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Will the Modernist

Shakespeare and the European Historical Avant-Gardes


Giovanni Cianci and Caroline M. Patey

Why was the Bard of Avon so frequently on the agenda of avant-garde writers in Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany and Ireland? This volume explores the rich and diverse landscape of Shakespearean encounters in the tormented aesthetics of pre- and post-World War I Europe. However manipulated, deformed or transfigured, the Renaissance dramatist was revived in infinite guises: verbal, philosophical, visual and linguistic. Was he an icon to be demolished ruthlessly as the expression of a stale past or, on the contrary, did his works offer the foundation for new and provocative artistic explorations? Was he an enemy, a foil, a mirror? As they cross the borders of European countries and languages, the essays of this book interrogate Shakespeare’s living presence and chart the multiple facets of his vibrant and chameleonic afterlives as no single volume has done before. The exploration of territories situated beyond Anglophone boundaries partly displaces the Bard from his given niche in English culture and retrieves lost or marginalized Shakespearean voices. The annotated bibliographies which complete the volume greatly extend the territory of scholarship and offer a precious map of orientation in the maze of critical works.
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Laura Pelaschiar – Joyce’s Shakespeare


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Joyce’s Shakespeare

Beginnings: Shakespeare/Ibsen

Stephen Greenblatt opens his Shakespearean Negotiations with the famous declaration ‘I began with the desire to speak with the dead’ and goes on to suggest that this desire is a ‘familiar, if unvoiced, motive in literary studies’ (Greenblatt: 1990, p. 1), the central object of which are the textual traces left behind by past (often long-dead) writers. Not only is this, as Greenblatt says, the unvoiced motivation of literary critics: it is also to a very great extent the desire of writers themselves. Call it imitation, heteroglossia, dialogism, intertextuality, or re-writing, the conversations with the dead are everywhere in literature. The works of the twentieth-century avant-gardes, and especially of its writers, seem particularly informed by this desire to speak with the dead.

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