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Cover Art
Author Kronenfeld, Judy.

Title King Lear and the naked truth : rethinking the language of religion and resistance / Judy Kronenfeld.

Published Durham : Duke University Press, 1998.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  822.33 T4 KRON    AVAILABLE
Physical description xi, 383 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages [343]-365) and index.
Contents Introduction: History, Language, and Postmodern Criticism of the Renaissance -- I. Theory and Semantic Field. 1. Comely Apparel and the Naked Truth: Metaphor and Common Christian Culture. 2. Nakedness and Clothing in Controversy about the Eucharist: Anxiety about Representation? 3. Constraints and Freedom: Extensionist Semantics and Its Implications for Criticism. 4. The Perils of Taking Sides: Literary Interpretation of the Naked and the Clothed -- II. Cultural Thematics. 5. The Plain Heart according to Her Bond: Sociopolitical Readings and Family Relationships. 6. I'll Teach You Differences: Hierarchy, Pomp, Service, Authority. 7. So Distribution Should Undo Excess, and Each Man Have Enough: Anabaptist Egalitarianism, Anglican Charity, Both, Neither? 8. Robes and Furr'd Gowns Hide All: Mock Trials and Assaults on Justice -- Conclusion: Political Interpretation versus Dramatic Verisimilitude and Shared Moral Values.
Summary Taking King Lear as her central text, Judy Kronenfeld seriously questions the critical assumptions of much of today's most fashionable Shakespeare scholarship. Charting a new course beyond both New Historicist and more radically deconstructionist critics, she suggests a theory of language and interpretation that provides essential historical and linguistic contexts for the key terms and concepts of the play. Opening the play up to the implications of these contexts and this interpretive theory, she reveals much about Lear, English Reformation religious culture, and the state of contemporary criticism.
Kronenfeld's focus expands from the text of Shakespeare's play to a discussion of a shared Christian culture -- a shared language and set of values -- a common discursive field that frames the social ethics of the play. That expanded focus is used to address the multiple ways that clothing and nakedness function in the play, as well as the ways that these particular images and terms are understood in that shared context. As Kronenfeld moves beyond Lear to uncover the complex resonances of clothing and nakedness in sermons, polemical tracts, legislation, rhetoric, morality plays, and actual or alleged practices such as naked revolts by Anabaptists and the Adamians' ritual disrobing during religious services, she demonstrates that many key terms and concepts of the period cannot be tied to a single ideology. Instead, they represent part of an intricate network of thought shared by people of seemingly opposite views, and it is within such shared cultural networks that dissent, resistance, and creativity can emerge.
Warning her readers not to take the language of literary texts out of thelinguistic context within which it first appeared, Kronenfeld has written a book that will interest scholars of literary and cultural criticism, early modern history, semantics, and the work of William Shakespeare.
Subject Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. King Lear.
Lear, King of England (Legendary character) -- In literature.
English language -- Early modern, 1500-1700 -- Semantics.
Christianity and literature -- England -- History.
Literature and history -- England -- History.
Language and culture -- England -- History.
Dissenters, Religious, in literature.
Social ethics in literature.
Clothing and dress in literature.
Nudity in literature.
ISBN 082232038X (paperback: alk. paper)
0822320274 (alk. paper)