Advertisement

Comedy, the Senses, and Social Contagion in Plays Confuted in Five Actions and The Comedy of Errors

  • Jennie VotavaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)

Abstract

Votava’s analysis of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors and Gosson’s Plays Confuted in Five Actions shows how both works understand sensation as a contagious process integral to theater. For Gosson, theater is a contagious disease, which infects the mind by means of the senses. The Comedy of Errors appropriates antitheatrical rhetoric of sensory contagion to demonstrate how theater, especially comedy, forges positive human connections.

Works Cited

  1. Barish, Jonah. The Antitheatrical Prejudice. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  2. Brooks, Harold F. “Themes and Structures in The Comedy of Errors.” In Miola, Critical Essays, 71–91.Google Scholar
  3. Burton, Robert. The Anatomy of Melancholy. Edited by Holbrook Jackson. New York: New York Review of Books, 2001.Google Scholar
  4. Carroll, William C. The Metamorphoses of Shakespearean Comedy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  5. Chalk, Darryl. “Contagious Emulation: Antitheatricality and Theater as Plague in Troilus and Cressida.” In This Earthly Stage: World and Stage in Late Medieval and Early Modern England, edited by Brett D. Hirsch and Christopher Wortham, 75–101. Turnhout: Brepols, 2010.Google Scholar
  6. ———. “‘To Creep in at Mine Eyes’: Theatre and Secret Contagion in Twelfth Night.” In Rapt in Secret Studies: Emerging Shakespeares, edited by Darryl Chalk and Laurie Johnson, 171–194. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2010.Google Scholar
  7. Classen, Albrecht, ed. Laughter in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2010.Google Scholar
  8. Finkelstein, Richard. “The Comedy of Errors and the Theology of Things.” SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 52, no. 2 (2012): 325–344.Google Scholar
  9. Floyd-Wilson, Mary. Occult Knowledge, Science, and Gender on the Shakespearean Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.Google Scholar
  10. Freedman, Barbara. Staging the Gaze: Postmodernism, Psychoanalysis, and Shakespearean Comedy. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  11. Gaynes, Robert. Germ Theory: Medical Pioneers in Infectious Disease. Washington, DC: ASM Press, 2011.Google Scholar
  12. Gosson, Stephen. Schoole of Abuse. London: 1579.Google Scholar
  13. ———. Playes Confuted in Fiue Actions. London: 1582.Google Scholar
  14. Greenblatt, Stephen. Introduction to The Comedy of Errors, by William Shakespeare, in The Norton Shakespeare, 687. General editor Stephen Greenblatt. New York: Norton, 1997.Google Scholar
  15. Harris, Jonathan Gil. “Syphilis and Trade: Thomas Starkey, Thomas Smith, The Comedy of Errors.” In Sick Economies: Drama, Mercantilism, and Disease in Shakespeare’s England, 29–51. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  16. Harvey, Elizabeth, ed. Sensible Flesh: On Touch in Early Modern Culture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.Google Scholar
  17. ———. “Introduction: ‘The Sense of All Senses.’” In Harvey, Sensible Flesh, 1–21.Google Scholar
  18. Healy, Margaret. “Anxious and Fatal Contacts: Taming the Contagious Touch.” In Harvey, Sensible Flesh, 22–38.Google Scholar
  19. Hobgood, Allison P. Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  20. Kinney, Arthur. Markets of Bawdrie: The Dramatic Criticism of Stephen Gosson. Salzburg: University of Salzburg, 1974.Google Scholar
  21. ———. “Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors and the Nature of Kinds” In Miola, Critical Essays, 155–181.Google Scholar
  22. Lanier, Douglas. “‘Stigmatical in Making: the Material Character of The Comedy of Errors.” In Miola, Critical Essays, 299–334.Google Scholar
  23. Lehnhof, Kent R. “Profeminism in Sidney’s Apologie for Poetrie.” SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 48, no. 1 (2008): 23–43.Google Scholar
  24. ———. “Ships That Do Not Sail: Antinauticalism, Antitheatricalism, and Irrationality in Stephen Gosson.” Renaissance Drama 42, no. 1 (2014): 91–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Levin, Harry. Introduction to The Comedy of Errors, by William Shakespeare, xxxvi–xxxvii. New York: Penguin, 1965.Google Scholar
  26. Lindberg, David. Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976.Google Scholar
  27. Mazzio, Carla. “Acting with Tact: Touch and Theater in the Renaissance.” In Harvey, Sensible Flesh, 159–186.Google Scholar
  28. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. The Visible and the Invisible. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  29. Miola, Robert S., ed. The Comedy of Errors: Critical Essays. New York: Garland, 1997.Google Scholar
  30. Munro, Ian. The Figure of the Crowd in Early Modern London. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.Google Scholar
  31. Nevo, Ruth. Comic Transformations in Shakespeare. London: Methuen, 1980.Google Scholar
  32. O’Connell, Michael. The Idolatrous Eye: Iconoclasm and Theater in Early Modern England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.Google Scholar
  33. Pantin, Isabelle. “Fracastoro’s De Contagione and Medieval Reflection on ‘Action at a Distance.’” In Imagining Contagion in Early Modern Europe, edited by Claire L. Carlin, 3–15. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.Google Scholar
  34. Parker, Patricia. Shakespeare from the Margins. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  35. Paster, Gail Kern, Katherine Rowe, and Mary Floyd-Wilson, eds. Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  36. Perry, Curtis. “Commerce, Community, and Nostalgia in The Comedy of Errors.” In Money and the Age of Shakespeare: Essays in New Economic Criticism, edited by Linda Woodbridge, 39–51. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.Google Scholar
  37. Pollard, Tanya. Shakespeare’s Theater: A Sourcebook. Malden: Blackwell, 2004.Google Scholar
  38. Ringer, William. Stephen Gosson: A Biographical and Critical Study. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1942.Google Scholar
  39. Rivlin, Elizabeth. “Theatrical Literacy in The Comedy of Errors and the ‘Gesta Grayorum.’” Critical Survey 14, no. 1 (2002): 64–78.Google Scholar
  40. Roach, Joseph. The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  41. Rowe, Katherine. “Humoral Knowledge and Liberal Cognition in Davenant’s Macbeth.” In Paster, Early Modern Passions, 169–191.Google Scholar
  42. Sénéchal, Héloïse. “The Antitheatrical Criticism of Stephan Gosson.” Literature Compass 1 (2004): 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Edited by David Bevington. 7th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2014.Google Scholar
  44. Sidney, Philip. The Defence of Poesy, Sir Philip Sidney: The Major Works. Edited by Katherine Duncan Jones. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  45. Steggle, Matthew. Laughter and Weeping in Early Modern Theatres. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.Google Scholar
  46. Van Elk, Martine. “‘This Sympathized One Day’s Error’: Genre, Representation, and Subjectivity in The Comedy of Errors.” Shakespeare Quarterly 60, no. 1 (2009): 47–72.Google Scholar
  47. Waldron, Jennifer. “Gaping Upon Plays: Shakespeare, Gosson, and the Reformation of Vision.” Critical Matrix 12 (March 31, 2001): 48–77.Google Scholar
  48. Zajac, Paul Joseph. “The Politics of Contentment: The Passions, Pastoral, and Community in Shakespeare’s As You Like It.” Studies in Philology 113, no. 2 (2016), 306–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Allegheny CollegeMeadvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations