comic characters and they contrast with tragic forms and as they relate to the conventions of the Elizabethan comic theatre. Twelfth Night is seen as a key part in the sequence of Shakespeariean comedies, for in it, while delight is at its height, there are disturbing hints of a transience and fragility that are resolved with the more sober and penetrating view of human nature found in the later comedies.
This book is based on lectures delivered from the stage of the Neptune Theatre, Halifax, as part of a programme arranged by Dalhousie University and the Theatre to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth.

About the authors

CLIFFORD LEECH is professor of English, University College, University of Toronto.

Clifford Leech's profile page

JOHN M.R. MARGESON is professor of English, Scarborough College, University of Toronto.

John Margeson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"These essays are a pleasure to read: they are thoughtful, urbane, wide-ranging in reference, and attuned to the humane concerns of Shakespeare's art … In a deceptively quiet manner, [the book] presents a fresh and stimulating view of its subject."

Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts

Other titles by Clifford Leech

Other titles by John Margeson