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Hugh Macrae Richmond: Shakespeare’s Tragedies Reviewed. A Spectator’s Role (Studies in Shakespeare, 22). New York: Peter Lang, 2015.

In this learned and comprehensive study, Hugh Macrae Richmond, in 2014, “an eighty-three year old…” Professor of English Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, sets out to explore the practical operation of earlier theatres in European societies. He argues that “Shakespearean tragedies are governed primarily by what audiences welcome, not by respect for the criteria of authorities such as Sidney whose censures of contemporary Elizabethan popular theatre are largely irrelevant to its practices. … the plays’ structures, characterisation, tone, and emotional impact are governed primarily by recurring responses to performances from their popular audiences, not abstract theory”. In his concern for audience involvement, Richmond claims, Shakespeare rather followed Cinthio (1504-1573), Guarini (1538-1612), and Lope de Vega (1562 – 1635) than Aristotle and “critical attempts to limit classification of drama into just two categories, tragedy which ends sadly and comedy which ends happily.” The Spanish and Italian dramatists rather advocated the superiority of the mixed, positive category of tragedy, that is, a drama with a double plot, respectively – in Guarini’s terms – a tragedy with a happy ending.

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Dokument Hugh Macrae Richmond: Shakespeare’s Tragedies Reviewed. A Spectator’s Role (Studies in Shakespeare, 22). New York: Peter Lang, 2015.