Provincial Shakespeare: Donald Wolfit, Marginality, and The Merry Wives of Windsor

Marlow, Christopher (2020) Provincial Shakespeare: Donald Wolfit, Marginality, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Critical Survey, 32 (4). pp. 36-50. ISSN 0011-1570

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.3167/cs.2020.320404

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Abstract

With reference to aspects of the career of the twentieth-century actor-manager Donald Wolfit and the use of the concept of provincialism in English criticism, this article argues that idealist and universalist values are repeatedly valorised in order to devalue materialist and what might be called ‘provincial’ interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays. I pay attention to conditions of production of early modern drama in the sixteenth century, and to Wolfit’s Second World War performances of Shakespeare, the reception of which is offered as evidence for the persistence of a critical prejudice against what is understood as provincial marginality. The article concludes with a reading of The Merry Wives of Windsor that argues the play supports the provincial values that have so often been dismissed by critics.

Keywords:materialism, metropolitanism, moderation, nationalism, touring, universalism, wartime
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q322 English Literature by author
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q323 English Literature by topic
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:43228
Deposited On:11 Dec 2020 15:11

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