364 Pages
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Kenneth Burke on Shakespeare


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364 Pages


This volume gathers and annotates all of the Shakespeare criticism, including previously unpublished notes and lectures, by the maverick American intellectual Kenneth Burke (1897–1993). Burke’s interpretations of Shakespeare have had an impressive influence on important lines of contemporary scholarship; playwrights and directors have been stirred by his dramaturgical investigations; and many readers outside academia have enjoyed his ingenious dissections of what makes a play function. Burke’s intellectual project continually engaged with Shakespeare’s works, and Burke’s writings on Shakespeare, in turn, have had an immense impact on generations of readers. Carefully edited and annotated, with helpful cross-references, Burke’s fascinating interpretations of Shakespeare remain challenging, provocative, and accessible. Read together, these pieces form an evolving argument about the nature of Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Included are thirteen analyses of individual plays and poems, an introductory lecture explaining his approach to reading Shakespeare, and a substantial appendix of hundreds of Burke’s other references to Shakespeare. Scott L. Newstok also provides a historical introduction and an account of Burke’s legacy. Burke’s enduring familiarity with Shakespeare likely helped shape his own theory of dramatism, an ambitious elaboration of the teatrum mundi conceit. Burke is renowned for his landmark 1951 essay on Othello, which wrestles with concerns still relevant to scholars more than a half century later; his ingenious ventriloquism of Mark Antony’s address over Caesar’s body has likewise found a number of appreciative readers, as have (albeit less frequently) his many other essays on the playwright. Burke’s first and final pieces of literary criticism both examine Shakespearean plays, thereby bookending an impressive, career-long contribution to the field of Shakespeare studies. Among the many major Shakespearean critics who have gratefully acknowledged Burke’s influence are Paul Alpers, Harold Bloom, Stanley Cavell, René Girard, Stephen Greenblatt, and Patricia Parker.



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Published 13 December 2006
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EAN13 9781602350045
Language English
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Kenneth BurKe ShaKeSpeare on edITEd bY ScOTT L. nEwsTOk
Kennet Burke on Sakespeare
Parlor Press books by Kennet Burke
Letters from Kennet Burke to William H. Rueckert, 1959–1987 edited by William H. Rueckert ()
Essays Toward a Symbolic of Motives, 1950–1955edited by William H. Rueckert ()
Kennet Burke on Sakespeare edited by Scott L. Newstok ()
Equipment for Living: Te Literary Reviews of Kennet Burkeedited by Nataniel Rivers and Ryan Weber ()
Kennet Burke on Sakespeare
Edited by Scott L. Newstok
Parlor Press West Lafayette, Indiana www.parlorpress.com
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  by Parlor Press All rigts reserved. Printed in te United States of America
S A N:    -    
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Burke, Kennet, -.  Kennet Burke on Sakespeare / edited by Scott L. Newstok.  p. cm.  Includes bibliograpical references (p. ) and index.  ISBN ---- (acid-free paper) -- ISBN ---- (pbk. : acid-free paper) -- ISBN ---- (Adobe ebook) . Sakespeare, William, ---Criticism and interpretation. I. New-stok, Scott L., - II. Title.  PR.B   .’--dc  
Cover design by David Blakesley. Cover illustration: “Kennet Burke” by Taylor Jones.  , by Parlor Press. Printed on acid-free paper.
Parlor Press, LLC is an independent publiser of scolarly and trade ti-tles in print and multimedia formats. Tis book is available in paper, clot and Adobe eBook formats from Parlor Press on te World Wide Web at ttp://parlorpress.com or troug online and brick-and mortar bookstores. For submission information or to find out about Parlor Press publications, write to Parlor Press,  Robinson St., West Lafayette, Indiana, , or e-mail editor@parlorpress.com.
Acknowledgments Editor’s Introduction:  Renewing Kennet Burke’s “plea for te Sakespearean drama”Notes on te Text Introduction: Sakespeare Was Wat?  Psycology and Form [Hamlet]  Trial Translation (fromTwelft Nigt)  Antony in Bealf of te Play [Julius Caesar]  Imagery  ‘Socio-anagogic’ Interpretation ofVenus and Adonis Otello: An Essay to Illustrate a Metod Timon of Atensand Misantropic Gold  Sakespearean Persuasion:Antony and Cleopatra Coriolanus—and te Deligts of Faction King Lear: Its Form and Psycosis  Notes onTroilus and Cressida  WyA Midsummer Nigt’s Dream?  Notes onMacbet Appendix: Additional References to Sakespeare in Burke’s Writings Notes Index of Works by Sakespeare General IndexAbout te Autor and Editor
xvii li 3 21 33 38 49 56 65 101 113 129 150 166 172 187
211 267 295 297 308
A writer suc as Burke wo insists tat a critic sould “use all tat is tere to use” presents quite an editorial task, and I ave muc gratitude to sare wit tose wo contributed to te completion of tis volume. It’s been a long time in te making—Burke imself first envisioned “pulling togidda” is materials on Sakespeare in . Let me begin to give tanks by recounting a sort of genealogy of tis edition. Upon reflection, Burke’s been a companion in my intellec-tual life since ig scool, wen Tim Blackburn was a kind of Burkean avatar for me, as Scott Samuelson would later be at Grinnell College. I believe tat I first read Burke’s “Literature as Equipment for Living” at te recommendation of Jim Diedrick at te Newberry Library; sortly tereafter, Ellen Mease sagely suggested Burke’sCoriolanusessay in a tu-torial on retoric. I don’t recall Burke aving been assigned in graduate scool; more often, mutual appreciation would be discovered in passing conversations wit friends suc as Ayanna Tompson, Caterine Toal, and Daniel Williams, or wit professors suc as Stanley Cavell, Marjorie Garber, Jon Guillory, Marc Sell, and Helen Vendler. It migt ave been Scott McLemee’s  article on te resurgence of Burke studies tat motivated me to contemplate tis edition (te tantalizingly apoc-rypal Burke-Sakespeare volume was mentioned tere), and Scott was very encouraging in subsequent excanges. Dennis Kezar, Bill Engel, and Garrett Sullivan all offered useful feedback on te initial book proposal. As soon as e saw it, David Blakesley jumped on tat proposal, tereby committing imself to years of extensive editorial guidance. David’s been crucial in elping me tink troug te scope of tis project, smooting te permissions process, and getting me in touc wit key figures in te world of Burke. Most significantly, tese figures include Micael and Antony Burke of te Kennet Burke Literary Trust, wo quickly ap-proved of te proposed volume, and ave since continued to be generous wit teir time, as well as wit access to teir fater’s manuscripts. Paul Alpers as sared ongoing critical encouragement across many stages of
te volume’s progress. Gustavus Adolpus College awarded a number of grants tat permitted me to work alongside my sarp students Britta Jonson, Will Sutor, Kate Neely, Erica Hedstrom, and Paul Carlson; to-geter, tey all did te fundamental work of transcribing, editing, and proofing tese essays, along wit elping me to contemplate te poten-tially multiple purposes and audiences of tis volume. Katie Martin at Gustavus was invaluable in obtaining numerous ILL items neces-sary for te annotations. I ave benefited greatly from te Yale Special Collections Andrew W. Mellon Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellowsip, and ave Alice Procaska to tank for tis. Te Yale University Library as elped pay for te various permissions associated wit tese gat-ered materials, and Micael Colavolpe, Debbie McGraw, and Tatyana Kagan efficiently processed my requests. At Yale, Harold Bloom, Leslie Brisman, and Geoffrey Hartman gave me late guidance in my reflections on Burke; te Beinecke Library first opened my eyes to wat kind of a correspondent Burke was. My pilgrimage to te Penn State University Special Collections was made all te more pleasant by te staff tere; Sandy Stelts and Jeannette Sabre were quite elpful about introducing me to teir collection, and bot continued to prove generous consultants from afar. Jack Selzer let me sit in on is PSU Burke seminar as well as bounce a number of tougts off of im. My introductory essay received elpful feedback from Sara Newstok, Scott Samuelson, Dennis Kezar, Mattew Greenfield, Paul Alpers, Edward Pecter, R. A. Foakes, Tim Blackburn, Kim Hastings, Kivmars Bowling, Andrew Davidson, and an anonymous reviewer for Parlor Press. Te pre-publication of Burke’s A Midsummer Nigt’s Dreamlecture inSakespeare Quarterlycame about troug conversations wit Micael Neill and Gail Kern Paster, as well as te approval of David Blakesley and Micael and Antony Burke. Te assiduous editorial staff atSakespeare Quarterly—wic includ-ed Barbara Mowat, Liz Poland, Solvei Robertson, and, in particular, Mimi Godfrey—raised important questions about editing tat lecture, wic in turn elped me in my final polising of tis project. Stepen Crook guided me to some late discoveries at Te Berg Collection of Englis and American Literature, Te New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.  Weter for agreeing to permissions, responding to my minute inquiries, offering me general encouragement, or some combination tereof (and many of tose already listed above fit tis description as well), oters wom I gratefully acknowledge include: Alan Pierpoint; Alice Dailey; Alice Essenpreis; Andrew Dubois; Andrew Parker; Andrzej Warminski; Andy Brown; Angel Vu; Angela Bazydlo; Ann-Marie
Scott L. Newstok
Gronovd; Antony Tatlow; Artur Kirsc; Barbara Hernnstein Smit; Barbara Lamar; Barry O’Connell; Ben Hart; Ben Yagoda; Benedict Giamo; Bette Gares; Bob Wite; Brenda Macon; Brent Nelson; Brian Wals; Bronwen Wickkiser; Bryan Reynolds; Carl Ploss; Carol Cristiansen; Carol Cole; Carol Lawrence; Carol Mejia-Laperle; Casey Elledge; Catryn Kenzel; Carles Musser; Carles Peek; Cristina Elias; Cristina Rago; Cristine Smit; Cristoper Ricks; Cristy Desmet; Clarke Rountree; Claude Brew; Clifford Geertz; D. W. Krummel; Daniel Morgan; Darrell Jodock; David Frankel; David Laibman; David L. Lewis; Debora Holdstein; Denis Donogue; Denise Robertson; Dennis Palmore; Diane Newstrom; Don Burks; Douglas Bruster; Drew Loewe; Dudley Andrew; Edward Pixley; Elaine Cinelli; Elizabet Knowles; Emma Smit; Emiliano Battista; Eric Eliason; Erika Dowell; Fiona Peteram; Florian Bucer; Sir Frank Kermode; Franco Moretti; Gabriel Egan; Gail Malmgreen; Garrett McCutcan; George Core; Gerard Weinberg; Giovanna P. Del Negro; Göran Stockenström; Graam Davidson; Gregory Loy; Habiba Alcindor; Harold Toliver; Harris M. Berger; Harry Berger, Jr.; Heater Jackson; Helen Rozier; Henry S. Turner; Ingrid de Boor; Iris Snyder; Isaac Gewirtz; J. B. Beer; Jacque Roetler; James J. Barnes; James Cesebro; James Engell; James Naremore; James Olney; James Williams; Janet Sample; Jennifer Harris; Jenny Tollefson; Jim Harner; Jim Mays; Joan Waiser; Jonatan Goldberg; Jonatan Gil Harris; Jon Andrews; Jon Erickson; Jon Haffenden; Jon Lillis; Jon Mackay; Jon Newstrom; Jon Pickard; Josua Kotin; Joyce Sutpen; Julia Prest; Julia Reinard Lupton; Julian Markels; Julie Howland; Julie Wittaker; Kara Hobson; Kate Hamill; Katarine Liu; Katerine Ibbett; Katerine Rowe; Katleen Canavan; Katleen Kluegel; Katleen Morgan; Katlene Ferris; Kembrew McLeod; Kennet Gross; Kevin Egan; Larry Manley; Laurence Coupe; Lawrence Ru; Lee Poague; Linda Gert; Linda Seckelson; Linda Stanke; Lisa Savage; Loren Hansen; Louisa Sea; Lowell Gallager; Luca Maria Scarantino; Lynn Conway; Lynn Leec; Marcie Bianco; Margaret Criscuola; Margot Landa Kielorn; Margot Studts; Mariangela Tempera; Marissa Wold; Mark Braun; Martin Pucner; Mary Ausman; Mary E. MacNeil; Mary J. Muratore; Meg Galipault; Megan O’Neill; Mercedes Diaz; Micael Anderegg; Micael Cavanag; Micael Denning; Micael Nas; Micael Ricards; Micelle Harvey; Mona Ross; Muriel Keyes; Myron Kolatc; Oceana Wilson; Pamela Jordan; Patricia Fumerton; Patricia Parker; Paul Berry; Paul King; Perry Cartwrigt; Peter Brooks; Peter Marsall; Pyllis Rackin; Racel Kotok; Ramie Targoff; Randy Bixby; Ray Privett; Rebecca Fremo-Taylor; Rebecca Heisman; Rebecca Moss;
Ricard Burt; Ricard Halpern; Ricard Helgerson; Ricard Lanam; Ricard McCoy; Ricard Strier; Robert Fogarty; Roger Gross; Roger McKnigt; Roland Torstensson; Rosalyn Collings Eves; Rose Robinson; Rosemary Aston; Roy Foster; Russ McDonald; Russell Sapiro; Rut Tellis; Sabine Jell-Balsen; Sandra Costic; Sara King; Scott Peeples; Scott Taylor; Scott Wible; Sannon Bond; Simon Palfrey; Sonya McDonald; Stacey Salling; Stepen Greenblatt; Fater Stepen C. Rowan; Steven Mailloux; Steven Marx; Sue Elkevizt; Susan Allan; Suzanne Bergmiller; Suzanne Toczyski; T. Scott McMillin; Taylor Jones; Teresa Gray; Terri Torretto; Teodore Leinwand; Tiffany Stern; Tim Lloyd; Timoty Crusius; Timoty Young; Tobie Baker; Todd Gilman; Toni Dorfman; Tony Mitura; Tracy McDonald; Valerie Jonson; Vanessa Witing; Virginia Mason Vaugan; W. B. Worten; Warwick Gould; Wayne Furman; Weldon Duram; Wes Davis; William Pritcard; William Serman; Wlad Godzic; Yessenia Santos; Yvonne Bruce; and te KB, NASSR, and SHAKSPER list-servs. In spite of tis unusually long list of people to wom I am indebted, all te expected caveats about responsibility for any errors resting wit me still, alas, old. I sould like to dedicate my editorial and introductory work in tis volume to Scott Samuelson wom I ave always considered a leaping Burke to my plodding Cowley.
Te essays collected in tis volume are gatered from a wide range of publications. We gratefully acknowledge permissions and record first ap-pearances of material from te following sources.
“Sakespeare Was Wat?” as not been previously publised.   Te Kennet Burke Literary Trust. Henry Rago’s “Te Promis-ing,” Section VI,A Sky of Late Summer(New York: Macmillan, ),  ; reprinted by permission of Cristina Rago and te Estate of Henry Rago. All rigts reserved. “Psycology and Form” first appeared inDial Te   (July ): –. Reprinted fromCounter-Statement  Regents of te Uni-versity of California. Publised by te University of California Press. “Trial Translation (fromTwelft Nigt)” first appeared inTe New Englis Weekly (February ): –. Reprinted from (London)