Undelivered Meanings

The Aesthetics of Shakespearean Wordplay
  • Mark Womack


Shakespeares exuberant punning has always posed something of a problem for literary critics. Critical suspicion of wordplay derives, I believe, from concerns about the dignity of literature and about the dignity of studying it for a living. In this essay I would like to demonstrate that thoughtful study of trivial punning is not only possible but essential to a full appreciation of literary art. Far from distancing myself from the potential frivolity of wordplay, I intend to embrace and celebrate it even to the point of pursuing something as odd and insubstantial as the undelivered pun.


Close Reading Literary Text Contemporary Critic Hanging Basket Thoughtful Study 
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© Mark David Rasmussen 2002

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  • Mark Womack

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