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Roughton, R.E. (1987). Friends and Lovers. The Phenomenology of Desire in Shakespearean Comedy: By W. Thomas MacCary. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. 264 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 56:579-583.
   

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:579-583

Friends and Lovers. The Phenomenology of Desire in Shakespearean Comedy: By W. Thomas MacCary. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. 264 pp.

Review by:
Ralph E. Roughton

Norman Holland once remarked that "Psychoanalysis seem to take to Hamlet like kittens to a ball of yarn." We can extend that image to include the Shakespeare tragedies as a whole; but not so, the comedies. In one survey of Shakespeare scholarship during a fifteen-year period (1964-1978), every single play had been written about from a psychoanalytic perspective, but the tragedies were explored more than three times as frequently as the comedies. Prior to 1960, there was an even greater disparity. However, that appears to be changing. MacCary's book is one of several recent publications that indicate a renewed and more psychologically sophisticated interest in the comedies.

A professor of classical and comparative literature, Thomas MacCary has given us a book that is both concise and comprehensive, scholarly and readable.

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