The Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Comedy

This   is   an   accessible,   wide-ranging   and   informed   introduction   to
Shakespeare’s comedies and romances. Rather than taking each play in iso-
lation, the chapters trace recurring issues, suggesting both the continuity and
the variety of Shakespeare’s practice and the creative use he made of the conven-
tions he inherited. The first section puts Shakespeare in the context of classical
and Renaissance comedy and comic theory, the work of his Elizabethan pre-
decessors, and the traditions of popular festivity. The second section traces
a number of themes through Shakespeare’s early and middle comedies, dark
comedies and late romances, establishing the key features of his comedy as a
whole and illuminating particular plays by close analysis. Individual chapters
draw on contemporary politics, rhetoric, and the history of Shakespeare pro-
duction. Written by experts in the relevant fields, the chapters bring the reader
up to date on current thinking and frequently challenge long-standing critical

Notes on contributors ix
Preface xiii
Chronology xvii
Part 1: Shakespeare and comic tradition
1   Theories of comedy 3
david galbraith
2   Roman comedy 18
robert s. miola
3   Italian stories on the stage 32
louise george clubb
4   Elizabethan comedy 47
janette dillon
5   Popular festivity 64
franc¸ ois laroque
Part 2: Shakespearean comedy
6   Forms of confusion 81
john creaser
7   Love and courtship 102
catherine bates
8   Laughing at “others” 123
edward berry
9   Comedy and sex 139
alexander leggatt
10   Language and comedy 156
lynne magnusson
11   Sexual disguise and the theatre of gender 179
barbara hodgdon
12   Matters of state 198
anthony miller
13   The experiment of romance 215
michael o’connell
Select bibliography 230
Index 234

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