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Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida: visualising expectations as a matter of taste

Gregory, Johann 2012. Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida: visualising expectations as a matter of taste. Shakespeare et les arts de la table, Vol. 29. Société Française Shakespeare, pp. 47-66. (10.4000/shakespeare.1705)

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Abstract

W .R. Elton explains that Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida has “been estimated [to contain] twice as many images of food, cooking and related matters as in any other of its author’s works”. This may seem surprising, until we realise that the play utilises the language of food to create a poetics of expectation and taste. Although Thersites’ performances are figured as a “cheese” to aid Achilles’ “digestion” that should be “served in to [his] table”, on the whole the drama is actually not consumed immediately by the audience. Rather, in a confusion of the senses, food becomes a visual metaphor for thinking an audience’s appetite for a play and other matters of taste. The audience is invited to watch Troilus and Cressida as a monster that eats up, in its jaws, the notion of chivalry and “glorious deeds” that past versions of the story – in epic and romance – had been so keen to emphasise; it is these past traditions, the prologue promises, which “may be digested in a play”. The paper seeks to discover whether the play leaves us with “fragments, scraps, the bits, and greasy relics” of past literature, or if Shakespeare was cooking up something else.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Publisher: Société Française Shakespeare
ISBN: 2952147582
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 April 2017
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 04:30
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/100123

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