The Universal Shapes of Stories, According to Kurt Vonnegut
That's funny — I made a Rosencrantz & Guildenstern crack in another comment on this thread. First, I love the play/film, but I've only read the play, haven't had a chance to see it. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit I have a hard time not seeing it through the lens of Beckett. (I just spent too much time with Beckett and Joyce's work — it's shaded how I see most other literature, whether I like it or not.) But what I know of the backgrounds is that Tom Stoppard — at least in that work — was pretty influenced by Beckett in a few ways. Both deal with performances within the performance, and are interested in exploring and exploiting the cracks of the form. Both Beckett and Stoppard tried to inject some humor into existentialist and absurdist drama, and both did this through Vaudevillian pratfalls and language games. So in short, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern seem like Shakespearean versions of Vladimir and Estragon. So that's the first part of the circle, Shakespeare-to-Joyce. Whoa.
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