Appropriating Shakespeare

A Cultural History of Pyramus and Thisbe

By (author) Louise Geddes

Hardback - £72.00

Publication date:

05 April 2017

Length of book:

154 pages


Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

ISBN-13: 9781683930440

Appropriating Shakespeare: A Cultural History of Pyramus and Thisbe argues that the vibrant, transformative history of Shakespeare’s play-within-a-play from A Midsummer Night’s Dream across four centuries allows us to see the way in which Shakespeare is used to both create and critique emergent cultural trends. Because of its careful distinction between “good” and “bad” art, Pyramus and Thisbe’s playful meditation on the foolishness of over-reaching theatrical ambition is repeatedly appropriated by artists seeking to parody contemporary aesthetics, resulting in an ongoing assessment of Shakespeare’s value to the time. Beginning with the play’s own creation as an appropriation of Ovid, designed to keep the rowdy clown in check, Appropriating Shakespeare is a wide-ranging study that charts Pyramus and Thisbe’s own metamorphosis through opera, novel, television, and, of course, theatre. This unique history illustrates Pyramus and Thisbe’s ability to attract like-minded, experimental, genre-bending artists who use the text as a means of exploring the value of their own individual craft. Ultimately, what this history reveals is that, in excerpt, Pyramus and Thisbe affirms the place of artist as both consumer and producer of Shakespeare.