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Shakespeare and the Idea of the Book$
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Charlotte Scott

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212101

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212101.001.0001

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‘Rather like a dream than an assurance’: The Tempest and the Book of Illusions

‘Rather like a dream than an assurance’: The Tempest and the Book of Illusions

Chapter:
(p.157) 6 ‘Rather like a dream than an assurance’: The Tempest and the Book of Illusions
Source:
Shakespeare and the Idea of the Book
Author(s):

Charlotte Scott (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212101.003.0006

William Shakespeare’s The Tempest does not support an inclusive attitude to the book; nor does it engage the audience or the play-world in a reciprocal relationship with the book. In Shakespeare’s plays, the book, material or metaphorical, is almost always manifest in relationship to the stage, enlarging or reducing our understanding of its presence beyond the requisites of the drama. Prospero’s books, however, do not appear to exist beyond the limits and imagination of the scaffold; yet that is where they reside for the duration of the play. The paradox of these books is that they cannot visually support the illusions they claim to sustain. Prospero’s books offer an image of the world through which The Tempest will move, but they also deny us a vision of that world. What we see instead is the illusion of order and the chaos of art.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, book, metaphors, drama, plays, The Tempest, illusion, chaos, order

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