The Art of Laughing: A Study of the Tempo-Spatial Matrix in Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer
Keywords:chronotope, Mikhail Bakhtin, Oliver Goldsmith, sentimental comedy, laughing comedy
Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer (1773) was staged only two weeks after the publication of his Essay on the Theatre, in which he famously compared sentimental comedies with what he described as laughing comedies. The play thus illustrates Goldsmith’s principles for his ideal laughing comedy. One of the aspects of this type of comedy, which has rarely been addressed, is its representation of the matrix of temporal and spatial elements, or what Mikhail Bakhtin calls a chronotope. The present study is thus aimed at investigating She Stoops to Conquer in terms of Bakhtinian chronotope. The study argues how different chronotopes have influenced the behaviours as well as the decisions of characters in the play. Moreover, it shows that the chronotopic framework can shed new light on the play’s portrayal of the class divisions in the eighteenth century, when the middle class was emerging in England’s social system.
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