Teaching Cenci

 I recently taught Shelley’s play The Cenci for this course at the University of Washington. It struck me as “unstageable” for the same reasons it did so for the play’s early readers: the sexual episodes are too extreme for the (especially late-Romantic) stage, and the characters deliver exhausting monologues that would bore any live audience. Besides, the language is to full, so intellectual, that hearing it spoken by an actor, one loses half of the meaning. I know, Shakespeare managed to write just as rewardingly for the page and for the stage, but then, he was Shakespeare, wasn’t he? 

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ICR: Shelley Among the Ruins of Language

So should we save an absence? Should we save the void and this nothingness at the heart of the image? -Jean Baudrilliard

Last month, I flew down to Phoenix to give a paper at ASU staged by the International Conference on Romanticism, on the broad topic of "Catastrophes." I've attended the ICR once before, when it was held at Oakland University in Rochester, MI, and had a collegial and intellectually-rewarding time, and was eager to find myself in such company again.   

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