Canonical States, Canonical Stages

Canonical States, Canonical Stages: Oedipus, Othering, and Seventeenth-Century Drama

MITCHELL GREENBERG
Copyright Date: 1994
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 264
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttst53
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  • Book Info
    Canonical States, Canonical Stages
    Book Description:

    "Greenberg offers a powerful interpretation of the classical stage in its relationship to the emergence of absolutism in Europe....The originality and strength of the book reside in its fascinating integration of texts dealing with political theory, psychoanalysis, history, and literature....This book is one of the most important contributions to date on the study of the European classical stage." --Marie-Hélène Huet, University of Virginia

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8576-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. A Note on Translations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xvii-xi)

    Something happened in the seventeenth century. Some things in this particularly conflicted period radically altered the ways in which human subjectivity was created and internalized to produce what in our late twentieth century we have come to call “modernity.” We like to attribute to this phenomenon various and often contradictory inflections, but it now seems fairly certain that there was a “crisis of the seventeenth century,” a crisis that was revolutionary and that was marked, most significantly for our purposes at least by an altering of subjective sensibility.¹

    Despite the differences of religion, geography, and economic and political structures, the...

  6. Chapter 1 Shakespeare’s Othello and the “Problem” of Anxiety
    (pp. 1-32)

    Perhaps more than any other of Shakespeare’s major tragedies,Othelloresists interpretation. As drama it remains recalcitrant to any schema that by enfolding it within a particular analytic frame would confine it. The violence, the horror, and the pathos ofOthellobreak the ties binding it to the interpretive act and return the reader/spectator to the whirling abyss, to the turmoil the play at once most fears and yet desires. It is, of course,Othello’stremulous flirtation with chaos, with, that is, its fear of and attraction to the loss of limits, the suppression of those boundaries, be they ever...

  7. Chapter 2 Fuenteovejuna: The Ideology of Loss and the Myth of History
    (pp. 33-62)

    Spain, as they say, is different. For almost two centuries this difference shocked and dazzled her rival nations of Europe as Spaniards burst from their homeland to colonize a large portion of the recently discovered “new world.” The wealth and energy of these discoveries fueled Spanish political and economic hegemony on the European continent: in the sixteenth century, the Spanish Hapsburgs presided over Europe’s most powerful military apparatus during a period of momentous epistemic change. Nevertheless, by the first decades of the seventeenth century, despite all the attempts to check it, the signs of the decline of Spanish military, political,...

  8. Chapter 3 La vida es sueño: Patriarchy’s Sacrifice
    (pp. 63-89)

    Of the two most cherished works of the Hispanic canon, works that, we are told, are both quintessentially Spanish and yet universal, one, Cervantes’sDon Quijote,narrates the peregrinations of its eponymous hero across the length and breadth of the harsh landscape of central Spain, and the other, Calderón’sLa vida es sueño,unfolds in a never-never land that the play calls Poland.¹ At first glance this apparent contradiction between the foreign setting and the “national” character of the play should not strike us as any more incongruous than, for instance, Shakespeare’s Venice, Corneille’s Rome, or Racine’s Greece. Nevertheless, despite...

  9. Chapter 4 Playing Dead: Corneille’s Canon and Absolute Tragedy
    (pp. 90-134)

    The annals of dramaturgy generally acknowledge that in the space of less than ten years (1636-44) Pierre Corneille radically altered the focus and direction of French tragedy. Despite the obvious debts to his French and Spanish predecessors and despite an entire century of Italian neoclassicist theorizing, whenLe Cidwas first produced in Paris at the end of 1636 the emergence of a new and vigorous talent was immediately apparent.¹ Breaking dramatically with the past, Corneille began by imposing a novel theatrical subjectivity on the stage of European representation. This subjectivity, which was finding at the same moment its philosophical...

  10. Chapter 5 Racine’s Bérénice and the Allegory of Absolutism
    (pp. 135-164)

    IsBéréniceRacine’s most radical tragedy? This question may at first appear egregious, especially when we cast an eye over the tragic arena of the Racinian universe only to shudder at the perverse sadomasochism ofBritannicus,to be transfixed by the incandescent passion ofPhédre, or to remain frozen in horror by the matricidal fury ofAlhalie. In the Racinian world of monstrosity, perversion, and sacrifice,Bérénicé’srejection of blood and death, its turning away from what for many is the “truly tragic,” and thus its relinquishing, at a crucial moment not only in Racine’s literary itinerary but in the...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 165-212)
  12. Index
    (pp. 213-218)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 219-219)