Bottom Translation

Bottom Translation

by Jan Kott
     
 

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The Bottom Translation represents the first critical attempt at applying the ideas and methods of the great Russian critic, Mikhail Bakhtin, to the works of Shakespeare and other Elizabethans. Professor Kott uncovers the cultural and mythopoetic traditions underlying A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, Dr. Faustus, and other

Overview

The Bottom Translation represents the first critical attempt at applying the ideas and methods of the great Russian critic, Mikhail Bakhtin, to the works of Shakespeare and other Elizabethans. Professor Kott uncovers the cultural and mythopoetic traditions underlying A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, Dr. Faustus, and other plays. His method draws him to interpret these works in the light of the carnival and popular tradition as it was set forth by Bakhtin. The Bottom Translation breaks new ground in critical thinking and theatrical vision and is an invaluable source of new ideas and perspectives. Included in this volume is also an extraordinary essay on Kurosawa's "Ran" in which the Japanese filmmaker recreates King Lear.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Kott's Shakespeare, Our Contemporary (1964) can take much of the credit (or blame) for most radical interpretations of Shakespeare staged today. His newest collection of essays is not as revolutionary but is sometimes as stimulating. Kott examines Shakespeare and Marlowe in light of the critical theories of Mikhail Bakhtin, who found that the ancient and ritualistic tradition of the carnival is the basic inspiration of much literature and folklore. Kott alludes to numerous authors in support of this thesis (including Mann, Erasmus, and Levi-Strauss) but seldom elaborates fully how they are relevant. Consequently, the book leaves one somewhat enlightened but mostly frustrated.James Stephenson, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, D.C.
From the Publisher

"[O]riginal and exciting. [Kott's] use of Bakhtin as a mirror for the Renaissance stage results in reading that are both elegant and startling. Most welcome of all is Kott's sense of the living theater amidst the neoplatonism and allusion." —Stephen Orgel

"Jan Kott never ceases to amaze me. His imaginative mind moves in on a play from the most unexpected angles, but he always hits dead center. The essay on Faustus is particularly brilliant. The Bottom Translation is an important addition to this major critic's invaluable work." —Robert W. Corrigan

"Jan Kott is not just another theater critic or historian: he is, in the fullest sense of the term, a man of the theater. His work as a scholar has always been enriched by his experience as a director. His gift has always been to see history in plays, as well as plays in history. His own experience in Eastern Europe gives Kott's readings of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Webster a rare urgency and originality. This new book throws light not only on Renaissance drama, but on Kott himself; Kott is not only a strong reader, but a powerful writer."

—Michael Holquist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810107380
Publisher:
Northwestern University Press
Publication date:
06/01/1987
Edition description:
1
Pages:
165
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Jan Kott, (1914-2001) born in Warsaw, was a theater critic and theorist. 

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