In this study of Shakespeare's visual culture Frederick Kiefer looks at the personified characters created by Shakespeare in his plays, his walking, talking abstractions. These include Rumour in 2 Henry IV, Time in The Winter's Tale, Spring and Winter in Love's Labour's Lost, Revenge in Titus Andronicus, and the deities in the late plays. All these personae take physical form on the stage: the actors performing the roles wear distinctive attire and carry appropriate props. The book seeks to reconstruct the appearance of Shakespeare's personified characters; to explain the symbolism of their costumes and props; and to assess the significance of these symbolic characters for the plays in which they appear. To accomplish this reconstruction, Kiefer brings together a wealth of visual and literary evidence including engravings, woodcuts, paintings, drawings, tapestries, emblems, civic pageants, masques, poetry and plays. The book contains over forty illustrations of personified characters in Shakespeare's time.
Frederick Kiefer is Professor of English at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He is the author of Fortune and Elizabethan Tragedy (1983) and Writing on the Renaissance Stage: Written Words, Printed Pages, Metaphoric Books (1996).
Acknowledgments; Introduction; List of illustrations; 1. Spring and winter in Love's Labour's Lost; 2. Revenge, murder, and rape in Titus Andronicus; 3. Rumour in 2 Henry IV; 4. Hecate and the witches in Macbeth; 5. The five senses in Timon of Athens; 6. Time and the deities in the late plays; Conclusion; Select bibliography.