By Judith M. Kennedy, Richard F. Kennedy
This research strains the reaction to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from Shakespeare's day to the current, together with critics from Britain, Europe and the USA.
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Extra info for A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare, the Critical Tradition)
54 Five years later George Colman also lauded the 'imaginary Beings' endued 'with suitable Passions, Affections, Dispositions, allotting them at the same Time proper Employment'. He added, 'to body forth, by the Powers of Imagination, the Forms of Things unknown, and to give to airy Nothing a local Habitation and a Name, surely requires a Genius for the Drama . 55 More praise came from David Baker in his Companion to the Play-House (1764): 'This Play is one of the wild and irregular Overflowings of this great Author's creative Imagination'.
Such modest voices of reason are drowned out by the enthusiasm of Swinburne, 23 SHAKESPEARE: THE CRITICAL TRADITION whose own lyrical bent responded ecstatically to 'that all-heavenly poem', finding it the 'consummation' of the 'young genius of the master of all poets', 'surely the most beautiful work of man', 'above all possible or imaginable criticism' (No. 51 and headnote; No. 80). Some writers did attempt to exercise their critical faculties in more detailed examination of how Shakespeare achieved his lyrical effects.
29) is convinced that his own sensibility must represent audience reaction, finding Bottom's transformation 'intolerable to look upon: . . sense and understanding revolt at it', and Strachey (No. 34), despite his critical engagement with notions of the real and the fantastical, pleads against ever seeing it performed. Gervinus (No. 37) believes that the play could - and should - be performed in the right circumstances, but that those circumstances are far from being fulfilled. On the other hand, Heraud (No.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare, the Critical Tradition) by Judith M. Kennedy, Richard F. Kennedy