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Shakespeare in Theory and Practice$
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Catherine Belsey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633012

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633012.001.0001

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Peter Quince's Ballad: Memory, Psychoanalysis, History and A Midsummer Night's Dream

Peter Quince's Ballad: Memory, Psychoanalysis, History and A Midsummer Night's Dream

Chapter:
(p.94) Chapter 6 Peter Quince's Ballad: Memory, Psychoanalysis, History and A Midsummer Night's Dream
Source:
Shakespeare in Theory and Practice
Author(s):

Belsey Catherine

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633012.003.0006

This chapter shares the assumption that love cannot be made fully present in words. A Midsummer Night's Dream invokes an elusive dream of mortality intertwined with the fantastic, bottomless because ungrounded, and bottomless because at the same time unfathomably profound, at once trivial and significant; and in this dream of desire fulfilled a later critic might be forgiven for finding anticipations of psychoanalysis. For psychoanalysis, dreams recall a desire that is present in the memory, whether or not it was ever realised. Nick Bottom wants his story documented in Peter Quince's ballad. Such a ballad will have no pretensions to scientific accuracy. It is believed that Shakespeare could have taught Peter Quince — and perhaps not only Peter Quince — a thing or two about how to write histories.

Keywords:   A Midsummer Night's Dream, love, Peter Quince, ballad, desire, psychoanalysis, histories, memory, Nick Bottom

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