Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 15, 2019

Playing With Tempests

Shakespeare / Jarman / Greenaway

Andreas Mahler
From the journal Anglia

Abstract

Current adaptations of Shakespeare’s Tempest invariably tend to focus on the postcolonial. Despite the indubitable contemporary political relevance of the postcolonial in Shakespeare’s play, this article argues that a much larger receptional impact of it lies in its aesthetic structure. Drawing on the Tempest’s comedic nature, it contends that the play’s ‘romantic’ content (or syntagmatic romance plot) is secondary only in relation to its primary point of enabling, and staging, funny and/or metafictional inventions and ideas (i. e. paradigms), thus displaying and corroborating the play’s elaborate polyperspectivity. This ‘open perspective structure’ (M. Pfister) finds itself in particular taken up in the cinematographic Tempest adaptations by Derek Jarman and Peter Greenaway, who use the well-known plot to foreground, and celebrate, the possibilities and options of the multimedium ‘film’. But where Greenaway tends to re-harmonise this unleashed plurality again by synchronising all the different paradigms back into a unified (and at times rather lengthy and monotonous) celebration of art as art, Jarman takes the play’s enabling structure much more seriously in opening up his movie to a well-nigh endless inclusion of ever more unexpected, and new, paradigms of pleasure.

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Published Online: 2019-03-15
Published in Print: 2019-03-14

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