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Chapter 2 - William the Conqueror

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 December 2015

Paul Franssen
Affiliation:
Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Summary

Shakespeare as a figure of flesh and blood is a continental invention. The French author Alexandre Duval wrote a successful romantic comedy around Shakespeare as a lover in 1804, which reflected the meritocratic values of the French Revolution by showing Shakespeare outwitting his aristocratic rival for the hand of an actress. Duval’s play was staged in many European countries, and translated into many languages, spreading the idea of Shakespeare as an ardent lover even to places where Shakespeare’s own plays were barely known. German authors, in particular, such as Ludwig Tieck, took up the idea and began to write their own fictions about Shakespeare’s life, with considerably more knowledge of his historical background, and with an eye to their own cultural needs, stressing national unity and reconciliation between the aristocracy and the middle classes instead of the class struggle foregrounded by the French Revolution. Duval’s comedy was also adapted in two British plays of 1838, which pleaded for the patronage of the new Queen Victoria. Duval’s plot is also changed to reflect on tensions within the London theatrical world, between the legitimate and the minor theatres, and between actor-managers and playwrights.
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Shakespeare's Literary Lives
The Author as Character in Fiction and Film
, pp. 35 - 76
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

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  • William the Conqueror
  • Paul Franssen, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Book: Shakespeare's Literary Lives
  • Online publication: 18 December 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316410851.003
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  • William the Conqueror
  • Paul Franssen, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Book: Shakespeare's Literary Lives
  • Online publication: 18 December 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316410851.003
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • William the Conqueror
  • Paul Franssen, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Book: Shakespeare's Literary Lives
  • Online publication: 18 December 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316410851.003
Available formats
×