A Shakespearean Romance: The Winter's Tale

The Winter's Tale

The Winter’s Tale is one of four plays written near the end of Shakespeare’s career that are now regarded as “Romances”—a genre not recognized as such in the First Folio. But then, what is it? Dramatic Romance typically subverts audience expectations in ways that may amuse, delight, perplex, or even horrify playgoers and readers.
A case in point, this play splits into two halves separated by sixteen years; portrays a “hero” who has been described as an Othello who is his own Iago; and ends with a statue of a slain slandered heroine which does (or does not?) come to life. Add to these the rescue of a baby girl whose unwilling abductor—in the most notorious stage direction in all of Shakespeare—“exits, pursued by a bear”! In what ways do these intertwined polarities—nature and fantasy, psychology and myth, tragedy and comedy—speak to us today? Come and see for yourself why The Winter’s Tale is a play for all seasons.

Instructor: Al Turco

Four Tuesdays: April 17, 24, May 1, 8
Wasch Center, Butterfield Room
Al Turco
AL TURCO is emeritus professor of English at Wesleyan, where he has taught since 1967. He is the author of Shaw’s Moral Vision as well as essays on Ibsen, Strindberg, Shaw, Nietzsche, and Wagnerian opera. Besides Shakespeare, his major teaching interest has been in early modern drama in Europe and America. A member of the editorial board of the International Shaw Society, he has appeared in various venues and been guest speaker three times in the Wasch Center Lecture Series.