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Between Two Stools
Author: Peter J. Smith

ISBN: 9780719097614
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 17 May 2015
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.8 x 1.8
Description:
Between two stools investigates the representation of scatology - humorous, carnivalesque, satirical, damning and otherwise - in English literature from the middle ages to the eighteenth century. While a number of recent publications have attempted to analyse the employment of scatology in literature, culture or the arts, they remain, to date, rare examples of a preparedness to discuss such material. This study is the first to consider the topic over such a long historical period, allowing a thorough and original exploration of its foundations and traditions.

Smith contends that the 'two stools' stand for two broadly distinctive attitudes towards scatology. The first is a carnivalesque, merry, even hearty disposition, typified by the writings of Chaucer and Shakespeare. The second is self-disgust, an attitude characterised by withering misanthropy and hypochondria. He locates this shift in sensibility in the crisis of the English Civil War and the aftermath of the Restoration. Smith demonstrates how the combination of high and low cultures manifests the capacity to run canonical and carnivalesque together so that sanctioned and civilised artefacts and scatol...

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