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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The green world is the space where different peoples meet each other: Illyrians and Messenians in Twelfth Night, humans and fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, courtiers and country-dwellers in As You Like It. In essence these plays are all first contact narratives in which each group sheds light on the other. As You Like It offers echoes of the English colonial enterprise and the push to conquer Guiana. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the wood outside Athens proves to be the repository of England’s hidden self, containing its past, both classical and Celtic. Above all Twelfth Night offers images of both a new world and of a new. This essay traces the dynamics of the encounters in each of these three plays, but focusing on Twelfth Night, the comedy in which comedy itself is interrogated as it is forced to confront its own limits and functions.

Keywords: green world, comedy, bear-baiting, first contact narratives, transformation

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