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French Reflections in the Shakespearean TragicThree Case Studies$
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Richard Hillman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719087172

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719087172.001.0001

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Nursing serpents: French ripples within and beyond the ‘Pembroke Circle’

Nursing serpents: French ripples within and beyond the ‘Pembroke Circle’

(p.94) 3 Nursing serpents: French ripples within and beyond the ‘Pembroke Circle’
French Reflections in the Shakespearean Tragic

Richard Hillman

Manchester University Press

At the centre of this chapter is Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, approached chiefly by way of several French dramatic precursors (Cléopâtre captive, by Étienne Jodelle; Marc Antoine, by Robert Garnier; Cléopâtre, by Nicolas de Montreux), but also through Plutarch’s Life, including Simon Goulart’s edition of the French translation by Jacques Amyot. With regard to the dramatic analogues, some direct connections with Shakespeare are made, but indirect links are also traced, notably through Samuel Daniel’s Cleopatra, which is more closely based on Jodelle than has been realised, and the translation of Garnier’s tragedy by Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, which is compared with the original in detail. A further French dramatic intertext proposed is the tragedy of Jeanne d’Arc by Jean de Virey, which develops a Roman analogy. The overall effect is to suggest the considerable ‘Frenchness’ of the textual heritage contributing to the Shakespearean tragedy.

Keywords:   Antony and Cleopatra, Cléopâtre captive, Cléopâtre, Étienne Jodelle, Robert Garnier, Nicolas de Montreux, Samuel Daniel, Mary Sidney Herbert, Plutarch, Simon Goulart

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