Philosophy Critical Thinking

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare, the Critical by Judith M. Kennedy, Richard F. Kennedy

Posted On February 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm by / Comments Off on A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare, the Critical by Judith M. Kennedy, Richard F. Kennedy

By Judith M. Kennedy, Richard F. Kennedy

This research strains the reaction to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from Shakespeare's day to the current, together with critics from Britain, Europe and the USA.

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66 Eight years later Gildon published The Complete Art of Poetry, with a section of sixty-five pages on 'Shakespeareana: or Select Moral Reflections, Topicks . 68 Pope continued the practise of distinguishing Shakespeare's beauties in his edition (1723-5) in two ways: first, he marked 'the most shining passages' with 'comma's in the margin; and where the beauty lay not in particulars but in the whole, a star is prefix'd to the scene';69 and, secondly, he provided an extensive index. Both shining passages and starred scenes are scarce in the plays.

55 More praise came from David Baker in his Companion to the Play-House (1764): 'This Play is one of the wild and irregular Overflowings of this great Author's creative Imagination'. 57 The last five words are from Dryden as quoted by Rowe above, and are quoted again by Elizabeth Montagu, who perhaps best sums up the romantic neo-classical attitude towards fairies when she says that like the Pagans, the western world too had its sacred fables. While there is any national superstition which credulity has consecrated, any hallowed tradition long revered by vulgar faith; to that sanctuary, that asylum, may the poet resort.

75 Theobald and Johnson offered much more than a few comments on Bottom's character: their editions, and the other important editions of the eighteenth century also contributed significantly to help establish the main critical tradition. The earliest 11 SHAKESPEARE: THE CRITICAL TRADITION editions are important textually, and offer some critical insights in their prefaces, but Rowe (1709) has no notes at all, and Pope (1723-5) has only sparse and terse comments, as does Sir Thomas Hanmer's Oxford edition (1743-4).

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