The aim of this blog is to serve as a meeting point to those who study or have studied English philology and, more broadly, to all those who love literature and language.

24 Feb 2009


An English Philology student at the UNED sends us this contribution to our blog:

Ahora que ha finalizado el Carnaval, y que los estudiantes de Literatura Inglesa (I) comenzamos el cuatrimestre donde reina Shakespeare, no está de más recordar la figura carnavalesca por excelencia de la literatura inglesa, sir John Falstaff, el rubicundo amigo del príncipe Hal, en sus correrías tabernarias de juventud, antes de convertirse en el “ejemplar” Henry V.

Tal como aparece en la Unidad Didáctica, traslado aquí la descripción que Graham Holderness hace de la función de este personaje:

“Falstaff clearly performs the function, in Henry IV Parts I and II, of carnival. He constitutes a constant focus of opposition to the official and serious tone of authority and power: his discourse confronts and challenges those of king and state. His attitude to authority is always parodic and satirical: he mocks authority, flouts power, responds to the pressures of social duty and civic obligation by retreating into Bacchanalian revelry. His world is a world of ease, moral license, appetite and desire; of humour and ridicule, theatricals and satire, of community, freedom and abundance; a world created by inverting the abstract society, the oppression and the hierarchy of the official world. In the tavern the fool reigns as sovereign; on the high road the thief is an honest man; while in the royal court the cares and duties of state frown an the frivolity and absurdity of saturnalian revelry. To this extent Falstaff can be located in that popular tradition of carnival and utopian comedy defined by Bakhtin”.

Termina, pues, el carnaval. Y arranca la Cuaresma. Ash Wednesday. Pero con T.S.Eliot no me atrevo. Todavía.

Thank you very much!

1 comment:

  1. Carnival is over but we can start searching for fancy dress ideas for 2010. The Falstaff in this video ( provides a colourful one.