Described as one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing plays, All’s Well That Ends Well has only recently begun to receive the critical attention it deserves. Noted as a crucial point of development in Shakespeare’s career, this collection of new essays reflects the growing interest in the play and presents a broad range of approaches to it, including historical, feminist, performative and psychoanalytical criticisms.
In addition to fourteen essays written by leading scholars, the editor’s introduction provides a substantial overview of the play’s critical history, with a strong focus on performance analysis and the impact that this has had on its reception and reputation. Demonstrating a variety of approaches to the play and furthering recent debates, this book makes a valuable contribution to Shakespeare criticism.
About the Author
Gary Waller is Professor of Literature Cultural and Drama Studies at Purchase College, SUNY. He has published widely, including books on The Sidney Family Romance, English Poetry of the Sixteenth Century, Shakespeare’s Comedies, Edmund Spenser: A Literary Life and Mary Sidney Countess of Pembroke.
Table of Contents
General Editor's Introduction ix
List of Figures and Acknowledgments xi
From "the Unfortunate Comedy" to "this Infinitely Fascinating Play": the Critical and Theatrical Emergence of All's Well, That Ends Well Gary Waller 1
Revising the Sources: Novella, Romance, and the Meanings of Fiction in All's Well, That Ends Well Steven Mentz 57
"As Sweet as Sharp": Helena and the Fairy Bride Tradition Regina Buccola 71
Tying the (K)not: The Marriage of Tragedy and Comedy in All's Well, That Ends Well Paul Gleed 85
All's Well, That Ends Well and the Art of Retrograde Motion Deanne Williams 98
Performing Woman: Female Theatricality in All's Well, That Ends Well Kent R. Lehnhof 111
"To make the 'not' eternal": Female Eloquence and Patriarchal Authority in All's Well, That Ends Well Ellen Belton 125
Shakespeare's Miracle Play? Religion in All's Well, That Ends Well Helen Wilcox 140
She is in the Right: Biblical Maternity and All's Well, That Ends Well Michele Osherow 155
"The credit of your father": Absent Fathers in All's Well, That Ends Well David M. Bergeron 169
"'Twas mine, 'twas Helen's"; Rings of Desire in All's Well, That Ends Well Nicholas Ray 183
"Sweet Practicer, thy Physic I will try": Helena and Her 'Good Receipt' in All's Well, That Ends Well Catherine Field 194
All's Well, That Ends Well and the 1604 Controversy Concerning the Court of Wards and Liveries Terry Reilly 209
Playing it Accordingly: Parolles and Shakespeare's Knee-crooking Knaves Craig Dionne 221
All's Well as Television: the 1980 Moshinsky Production Bob White 234
Select List of Productions of All's Well, That Ends Well, 1953-2006 247
Select Bibliography 251