The Merchant of Venice | Critical Essay by Walter Cohen

This literature criticism consists of approximately 36 pages of analysis & critique of The Merchant of Venice.
This section contains 10,733 words
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SOURCE: Cohen, Walter. “The Merchant of Venice and the Possibilities of Historical Criticism.” ELH 49, no. 4 (winter 1982): 765-89.

In the following essay, Cohen views The Merchant of Venice as a flawed romantic comedy and suggests that the play may be viewed as a reflection of the socio-economic problems in late Elizabethan English society.

Traditional historical scholarship has not fared well with many contemporary literary theorists. Jonathan Culler concludes: “The identification of historical sequences, while an inevitable and indispensable aspect of literary study, is not just open to oversimplification; it is itself an act of oversimplification.”1 What is rhetorically striking in this passage is the comfortable coexistence of the author's characteristic moderation with the extremity of the position. Under the influence of the work of Louis Althusser in particular and of structuralism and post-structuralism in general, similar doubts have...

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This section contains 10,733 words
(approx. 36 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Walter Cohen
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