Peter Quince's Ballad: Memory, Psychoanalysis, History and <i>A Midsummer Night's Dream</i>

Belsey Catherine

in Shakespeare in Theory and Practice

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780748633012
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652235 | DOI:
Peter Quince's Ballad: Memory, Psychoanalysis, History and A Midsummer Night's Dream

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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

Chapter.  6445 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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