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By William Shakespeare

A brand new element of the advent to this up-to-date variation considers vital specialist theater productions and the massive output of scholarly feedback at the play that have seemed in recent times. The studying record has been revised and augmented to mirror the scope of the revised version. First version Hb (1985): 0-521-22194-3 First version Pb (1985): 0-521-29389-8

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2 Coleridge's Shakespearean Criticism, éd. T. M. Raysor, rev. , i960, 1, 90. 3 The quotation is from William J. Martz, Shakespeare's Universe of Comedy, 1977, p. 63. John Dover Wilson's Shakespeare's Happy Comedies appeared in 1962. See also Thomas McFarland's essay on the play in Shakespeare's Pastoral Comedy, 1972, which begins (p. 78), 'A Midsummer Night's Dream is the happiest of Shakespeare's plays... ' 4 Sometimes with an emphasis on its dry, gossamer lyricism, and sometimes seeing it as 'brawny and brawling farce', to cite E.

The imagination was widely held in disrepute and linked with the senses rather than the reason; it was held to be the source of distorted visions and a contributing factor in diseases such as melancholy; but it was also defended with vigour, especially by the poets, as able to give form to higher truths than the literal, and, under the guidance of reason, to create images that could stir the reader to virtuous courses; see William Rossky, 'Imagination in the English Renaissance: psychology and poetic', Studies in the Renaissance 5 (1958), 49-73See, for example, Harriet Hawkins, Likenesses of Truth in Elizabethan and Restoration Drama, 1972, pp.

111-14) The passions generated by these quarrels are all part of the felt experience of the play for an audience. The stylistic control is exercised through the verse structure, the patterning of the action,2 and through the aesthetic distancing of the lovers' quarrels into, as it were, a play within the play; this ensures the promise of a genial outcome. For Oberon and Puck, who supervise the lovers, and take care that in the end no harm is done, the woods are a different sort of place. 65, 69)» but t n e v b ° t n seem at home in the landscape of delicate English beauty created by Oberon's memorable lines I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows...

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