Myth, Emblem, and Music in Shakespeare's

Myth, Emblem, and Music in Shakespeare's "Cymbeline": An Iconographic Reconstruction

by Douglas R. Bisson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0874134293

ISBN-13: 9780874134292

Pub. Date: 10/01/1992

Publisher: University of Delaware Press

Winner of the University of Delaware Press Award for the best manuscript in Shakespearean Studies, this study clarifies and revitalizes Shakespeare's Cymbeline for the modern reader through a rediscovery of the poet's artistic use of Renaissance myths, symbols, and emblematic topoi that give meaning to the play. Although mainly concerned with the rich classical and…  See more details below

Overview

Winner of the University of Delaware Press Award for the best manuscript in Shakespearean Studies, this study clarifies and revitalizes Shakespeare's Cymbeline for the modern reader through a rediscovery of the poet's artistic use of Renaissance myths, symbols, and emblematic topoi that give meaning to the play. Although mainly concerned with the rich classical and Christian iconography of Cymbeline, the book also rages widely over Shakespeare's dramatic and nondramatic works and beyond to the work of his contemporaries in Renaissance poetry, drama, art, theology, philosophy, emblems, and myths to show parallels between the mysteries of this tragicomedy and other examples of Renaissance thought and expression. It uncovers actual representations in the visual arts of parallels to the play's descriptive and theatrical moments. These iconographic parallels are lavishly illustrated in the book through photographs of Renaissance plaster work, embroidery, metalwork, oil paintings, and sculpture, but primarily through woodcuts and engravings from English and Continental emblem books of the period. The visual imagery is carefully related to an intellectual explanation of Cymbeline's complex Neoplatonic and Reformation themes. The author begins with a extended definition of the genre of Renaissance tragicomedy, a form developed for Christian artistic purposes in Italy by Tasso and Guarini. Aside from the obviously similar characteristics of a happy ending and the presence of an oracle, Cymbeline shares nine other artistic aspects with the pioneer Italian tragicomedies Aminta and Il pastor fido, including the celebration of an Orphic ritual of death and resurrection. After a discussion of the Neoplatonic and Ovidian mythology embedded in the play, the book considers in detail the iconography of Imogen's elaborately decorated bedroom as a reconciliation of opposites, the iconography of primitivism and Wild Men versus courtier as a satire of the British court, and the icon

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874134292
Publisher:
University of Delaware Press
Publication date:
10/01/1992
Pages:
400

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments9
Introduction13
1Cymbeline as a Renaissance Tragicomedy29
2Myths, Explicit and Implicit, in Cymbeline66
3The Iconography of Imogen's Bedchamber95
4The Iconography of Primitivism in Cymbeline136
5Anti-Courtier Imagery in Cymbeline170
6The Iconography of Birds in Cymbeline198
7The Iconography of Vegetation241
8Animals, Minerals, and Rituals272
9The Five Senses and the Limits of Perception300
10Conclusion: The Tempered Music of Orpheus334
Select Bibliography364
Index379

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