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Measure for Measure (Shakespeare, the Critical Tradition) by George L. Geckle

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By George L. Geckle

During this severe overview of the vintage, the dialogue makes a speciality of the character of the foremost characters, the morality in their habit, the belief of the play, and the style of a play that was once indexed within the First Folio as a comedy. The contents of this quantity conceal texts by means of English, American and ecu students and critics together with Malone, Stevens, Schlegel, Hazlitt, Coleridge, Hallam, Gervinus, Bagehot, Pater, Dowden, Furnivall, Swinburne, Symons, Boas, Shaw, Bradley, Chambers, Bridges, Masefield and Croce.

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Many of the earlier commentators on this play failed to see the irony of Isabella's appeals for mercy arousing Angelo's lust: cf. Richardson (No. 2), Drake (No. 10), Jameson (No. 16), Knight (No. 19), Verplanck (No. 23), Clarke (No. 29), and even Andrew George (No. 56). The first critics to use the term 'irony' in connection with Measure for Measure were Barrett Wendell in 1894 (No. 42), F. S. Boas in 1896 (No. 43), and Georg Brandes in 1898 (No. 44). See Brian Vickers, 'Shakespearian Consolations', Proceedings of the British Academy, 82 (1993), 219-84.

49) declared that 'in Measure for Measure perhaps, certainly in Troilus and Cressida, a spirit of bitterness and contempt seems to pervade an intellectual atmosphere of an intense but hard clearness'. A year later H. C. Hart (No. 50) was 'almost tempted to suggest that the loss of [Shakespeare's] royal mistress, and the advent of that heavy-witted pedant James I, had for the moment smitten our poet's spirits hip and thigh'. Other biographical explanations were not so specific, being content with general evocations of Shakespeare's darkening mood, such as E.

Johnsonian Miscellanies, 2 vols (Oxford, 1897; New York, 1966), I, p. 439. Boswell's Life of Johnson, cd. R. W. Chapman (Oxford, 1952), pp. 949-51. See also pp. 416, 426-7, 579, 839, 842. Barton, op. , p. 287. '"Our City's Institutions": Some Further Reflections on the Marriage Contracts in Measure for Measure', ELH, 49 (1982), 790-804. , E. A. J. Honigmann, 'Shakespeare's Mingled Yarn and Measure for Measure', Proceedings of the British Academy, 67 (1981), 101—21, for a stimulating account of Shakespeare's virtuosity in mixing genres, plots, perspectives, and other elements.

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