Diverse folk diversely they demed;
As many heddes as manye wittes there been.
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Squires Tale

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A slight departure

I haven't blogged here much lately, but I'm not completely absent from the internet. Today I have a guest post "Caliban: On the Edge of Humanity" appearing at 'Performing Humanity,' an Early Modern blog. The post is about the humanity - or otherwise - of Caliban in The Tempest and the ways Shakespeare is influenced by medieval material. It's a departure from my usual time-periods, but is part of what I've been thinking about for a conference paper I'm giving at a conference on Shakespeare and Emotions in a couple of months. That paper will look at Caliban as an emotional model for hybrid figures in modern fantasy, not just in works that reference him explicitly like Tad William's Caliban, but more broadly. Hybrids are a staple of all kinds of fantasy - from Elrond Half-Elven in Lord of the Rings on - and Caliban with his combination of rage, fear, and love for his island with its "noises, sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not" (The Tempest, III, 2, 148-9) is an literary antecedent for many of them.