Spring 1966 • Vol. XXVIII No. 2 Book ReviewsMarch 1, 1966 |

Home to Roost

Further Explorations by L. C. Knights. Stanford University Press, $5.00. More than a generation ago, in what has proved to be his most widely known critical utterance, L. C. Knights urged with more than a little vehemence that Shakespeare's plays be regarded as unified structures rather than as portrait galleries. "How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth?" was an attempt to rescue Shakespeare criticism from what Knights regarded as the thralldom of character analysis. The habit of regarding Shakespeare's persons as "friends for life" or, maybe, "deceased acquaintances", is responsible for most of the vagaries that serve as Shakespeare criticism. . . . It is responsible for all the irrelevant moral and realistic canons that have been applied to Shakespeare's plays, for the sentimentalizing of his heroes (Coleridge and Goethe on Hamlet) and his heroines. And the loss is incalculable. Losing sight of the whole dramatic pattern of each play, we inhibit the development of that full com

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