Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies

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Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 470 pages
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Provides the first systematic and comprehensive account of the conventions governing soliloquies in Western drama from ancient times to the twentieth century. Over the course of theatrical history, there have been several kinds of soliloquies. Shakespeare's soliloquies are not only the most interesting and the most famous, but also the most misunderstood, and several chapters examine them in detail. The present study is based on a painstaking analysis of the actual practices of dramatists from each age of theatrical history. This investigation has uncovered evidence that refutes long-standing commonplaces about soliloquies in general, about Shakespeare's soliloquies in particular, and especially about the to be, or not to be episode. 'Shakespeare and the history of Soliloquies' casts new lights on historical changes in the artistic representation of human beings and, because representations cannot be entirely disentangled from perception, on historical changes in the ways human beings have perceived theselves.

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Contents

Acknowledgments
9
Representation of Speech
35
From Antiquity to the Middle of the Sixteenth
62
Copyright

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