Shakespeare commentary and performance today present us with a multiplicity of interpretations constructed and reconstructed from such diverse origins that the underlying evidence has become hidden by layers of reconceptualized meanings. What can or should count as evidence for the claims made by scholars and performers, and how should this evidence by organized? In Textual and Theatrical Shakespeare
ten essayists answer these stimulating questions by exploring the possibilities for and the constraints upon useful communication among critics who come to Shakespeare from so many different directions.
Bridging the stage-versus-page gap between actors, critics, and scholars, the contributors in this carefully crafted yet energizing book reflect upon the many kinds of evidence available to us from Shakespeare's various incarnations as historical subject and as “our contemporary” as well as from his amphibious occupation of both stage and study. The constraints become arbitrary as each essayist clarifies the sources of this evidence; the seemingly rigid boundaries of scholarly and creative disciplines are crossed and redrawn.
From “How Good Does Evidence Have to Be?” to “Invisible Bullets, Violet Beards: Reading Actors Reading,” the essays in Textual and Theatrical Shakespeare illuminate the long and complex development of our diverse engagements with Shakespeare. Textual and literary scholars, performance critics, social historians, cultural theorists, actors, and theatre historians will appreciate and benefit from this generous spirit of cross-cultural communication.