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Why Does Tragedy Give Pleasure?: Why Does Tragedy Give Pleasure
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Why does tragedy give pleasure? Why do people who are neither wicked nor depraved enjoy watching plays about suffering or death? Is it because we see horrific matter controlled by majestic art? Or because tragedy actually reaches out to the dark side of human…
Dead From The Waist Down: Scholars And Scholarship In Literature And The Popular Imagination
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At the end of the sixteenth century, scholars and intellectuals were seen as Faustian magicians, dangerous and sexy. By the nineteenth century, they were perceived as dusty and dried up, “dead from the waist down,” as Browning so wickedly put it. In…
The Alternative Trinity: Gnostic Heresy in Marlowe, Milton, and Blake
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The Trinity of orthodox Christianity is harmonious. The Trinity for Blake is, conspicuously, not a happy family: the Father and the Son do not get on. It might be thought that so cumbersome a notion is inconceivable before the rise of Romanticism but the Ophite…
Shakespeare the Thinker
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|April 1, 2008

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"A close reading of the plays that tries to map the creases and folds in Shakespeare's mysterious, elusive brain."— New York Times Book Review A. D. Nuttall’s study of Shakespeare’s intellectual preoccupations is a literary tour de…
Openings: Narrative Beginnings from the Epic to the Novel
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What is the difference between a natural beginning and the beginning of a story? Some deny that there are any beginnings in nature, except perhaps for the origin of the universe itself, suggesting that elsewhere we have only a continuum of events, into which…