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Shakespeare and Romance

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Abstract

Shakespearean critics have often used the term “romance” to classify the four late plays, Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest, into one uniform group. This article looks briefly at the critical history of this much-debated romance label. Traditional source studies have contributed to the debate by characterizing the four late plays in terms of their generic heritage in popular romance literature. Responses to this debate posit that intertexual approaches to source material allow us to reexamine the link between popular applications of romance fiction in the early Jacobean period and their appearance in Shakespeare's late plays.

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