Monty Python, Shakespeare and English Renaissance Drama


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About the Book

At first consideration, it would seem that Shakespeare and Monty Python have very little in common other than that they’re both English. Shakespeare wrote during the reign of a politically puissant Elizabeth, while Python flourished under an Elizabeth figurehead. Shakespeare wrote for rowdy theatre whereas Python toiled at a remove, for television. Shakespeare is The Bard; Python is-well-not.
Despite all of these differences, Shakespeare and Monty are in fact related; this work considers both the differences and similarities between the two. It discusses Shakespeare’s status as England’s National Poet and Python’s similar elevation. It explores various aspects of theatricality (troupe configurations, casting and writing choices, allusions to classical literature) used by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Monty Python. It also covers the uses and abuses of history in Shakespeare and Python; humor, especially satire, in Shakespeare, Jonson, Dekker and Python; and the concept of the “Other” in Shakespearean and Pythonesque creations.

About the Author(s)

Darl Larsen is professor of theatre and media arts at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Bibliographic Details

Darl Larsen
Foreword by William Proctor Williams
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1504-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8109-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword      1

Introduction: “Whither Python?”      5

1. The Reading(s) of a National Poet      11

2. “And Now for Something Completely Different(?)” Shakespeare, Jonson and Monty Python      36

3. “Is Not the Truth the Truth?” (Ab)uses of History      73

4. “I Pray You Lend Me Your Dwarf”: Structures of Humor      115

5. (Ad)dressing the Other      158

Conclusion      213

Bibliography      219

Index      231

Book Reviews & Awards

“opens students up to the wonder, excitement, admiration and fun of Shakespeare. Larsen’s book is fun and interesting while also being well researched. One reads it remembering how much one enjoys both Shakespeare and Python”—New England Theatre Journal; “a serious study of a popular subject”—Interzone.