Article Title

Shakespeare on Fortune's Hill: A Review Essay


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

An omnium gatherum and something more, Fortune and Elizabethan Tragedy tells how men over the ages have thought about Fortune, the mutable goddess. Mr. Kiefer's study is both learned and intelligent, and has the virtue of starting hares and provoking speculation. It supplements Howard Patch's standard work of 1927, providing fresh detail and carrying the story further, into the Renaissance. If you want to know Fortune in her various roles, this is the book for you. Beginning in early Christian times and ending with Shakespeare, it doesn't miss much en route, including the visual arts. Historical scholarship, this docketing of fact verges on criticism as the facts accumulate, and the criticism is full of implication. How we understand Fortune and represent her in our fictions is an index of the way we cope, sometimes with equanimity, sometimes mounting to hysteria. In these notes on Fortune, I want to sort out the implication, in particular for Shakespeare. This involves, incidentally, going back to an old interest of mine, the transition from medieval to "modern."

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.