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Interpreting the Person: Tradition, Conflict, and Cymbeline's Imogen


The most critical period of ideological conflict over Cymbeline and its heroine occurred during the middle decades of the twentieth century. In these years, theatrical practice explored the irony, political interrogation, and metatheatrical enquiry issuing from a belief in the person as possessing sovereignty over cultural production. However, critics, audiences, and reviewers resisted this trend, adhering instead to a traditionalist view of the play as a national romance. This view dismissed the idea of reflexive persons, independent from the force of cultural influence, and focused instead on England’s need to utilize the play in restoring a national self-image as glorious and unified after the devastation of the First and Second World Wars.


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