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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the link between early English drama and elegy. To show the process of dismantling and recontextualization, it starts with pastoral elegy. Both the propriety and efficacy of different mourning forms are always at issue in elegiac tradition. The exposure of female vanity belongs to satire rather than elegy, and the generic shift occurs during Hamlet's address to Yorick. The anti-elegies, which share a good deal with the elegies from which they also depart, remain within the purview of ‘elegy in drama’. Whether that applies to more marginal cases is debatable.

Keywords: English drama, pastoral elegy, mourning, female vanity, Hamlet, Yorick

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