Shakespeare and the Ends of Comedy

Shakespeare and the Ends of Comedy

Ejner J. Jensen
Distribution: World
Publication date: 8/1/1991
ISBN: 978-0-253-11268-2
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Description

“This is a congenial, lucidly written work, the product of careful thought and attention to performance.” —Shakespeare Bulletin

“ . . . Jensen has done a service by reminding readers of the variety and richness of the comedy and comic devices in Shakespeare’s plays.” —Choice

“The ear that Jensen brings to the plays themselves results in close readings that are always insightful and stimulate new questions.” —English Language Notes

"Here is a genuinely readable and enjoyable book . . . humane, balanced, unpolemical, good humored, and fundamentally sane." —Charles R. Forker

“. . . Jensen has produced a sensitive and eminently readable book that will no doubt figure prominently in future attempts to understand Shakespeare’s comic practice.” —Shakespeare Yearbook

Jensen questions a persistent critical emphasis that finds the meanings of Shakespeare’s comedies in their endings. Analyzing The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, and Measure for Measure, he shows how much vitality is sacrificed when critics assume that "the end crowns the work."

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

One
Crowning the End: The Aggrandizement of Closure in the Reading of Shakespeare’s Comedies

Two
“A wild of nothing, save of jog”: The Comic Pleasures of The Merchant of Venice

Three
“The Career of...Humor”: Comedy’s Triumph in Much Ado about Nothing

Four
Performative Comedy in As You Like It

Five
Speaking Masterly: Comic Tone and Comic Preparation in Twelfth Night

Six
Comic Vitality and the Cost of Fantasy in Measure for Measure

Notes
Works Cited
Index