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6. Comic Violence and Human Suffering
About this Lecture
In the last lecture, Zurcher compares Marcus's bizarre ekphrastic description of Lavinia bleeding to the death of Bergetto in John Ford's later play, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. Both plays use the porous, puncturable body as a way of deflating tragic pretension, confounding generic integrity, and calling into question the idealism of tragic aesthetics.
In Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare's first tragedy, the fragmentation of sacrificed and mutilated bodies gives rise to a polyphony of dismemberment. Over the course of these six lectures, Andrew Zurcher explores how Shakespeare figures the fragmentation of flesh and limb; of literary sources and philosophical systems; of language and rhetoric; and of the genre of tragedy itself. Shakespeare's brash and violent play emerges from these lectures as a trenchant satire of time-honoured tragic conventions, a relentless critique of any attempt to dignify and aestheticise spectacles of violence.
Andrew work on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature, with a particular focus on the works of Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney, and William Shakespeare. His research to date has emphasised early modern legal history, Elizabethan colonial and military activity in Ireland, textual studies (including palaeography and manuscript studies), the sixteenth-century reception of Academic and Pyrrhonist epistemology, early modern secretarial practice, and the theory and practice of allegory in the sixteenth century. He is currently working on several editorial projects: (with Christopher Burlinson) an edition of Ralph Kenvet's 1635 A Supplement of the Faery Queene; several editions of the works of Edmund Spenser; and (with Anne Dunan Page) the letters of Sir Thomas Browne for a new Collected Works under the general care of Claire Preston. He is also editing sixteenth-century materials for OUP's Oxford Scholarly Editions Online project.
Cite this Lecture
Zurcher, A. (2018, August 15). Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus - Comic Violence and Human Suffering [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-titus-andronicus/comic-violence-and-human-suffering
Zurcher, A. "Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus – Comic Violence and Human Suffering." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-titus-andronicus/comic-violence-and-human-suffering