Shakespeare and the Middle Ages

Essays on the Performance and Adaptation of the Plays with Medieval Sources or Settings

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About the Book

Every generation reinvents Shakespeare for its own needs, imagining through its particular choices and emphases the Shakespeare that it values. The man himself was deeply involved in his own kind of historical reimagining. This collection of essays examines the playwright’s medieval sources and inspiration, and how they shaped his works. With a foreword by Michael Almereyda (director of the Hamlet starring Ethan Hawke) and dramaturge Dakin Matthews, these thirteen essays analyze the ways in which our modern understanding of medieval life has been influenced by our appreciation of Shakespeare’s plays.

About the Author(s)

Martha W. Driver is distinguished professor of English and women’s and gender studies at Pace University.
Sid Ray is a professor of English and women’s and gender studies at Pace University.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Martha W. Driver and Sid Ray
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: 57 photos, filmographies, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3405-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9165-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS      vi

FOREWORD: “THE SKELETON IN THE MIRROR”

Michael Almereyda and Dakin Matthews      1

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Martha W. Driver and Sid Ray      7

Part I. “Abstract and Brief Chronicles of Time”: The Histories

INTRODUCTION TO PART I

Martha W. Driver      21

Richard’s Himself Again”: The Body of Richard III on Stage and Screen

Jim Casey      27

Falstaff in America

Catherine Loomis      49

Scoring the Fields of the Dead: Musical Styles and Approaches to Postbattle Scenes from Henry V (1944, 1989)

Linda K. Schubert      62

Part II. “Carnal, Bloody, and Unnatural Acts”: The Tragedies

INTRODUCTION TO PART II

Martha W. Driver      81

“We’re Everyone You Depend On”: Filming Shakespeare’s Peasants

Carl James Grindley      89

Medieval Hamlet in Performance

Patrick J. Cook      105

Finding Gruoch: The Hidden Genealogy of Lady Macbeth in Text and Cinematic Performance

Sid Ray      116

Part III. “Many Merry Men”: The Comedies

INTRODUCTION TO PART III

Sid Ray      135

Reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream through Middle English Romance

Martha W. Driver      140

“Chaucer … the Story Gives”: Troilus and Cressida and The Two Noble Kinsmen

Julia Ruth Briggs      161

Shakespeare’s Virgin Mother on the Modern Stage: All’s Well, That Ends Well and the Madonna del Parto Tradition

Gary Waller      178

Part IV. “Tragical-Comical-Historical-Pastoral”: The Romances

INTRODUCTION TO PART IV

Sid Ray      195

“The Quick and the Dead”: Performing the Poet Gower in Pericles

Kelly Jones      201

Shakespeare as Medievalist: What It Means for Performing Pericles

R. F. Yeager      215

A Touch of Chaucer in The Winter’s Tale

Louise M. Bishop      232

Caliban’s God: The Medieval and Renaissance Man in the Moon

Kim Zarins      245

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS      263

INDEX      267

Book Reviews & Awards

“fascinating…compelling”—Arthuriana; “the anthology is certainly one that scholars interested in Shakespeare on film will wish to consult”—Studies in Medieval & Renaissance Teaching.