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Rejecting the Pale Companion: mythemes of immortality in and beyond William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Langdon, John Douglass (2017)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis presents a simultaneous academic and creative engagement with a specific set of mythemes that relate to immortality, both within and beyond William Shakespeare’s play, \(A\) \(Midsummer\) \(Night’s\) \(Dream\). As specific archetypal elements, these mythemes—the forest, the lovers, the immortals, the knave, and the child—reflect the human preoccupation with immortality in various ways. As Shakespeare’s only play where immortal characters repeatedly differentiate themselves from mortals, \(Dream\) provides an ideal touchstone for investigating how these mythemes characterize interactive presences that reflect immortality both within and beyond the boundaries of the play. Within the play, the mythemes function as characteristic but liminal presences, defining spaces within the play text in ways that aid and broaden \(Dream\)’s dramatic function. The simultaneous creative and academic approaches deliberately echo the multiple perspectives and worlds within the play, leaving spaces between the two contrasting perspectives in the thesis to further reflect \(Dream\)’s own generative spaces and further highlight the play’s central ideas of regeneration and renewal. Creative segments also offer a look inside world of the play’s immortal fairies, and how that world might suggest or deny human immortal potential.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Fernie, Ewan and House, Richard
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of English, Drama and American and Canadian Studies, The Shakespeare Institute and Department of English
Subjects:B Philosophy (General)
PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:7149
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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