By Judith M. Kennedy, Richard F. Kennedy
This examine strains the reaction to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from Shakespeare's day to the current, together with critics from Britain, Europe and the US.
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Extra info for A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare, the Critical Tradition)
16) gives examples of the 'brilliantly bejewelled' language, concluding his catalogue by referring to 'a hundred images beside of aerial grace and mythic beauty'. Daniel (No. 117 White (No. 33) shows his appreciation by analyzing specific examples of word-choice and the effects of alliteration. The abundance of the imagery and the ingenuity of the conceits were not always seen as laudable: Gervinus condemns the 'language, picturesque, descriptive, and florid with conceits, the too apparent alliterations, the doggrel passages which extend over the passionate and impressive scenes', but he exempts the fairy poetry, since he feels it reflects the native style before the pernicious influence of the Italians swept England.
60) calls attention to the contrasts of the diction; Dream represents the whole of life, and 'every element of this life has its own speech': 'the pretentious vaporings of Bottom', 'the eloquent wranglings of Hermia and Helena, the murmurous music of the fairies', 'the wise and glowing utterance of Theseus', the 'doggerel of "Pyramus and Thisbe'". Although not attempting to name the 'tropes and figures' of the rhetoricians' books, Maginn (No. 16) gives examples of the 'brilliantly bejewelled' language, concluding his catalogue by referring to 'a hundred images beside of aerial grace and mythic beauty'.
25) gives great importance to the nature of dreaming in the presentation and unification of the play, but still he considers it unlikely to be successful on stage, comparing it with Comus, and thus relating it to pastoral and masque. At the same time he is sensitive to the fact that the text is meant to be spoken, not just read by 'students in their closets'. 19 SHAKESPEARE: THE CRITICAL TRADITION Hudson (No. 29) is convinced that his own sensibility must represent audience reaction, finding Bottom's transformation 'intolerable to look upon: .
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare, the Critical Tradition) by Judith M. Kennedy, Richard F. Kennedy