Coming-to-Know: Recognition and the Compex Plot in Shakespeare / Edition 1

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While there is no reason to think that Shakespeare was acquainted with Aristotle's Poetics, a surprisingly large number of his plays display a feature that Aristotle insisted was of paramount importance in creating dramatic plots of the highest order. He called this feature anagnôrisis, which is usually rendered into English as either "recognition" or "discovery." Although frequently identified by modern literary critics with self-knowledge or self-awareness, it may be legitimately applied to a wide range of formal as well as thematic considerations. This study adopts Aristotle's anagnôrisis as an analytical tool that isolates recurring features of Shakespeare's plays and explores their artistic function and significance. As it happens, 15 of the 18 plays customarily classified as comedies or romances make a sufficiently conspicuous use of the device to warrant the label "recognition" play, and these constitute the special object of the present investigation.
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Editorial Reviews

Adams (English, Cornell U.) applies the Aristotelian idea of ("recognition" or "discovery") to Shakespeare's comedies. A survey of as it functions in each of the 18 plays examined is followed by a detailed discussion of in Shakespeare's five early comedies, five middle comedies, three problem comedies, and five late romances. The final chapter sketches a possible application of the same mode of analysis to Shakespeare's tragedies and histories. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820444116
  • Publisher: Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Series: Studies in Shakespeare
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 273

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Notes 10
Chapter 1 Aristotle's Complex Plot 13
Notes 66
Chapter 2 Five Early Comedies 73
Notes 113
Chapter 3 Five Middle Comedies 115
Notes 152
Chapter 4 Three Problem Comedies 155
Notes 174
Chapter 5 Five Late Romances 177
Notes 213
Chapter 6 Conclusion 217
Notes 242
Works Cited 245
Index 269
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