Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet): From Shakespearean Tragedy to Postmodern Satyr Play


Igor Djordjevic


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

Northrop Frye followed in the footsteps of Aristotle and the author of the Tractatus Coislinianus in his attempt to define and describe the main aspects of the literary genres in the monumental Anatomy of Criticism. For centuries Aristotle’s theory of poetics had been understood as prescriptive instead of descriptive; thus any effort to establish a schematic approach to literary theory in the twentieth century—the age of experimentation, rule bending, and wholesale rule breaking—was likely to encounter strong opposition. While there are certain limitations to Frye’s schematic system in dealing with many modern and postmodern works that defy classification into any genre, it is precisely the clear delineation of subcategories and elements within the genres that promotes his theory as the most useful in a study of works that either are based upon a prescriptive view of poetics or are contemporary revisions of such works.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.