Shakespeare's Lyric Stage: Myth, Music, and Poetry in the Last Plays

Author:   Seth Lerer
Publisher:   The University of Chicago Press
ISBN:  

9780226582542


Pages:   272
Publication Date:   21 December 2018
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   In stock   Availability explained
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Shakespeare's Lyric Stage: Myth, Music, and Poetry in the Last Plays


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Overview

What does it mean to have an emotional response to poetry and music? And, just as important but considered less often, what does it mean not to have such a response? What happens when lyric utterances--which should invite consolation, revelation, and connection--somehow fall short of the listener's expectations? As Seth Lerer shows in this pioneering book, Shakespeare's late plays invite us to contemplate that very question, offering up lyric as a displaced and sometimes desperate antidote to situations of duress or powerlessness. Lerer argues that the theme of lyric misalignment running throughout The Tempest, The Winter's Tale, Henry VIII, and Cymbeline serves a political purpose, a last-ditch effort at transformation for characters and audiences who had lived through witch-hunting, plague, regime change, political conspiracies, and public executions. A deep dive into the relationship between aesthetics and politics, this book also explores what Shakespearean lyric is able to recuperate for these victims of history by virtue of its disjointed utterances. To this end, Lerer establishes the concept of mythic lyricism: an estranging use of songs and poetry that functions to recreate the past as present, to empower the mythic dead, and to restore a bit of magic to the commonplaces and commodities of Jacobean England. Reading against the devotion to form and prosody common in Shakespeare scholarship, Lerer's account of lyric utterance's vexed role in his late works offers new ways to understand generational distance and cultural change throughout the playwright's oeuvre.

Full Product Details

Author:   Seth Lerer
Publisher:   The University of Chicago Press
Imprint:   University of Chicago Press
Dimensions:   Width: 13.70cm , Height: 1.50cm , Length: 21.30cm
Weight:   0.295kg
ISBN:  

9780226582542


ISBN 10:   022658254
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   21 December 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  General
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   In stock   Availability explained
We have confirmation that this item is in stock with the supplier. It will be ordered in for you and dispatched immediately.

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Reviews

Seth Lerer ranges widely and brilliantly on Shakespeare's last plays, bringing them into sharper focus at a moment--like Shakespeare's own--when the tensions between the aesthetic and the political are palpable. Learned, informed, elegantly argued, and packed with insights, this is truly an 'elegy of the imagination, ' a deeply absorbing study that will prove invaluable to all who are drawn to these vexing, haunting plays. --James Shapiro, author of A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 Within the much-explored territory of Shakespeare's late plays, Lerer's book will hold a place of its own for the richness of its scholarship and for the delicacy and originality of its readings. Looking closely at how these plays dramatize the power and limits of lyric voice, he manages beautifully to evoke their strange danger, charm, capaciousness, and doubt. --Kenneth Gross, author of Shylock Is Shakespeare In this evocative study of the late plays as experiments in lyric utterance, Lerer traces the representation of lyric as mediated and embodied performance, a repeatable impersonation, in order to suggest that art's capacities become for Shakespeare most urgent where poetry fails in its Orphic aspiration to turn, to fix, to transcend, to console. The elusive object of Shakespeare's Lyric Stage is less Shakespeare's late style than a whole sensibility caught, movingly, in the time for which elegy stands, gazing back at the remembered changes and forward at the fragility of its own ongoingness. --Bradin Cormack, Princeton University


Author Information

Seth Lerer is distinguished professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of nine previous books, and received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Truman Capote Prize in Criticism for Children's Literature: A Reader's History, from Aesop to Harry Potter, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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