English Literature Studies in Shakespeare

May 6th, 2015
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Morehead State University
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You Can Go Home Again, Can't You? An Introduction to The Tempest A lecture prepared for Liberal Studies 320 and revised and extended for English 366: Studies in Shakespeare, by Ian Johnston of Malaspina-University College, Nanaimo, BC. Introduction

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English 366: Studies in ShakespeareYou Can Go Home Again, Can't You? An Introduction to The Tempest[A lecture prepared for Liberal Studies 320 and revised and extended for English 366: Studies in Shakespeare, by Ian Johnston of Malaspina-University College, Nanaimo, BC. Introduction Today I wish to provide something of a short introduction to Shakespeare's Tempest, first, by acknowledging some of the interpretative richness of this play and, second, by outlining two very different approaches. The contrast between them will serve as a final reminder of something we have (I hope) discovered many times in this course, the interpretative fecundity of Shakespeare's work. Let me begin by acknowledging an interesting point about this play: interpretations of the Tempest tend to be shaped quite strongly by the particular background which the interpreter brings to it. This point sounds like a truism (and it is), but I simply want to point to the fact that this play, more so than many others, tends to bring out in interpreters what their particular interests are in a way that other plays often do not (at least not to the same degree). At least that has been my experience. In part, this happens because this play puts a good deal of pressure on us to treat it allegorically, that is, to find a conceptual framework which will coordinate our understanding of what goes on in the play. I think we feel this mainly because there is little complex characterization in the Tempest (excep

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