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Tricksters & estates : on the ideology of Restoration comedy /
J. Douglas Canfield.
imprint
Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, 1997.
description
xi, 315 p.
ISBN
0813120128 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, 1997.
isbn
0813120128 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
1103251
 
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1997-08:
While recognizing the importance of generic classifications and formal criticism of the drama, Canfield (Univ. of Arizona) develops another perspective, one based in cultural history. Informed by the cultural history of the Restoration, this study innovatively proposes a threefold classification of comedy, derived in large measure from its function: social comedy, which supports the Stuart ideology; subversive comedy, which undercuts it; and comical satire, which attacks it as immoral or amoral. This taxonomy allows the author to integrate analytical and comparative discussion of better-known (Behn, Wycherley, Dryden) and lesser-known (Orrery, Lacy, Rawlins) dramatists in ways heretofore unrecognized. By not relying on generic and formalist perspectives, Canfield enriches understanding of social, economic, political, and religious currents and countercurrents of cultural history and their presence in drama. A model of interdisciplinary interpretation, in which drama becomes a lively document not only shaped by cultural forces but also enacting cultural conflicts. Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above. A. C. Labriola; Duquesne University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A book which displays an incisive grasp of what is really at stake in Restoration comic plots and which soundly seeks to overturn the negligence of much of what was popularly performed during the Stuart reign." -- British Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies
"A book which displays an incisive grasp of what is really at stake in Restoration comic plots and which soundly seeks to overturn the negligence of much of what was popularly performed during the Stuart reign.-- British Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies" -- British Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies
"A book which displays an incisive grasp of what is really at state in Restoration comic plots and which soundly seeks to overturn the negligence of much of what was popularly performed during the Stuart reign." -- British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
"A book which displays an incisive grasp of what is really at state in Restoration comic plots and which soundly seeks to overturn the negligence of much of what was popularly performed during the Stuart reign.-- British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies" -- British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
"An excellent survey of the comedy of the period and serves a useful role in reminding us to keep our eyes not only on the money but on who gets the land." -- Seventeenth-Century News
"An excellent survey of the comedy of the period and serves a useful role in reminding us to keep our eyes not only on the money but on who gets the land.-- Seventeenth-Century News" -- Seventeenth-Century News
"By not relying on generic and formalist perspectives, Canfield enriches understanding of social, economic, political, and religious currents and countercurrents of cultural history and their presence in drama. A model of interdisciplinary interpretation." -- Choice
"By not relying on generic and formalist perspectives, Canfield enriches understanding of social, economic, political, and religious currents and countercurrents of cultural history and their presence in drama. A model of interdisciplinary interpretation.-- Choice" -- Choice
"Canfield has produced an important and impressive book, both in depth and in coverage." -- Kritikon Litterarum
"Canfield has produced an important and impressive book, both in depth and in coverage.-- Kritikon Litterarum" -- Kritikon Litterarum
"Canfield's use of genre, admirably, never seems like pigeonholing. He shows that these plays perform different sorts of cultural work, and his study uses the work each play does to locate it generically.-- 1650-1850" -- 1650-1850
"Canfield's use of genre, admirably, never seems like pigeonholing. He shows that these plays perform different sorts of cultural work, and his study uses the work each play does to locate it generically." -- 1650-1850
"Sharpens the focus with which we view the official comedies." -- Modern Philology
"Sharpens the focus with which we view the official comedies.-- Modern Philology" -- Modern Philology
"This ambitious book explores the relationship between Restoration comedy and concepts of power and cultural hegemony in late seventeenth-century England." -- Albion
"This ambitious book explores the relationship between Restoration comedy and concepts of power and cultural hegemony in late seventeenth-century England.-- Albion" -- Albion
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, August 1997
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Summaries
Main Description
" A Choice Outstanding Academic Book If the Renaissance was the Golden Age of English comedy, the Restoration was the Silver. These comedies are full of tricksters attempting to gain estates, the emblem and the reality of power in late feudal England. The tricksters appear in a number of guises, such as heroines landing their men, younger brothers seeking estates, or Cavaliers threatened with dispossession. The hybrid nature of these plays has long posed problems for critics, and few studies have attempted to deal with their diversity in a comprehensive way. Now one of the leading scholars of Restoration drama offers a cultural history of the period's comedy that puts the plays in perspective and reveals the ideological function they performed in England during the latter half of the seventeenth century. To explain this function, J. Douglas Canfield groups the plays into three categories: social comedy, which underwrites Stuart ideology; subversive comedy, which undercuts it; and comical satire, which challenges it as fundamentally immoral or amoral. Through play-by-play analysis, he demonstrates how most of the comedies support the ideology of the Stuart monarchs and the aristocracy, upholding what they regarded as their natural right to rule because of an innate superiority over all other classes. A significant minority of comedies, however, reveal cracks in class solidarity, portray witty heroines who inhabit the margins of society, or give voice to folk tricksters who embody a democratic force nearly capable of overwhelming class hierarchy. A smaller yet but still significant minority end in no resolution, no restoration, but, at their most radical, playfully portray Stuart ideology as empty rhetoric. Tricksters and Estates is a truly comprehensive work, offering serious critical readings of many plays that have never before received close attention and fresh insights into more familiar works. By juxtaposing the comedies of such lesser-known playwrights as Orrery, Lacy, and Rawlins with those of more familiar figures like Behn, Wycherley, and Dryden, the author invites a greater appreciation than has previously been possible of the meaning and function of Restoration comedy. This intelligent and wide-ranging study promises is a standard work in its field.
Unpaid Annotation
These comedies are full of tricksters attempting to gain estates, the emblem and the reality of power in late feudal England. The tricksters appear in a number of guises, such as heroines landing their men, younger brothers seeking estates, or Cavaliers threatened with dispossession.
Table of Contents
Preface
A Note on Texts
Introductionp. 1
Social Comedy
Nubile Tricksters Land Their Menp. 33
Mature Women Tricksters Man Their Landp. 45
Eligible Male Tricksters Get into the Deedp. 53
Some Tricksters Get Trickedp. 66
Town Tricksters Tup Their Rivals' Womenp. 75
Satiric Butts Get Disciplinedp. 97
Subversive Comedy
Town Tricksters Tup Each Other's Womenp. 123
Naughty Heroine Tricksters Get Away with Itp. 145
Male Folk Tricksters Erupt from Belowp. 159
Female Folk Tricksters Climb on Topp. 189
Comical Satire
Tricksters Scourge and Get Scourgedp. 213
Tricksters Get Blown about by the Windp. 233
Conclusionp. 249
Notesp. 255
Bibliographyp. 284
Indexp. 295
Index of Charactersp. 302
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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