Shakespeare wrote of lions, shrews, horned toads, curs, mastiffs, and hellhounds. But the word “animal” itself only appears very rarely in his work, which was in keeping with sixteenth-century usage. As Laurie Shannon reveals in The Accommodated Animal, the modern human / animal divide first came strongly into play in the seventeenth century, with Descartes’s famous formulation that reason sets humans above other species: “I think, therefore I am.” Before that moment, animals could claim a firmer place alongside humans in a larger vision of belonging, or what she terms cosmopolity.
With Shakespeare as her touchstone, Shannon explores the creaturely dispensation that existed until Descartes. She finds that early modern writers used classical natural history and readings of Genesis to credit animals with various kinds of stakeholdership, prerogative, and entitlement, employing the language of politics in a constitutional vision of cosmic membership. Using this political idiom to frame cross-species relations, Shannon argues, carried with it the notion that animals possess their own investments in the world, a point distinct from the question of whether animals have reason. It also enabled a sharp critique of the tyranny of humankind. By answering “the question of the animal” historically, The Accommodated Animal makes a brilliant contribution to cross-disciplinary debates engaging animal studies, political theory, intellectual history, and literary studies.
The only collection of Yves Bonnefoy's criticism in English, this volume offers a coherent statement of poetic philosophy and intent—a clear expression of the values and convictions of the French poet whom many critics regard as the most important and influential of our time. The Introduction touches on many of the essays' concerns, including Bonnefoy's recourse to moral and religious categories, his particular use of Saussure's distinction between langue and parole, his early fascination with Surrealism, and his view of translation as "a metaphysical and moral experiment." The essays, published over a nearly thirty-year span, respond to one another, the more recent pieces taking up for renewed consideration ideas developed in earlier meditations, thereby providing the volume with integrity and completeness. Among the subjects addressed in these essays are the French poetic tradition, the art of translation, and the works of Shakespeare, of which Bonnefoy is the preeminent French translator.
The best-selling script analysis book for thirty-five years
Considered an essential text since its publication thirty-five years ago, this guide for students and practitioners of both theater and literature complements, rather than contradicts or repeats, traditional methods of literary analysis of scripts.
Ball developed his method during his work as literary director at the Guthrie Theater, building his guide on the crafts playwrights of every period and style use to make their plays stageworthy. The text is full of tools for students and practitioners to use as they investigate plot, character, theme, exposition, imagery, conflict, theatricality, and the other crucial parts of the superstructure of a play. Also included are guides for discovering what the playwright considers a play’ s most important elements, thus permitting interpretation based on the foundation of the play rather than its details.
Using Shakespeare’s Hamlet as illustration, Ball assures a familiar base for clarifying script-reading techniques as well as exemplifying the kinds of misinterpretation readers can fall prey to by ignoring the craft of the playwright. Of immense utility to those who want to put plays on the stage (actors, directors, designers, production specialists) Backwards & Forwards is also a fine playwriting manual because the structures it describes are the primary tools of the playwright.
In Blood Relations, Janet Adelman confronts her resistance to The Merchant of Venice as both a critic and a Jew. With her distinctive psychological acumen, she argues that Shakespeare’s play frames the uneasy relationship between Christian and Jew specifically in familial terms in order to recapitulate the vexed familial relationship between Christianity and Judaism.
Adelman locates the promise—or threat—of Jewish conversion as a particular site of tension in the play. Drawing on a variety of cultural materials, she demonstrates that, despite the triumph of its Christians, The Merchant of Venice reflects Christian anxiety and guilt about its simultaneous dependence on and disavowal of Judaism. In this startling psycho-theological analysis, both the insistence that Shylock’s daughter Jessica remain racially bound to her father after her conversion and the depiction of Shylock as a bloody-minded monster are understood as antidotes to Christian uneasiness about a Judaism it can neither own nor disown.
In taking seriously the religious discourse of The Merchant of Venice, Adelman offers in Blood Relations an indispensable book on the play and on the fascinating question of Jews and Judaism in Renaissance England and beyond.
The Bottom Translation represents the first critical attempt at applying the ideas and methods of the great Russian critic, Mikhail Bakhtin, to the works of Shakespeare and other Elizabethans. Professor Kott uncovers the cultural and mythopoetic traditions underlying A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, Dr. Faustus, and other plays. His method draws him to interpret these works in the light of the carnival and popular tradition as it was set forth by Bakhtin. The Bottom Translation breaks new ground in critical thinking and theatrical vision and is an invaluable source of new ideas and perspectives. Included in this volume is also an extraordinary essay on Kurosawa's "Ran" in which the Japanese filmmaker recreates King Lear.
Among the films inspired by Orson Welles's lifelong involvement with Shakespeare, the greatest is Chimes at Midnight (1966). It is a masterly conflation of the Shakespearean history plays that feature Falstaff, the great comic figure played by Welles himself in the film. For Welles, the character was also potentially tragic: the doomed friendship between Falstaff and Prince Hal becomes an image of the end of an age. To this epic subject Welles brings the innovative film techniques that made him famous in Citizen Kane, The Lady from Shanghai,"and Touch of Evil.
This volume offers a complete continuity script of Chimes at Midnight, including its famous battle sequence. Each shot is described in detail and is keyed to the original Shakesperian sources, thus making the volume an invaluable guide to Welles as an adaptor and creator of texts. The first complete transcription of the continuity script of Chimes is accompanied by the editor's critical introduction on Welles's transformation of Shakespeare; a special interview with Keith Baxter, one of the film's principal actors, which discusses its production history; reviews and articles; and a biographical sketch of Welles, a filmography, and a bibliography.
Hamlet has inspired four outstanding film adaptations that continue to delight a wide and varied audience and to offer provocative new interpretations of Shakespeare’s most popular play. Cinematic Hamlet contains the first scene-by-scene analysis of the methods used by Laurence Olivier, Franco Zeffirelli, Kenneth Branagh, and Michael Almereyda to translate Hamlet into highly distinctive and remarkably effective films.
Applying recent developments in neuroscience and psychology, Patrick J. Cook argues that film is a medium deploying an abundance of devices whose task it is to direct attention away from the film’s viewing processes and toward the object represented. Through careful analysis of each film’s devices, he explores the ways in which four brilliant directors rework the play into a radically different medium, engaging the viewer through powerful instinctive drives and creating audiovisual vehicles that support and complement Shakespeare’s words and story.
Cinematic Hamlet will prove to be indispensable for anyone wishing to understand how these films rework Shakespeare into the powerful medium of film.
Turning to the potent idea of political theology to recover the strange mix of political and religious thinking during the Renaissance, this bracing study reveals in the works of Shakespeare and his sources the figure of the citizen-saint, who represents at once divine messenger and civil servant, both norm and exception. Embodied by such diverse personages as Antigone, Paul, Barabbas, Shylock, Othello, Caliban, Isabella, and Samson, the citizen-saint is a sacrificial figure: a model of moral and aesthetic extremity who inspires new regimes of citizenship with his or her death and martyrdom.
Among the many questions Julia Reinhard Lupton attempts to answer under the rubric of the citizen-saint are: how did states of emergency, acts of sovereign exception, and Messianic anticipations lead to new forms of religious and political law? What styles of universality were implied by the abject state of the pure creature, at sea in a creation abandoned by its creator? And how did circumcision operate as both a marker of ethnicity and a means of conversion and civic naturalization?
Written with clarity and grace, Citizen-Saints will be of enormous interest to students of English literature, religion, and early modern culture.
An actor’s deepest desire is to be understood. But when asked to pronounce such words as “chanson,” “phantasime,” or “quaestor,” many otherwise unflappable actors can be rendered speechless.
The Eloquent Shakespeare aims to untie those tongues and help anyone speak Shakespeare’s language with ease. More than 17,500 entries make it the most comprehensive pronunciation guide to Shakespeare’s words, from the common to the arcane. Each entry is written in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and represents standard American pronunciations, making this dictionary perfect for North American professionals or non-native speakers of American English.
Renowned Shakespearean voice and text coach Gary Logan has spent years teaching Shakespeare’s works to some of the best actors in the world. His book includes proper names, foreign words and phrases, as well as an extensive introduction that covers everything from how to interpret the entries to scansion dynamics. Designed especially for actors, directors, stage managers, and teachers, The Eloquent Shakespeare is a one-of-a-kind resource for performing Shakespeare’s dramatic works.
Sir Frank Kermode, the British scholar, instructor, and author, was an inspired critic. Forms of Attention is based on a series of three lectures he gave on canon formation, or how we choose what art to value. The essay on Botticelli traces the artist’s sudden popularity in the nineteenth century for reasons that have more to do with poetry than painting. In the second essay, Kermode reads Hamlet from a very modern angle, offering a useful (and playful) perspective for a contemporary audience. The final essay is a defense of literary criticism as a process and conversation that, while often conflating knowledge with opinion, keeps us reading great art and working with—and for—literature.
The aesthetics of frame theory form the basis of Framing Shakespeare on Film. This groundbreaking work expands on the discussion of film constructivists in its claim that the spectacle of Shakespeare on film is a problem-solving activity.
Kathy Howlett demonstrates convincingly how viewers' expectations for understanding Shakespeare on film can be manipulated by the director's cinematic technique. Emphasizing that the successful film can transform Shakespeare's text while remaining rooted in Shakespearean conceptions, Howlett raises the question of how directors and audiences understand the genre of Shakespeare on film and reveals how the medium alters the patterns through which the audience views Shakespeare.
The Victorian era was the high point of literary tourism. Writers such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Sir Walter Scott became celebrities, and readers trekked far and wide for a glimpse of the places where their heroes wrote and thought, walked and talked. Even Shakespeare was roped in, as Victorian entrepreneurs transformed quiet Stratford-upon-Avon into a combination shrine and tourist trap.
Stratford continues to lure the tourists today, as do many other sites of literary pilgrimage throughout Britain. And our modern age could have no better guide to such places than Simon Goldhill. In Freud's Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë's Grave, Goldhill makes a pilgrimage to Sir Walter Scott's baronial mansion, Wordsworth's cottage in the Lake District, the Bront ë parsonage, Shakespeare's birthplace, and Freud's office in Hampstead. Traveling, as much as possible, by methods available to Victorians—and gamely negotiating distractions ranging from broken bicycles to a flock of giggling Japanese schoolgirls—he tries to discern what our forebears were looking for at these sites, as well as what they have to say to the modern mind. What does it matter that Emily Brontë’s hidden passions burned in this specific room? What does it mean, especially now that his fame has faded, that Scott self-consciously built an extravagant castle suitable for Ivanhoe—and star-struck tourists visited it while he was still living there? Or that Freud's meticulous recreation of his Vienna office is now a meticulously preserved museum of itself? Or that Shakespeare’s birthplace features student actors declaiming snippets of his plays . . . in the garden of a house where he almost certainly never wrote a single line?
Goldhill brings to these inquiries his trademark wry humor and a lifetime's engagement with literature. The result is a travel book like no other, a reminder that even today, the writing life still has the power to inspire.
Cross-dressing, sexual identity, and the performance of gender are among the most hotly discussed topics in contemporary cultural studies. A vital addition to the growing body of literature, this book is the most in-depth and historically contextual study to date of Shakespeare's uses of the heroine in male disguise--man-playing-woman-playing-man--in all its theatrical and social complexity.
Shapiro's study centers on the five plays in which Shakespeare employed the figure of the "female page": The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, and Cymbeline. Combining theater and social history, Shapiro locates Shakespeare's work in relation to controversies over gender roles and cross-dressing in Elizabethan England.
The popularity of the "female page" is examined as a playful literary and theatrical way of confronting, avoiding, or merely exploiting issues such as the place of women in a patriarchal culture and the representation of women on stage. Looking beyond and behind the stage for the cultural anxieties that found their way into Shakespearean drama, Shapiro considers such cases as cross-dressing women in London being punished as prostitutes and the alleged homoerotic practices of the apprentices who played female roles in adult companies. Shapiro also traces other Elizabethan dramatists' varied uses of the cross-dressing motif, especially as they were influenced by Shakespeare's innovations.
"Shapiro's engaging study is distinguished by the scope of interrelated topics it draws together and the balance of critical perspectives it brings to bear on them." --Choice
Michael Shapiro is Professor of English, University of Illinois, Urbana.
The Great William is the first book to explore how seven renowned writers—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Virginia Woolf, Charles Olson, John Berryman, Allen Ginsberg, and Ted Hughes—wrestled with Shakespeare in the very moments when they were reading his work. What emerges is a constellation of remarkable intellectual and emotional encounters.
Theodore Leinwand builds impressively detailed accounts of these writers’ experiences through their marginalia, lectures, letters, journals, and reading notes. We learn why Woolf associated reading Shakespeare with her brother Thoby, and what Ginsberg meant when referring to the mouth feel of Shakespeare’s verse. From Hughes’s attempts to find a “skeleton key” to all of Shakespeare’s plays to Berryman’s tormented efforts to edit King Lear, Leinwand reveals the palpable energy and conviction with which these seven writers engaged with Shakespeare, their moments of utter self-confidence and profound vexation. In uncovering these intense public and private reactions, The Great William connects major writers’ hitherto unremarked scenes of reading Shakespeare with our own.
M. L . Stapleton's Harmful Eloquence: Ovid's "Amores" from Antiquity to Shakespeare traces the influence of the early elegiac poetry of Ovid (43 b.c.e.-17 c.e.) on European literature from 500-1600 c.e. The Amores served as a classical model for love poetry in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and were essential to the formation of fin' Amors, or "courtly love." Medieval Latin poets, the troubadours, Dante, Petrarch, and Shakespeare were all familiar with Ovid in his various forms, and all depended greatly upon his Amores in composing their cansos, canzoniere, and sonnets.
Harmful Eloquence begins with a detailed analysis of the Amores themselves and their artistic unity. It moves on to explain the fragmentary transmission of the Amores in the "Latin Anthology" and the cohesion of the fragments into the conventions of Medieval Latin and troubadour "courtly love" poetry. Two subsequent chapters explain the use of the Amores, their narrator, and the conventions of "courtly love" in the poetry of both Dante and Petrarch. The final chapter concentrates on Shakespeare's reprocessing and parody of this material in his sonnets.
Harmful Eloquence analyzes the intertextual transmission of the Amores in major medieval and Renaissance love poetry for the first time. No previous study has devoted itself exclusively to this Ovidian text in this particular way. The premise that Ovid consciously used the device of persona from the very beginning of his writing career is fully explored, as is the "Ovidian hypothesis" of Wilibald Schroetter. Connections between Dante's La vita nuova and the Amores are newly discovered; significant for Shakespeare studies, the use of Christopher Marlowe's translation of the Amores by Shakespeare in his "dark lady" sonnets is also carefully analyzed for the first time.
Medievalists, classicists, and scholars of Renaissance studies will find Harmful Eloquence particularly engaging and useful, as will all those interested in the process and methods of literary transmission.
M. L. Stapleton is Associate Professor of English, Stephen F. Austin University.
In the most comprehensive study yet of homosexuality in the English Renaissance, Bruce R. Smith examines and rejects the assessments of homosexual acts in moral philosophy, laws, and medical books in favor of a poetics of homosexual desire. Smith isolates six different "myths" from classical literature and discusses each in relation to a particular Renaissance literary genre and to a particular part of the social structure of early modern England. Smith's new Preface places his work in the context of the continuing controversies in gay, lesbian, and bisexual studies.
"The best single analysis of the homoerotic element in Renaissance English literature."—Keith Thomas, New York Review of Books
"Smith's lucid and subtle book offer[s] a poetics of homosexual desire. . . . Its scholarship, impressively broad and deftly deployed, aims to further a serious social purpose: the redemptive location of homosexual desire in history and the recuperation for our own time, through an understanding of its discursive embodiments, of that desire's changing imperatives and parameters."—Terence Hawkes, Times Literary Supplement
"The great strength of Bruce Smith's book is that it does not sidestep the complex challenge of engaging in the sexual politics of the present while attending to the resistant discourses and practices of Renaissance England. Homosexual Desire in Shakespeare's England demonstrates how a commitment to the present opens up our understanding of the past."—Peter Stallybrass, Shakespeare Quarterly
"A major contribution to the understanding of homosexuality in Renaissance England and by far the best and most comprehensive account yet offered of the homoeroticism that suffuses Renaissance literature."—Claude J. Summers, Journal of Homosexuality
Though modern readers no longer believe in the four humors of Galenic naturalism—blood, choler, melancholy, and phlegm—early modern thought found in these bodily fluids key to explaining human emotions and behavior. In Humoring the Body, Gail Kern Paster proposes a new way to read the emotions of the early modern stage so that contemporary readers may recover some of the historical particularity in early modern expressions of emotional self-experience.
Using notions drawn from humoral medical theory to untangle passages from important moral treatises, medical texts, natural histories, and major plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Paster identifies a historical phenomenology in the language of affect by reconciling the significance of the four humors as the language of embodied emotion. She urges modern readers to resist the influence of post-Cartesian abstraction and the disembodiment of human psychology lest they miss the body-mind connection that still existed for Shakespeare and his contemporaries and constrained them to think differently about how their emotions were embodied in a premodern world.
Shakespeare’s dramatis personae exist in a world of supposition, struggling to connect knowledge that cannot be had, judgments that must be made, and actions that need to be taken. For them, probability—what they and others might be persuaded to believe—governs human affairs, not certainty. Yet negotiating the space of probability is fraught with difficulty. Here, Joel B. Altman explores the problematics of probability and the psychology of persuasion in Renaissance rhetoric and Shakespeare’s theater.
Focusing on the Tragedy of Othello, Altman investigates Shakespeare’s representation of the self as a specific realization of tensions pervading the rhetorical culture in which he was educated and practiced his craft. In Altman’s account, Shakespeare also restrains and energizes his audiences’ probabilizing capacities, alternately playing the skeptical critic and dramaturgic trickster. A monumental work of scholarship by one of America’s most respected scholars of Renaissance literature, The Improbability of Othello contributes fresh ideas to our understanding of Shakespeare’s conception of the self, his shaping of audience response, and the relationship of actors to his texts.
Showcasing poems by more than ninety contemporary American poets, In a Fine Frenzyreveals what Shakespeare’s poetic children have made of their inheritance. Particularly interested in Viola, Miranda, Prospero, Desdemona, Iago, Lear, Cordelia, Hamlet, Horatio, and Ophelia, the poets respond to the sonnets, the comedies, the tragedies, the romances, and, to a lesser degree, Shakespeare the man. In so doing they reveal the aspects of his work most currently captivating to modern writers.
Those who cherish Shakespeare’s mercurial wit will delight in the rapid shifts, from grief to hilarity, so characteristic of the bard himself. Comic poems about tragedies follow decidedly somber poems about comedies. Single poems contain multiple emotional twists and turns. Some pay homage; most interact directly with the original Shakespearean text. Collectively, they corroborate Ben Jonson's assertion that Shakespeare is “not of an age, but for all time.”
A wide-ranging study of the ideology of population control in early modern England.
Across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a growing notion of the value of a large populace created a sense of urgency about reproduction; accordingly, a wide array of English writers of the time voiced the need not merely to add more people but also to ensure that England had an abundance of the right kinds of people. This need, in turn, called for a variety of institutions to train-and thus make, through a kind of nonbiological procreation-pious, enterprising, and dutiful subjects. In Increase and Multiply, David Glimp examines previously unexplored links between this emergent demographic mentality and Renaissance literature.
Glimp's analysis centers on humanist pedagogy as a mechanism for creating people capable of governing both themselves and others. Acknowledging the ways in which authors such as Sidney, Shakespeare, and Milton advance their own work by appealing to this vision, Glimp argues that their texts allow us to read the scope and limits of this generative ideal, its capacity to reinforce order and to become excessive and destabilizing. His work provides unprecedented insight into the role of fantasies of nonbiological reproduction in early modern political theory, government practice, and literary production.
David Glimp is assistant professor of English at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.
Katharine Eisaman Maus explores Renaissance writers' uneasy preoccupation with the inwardness and invisibility of truth. The perceived discrepancy between a person's outward appearance and inward disposition, she argues, deeply influenced the ways English Renaissance dramatists and poets conceived of the theater, imagined dramatic characters, and reflected upon their own creativity.
Reading works by Kyd, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson, and Milton in conjuction with sectarian polemics, gynecological treatises, and accounts of criminal prosecutions, Maus delineates unexplored connections among religious, legal, sexual, and theatrical ideas of inward truth. She reveals what was at stake—ethically, politically, epistemologically, and theologically—when a writer in early modern England appealed to the difference between external show and interior authenticity. Challenging the recent tendency to see early modern selfhood as defined in wholly public terms, Maus argues that Renaissance dramatists continually payed homage to aspects of inner life they felt could never be manifested onstage.
The King and the Adulteress brings together two essays that propose radically revisionary readings of two of the most important literary works in the Western canon, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Shakespeare’s King Lear. In offering a new understanding of a deeply sadomasochistic relationship and of an authoritarian pathology, renowned psychoanalyst Roberto Speziale-Bagliacca combines psychoanalysis with literary studies to challenge the conventional judgments of readers and the stereotyped interpretations of literary critics to these masterpieces. Approaching the characters in Bovary and Lear from both an analytic and a critical viewpoint, Speziale-Bagliacca reinterprets many issues and events that involve archetypal figures of modern literary mythology. In fact, he reverses much of the received opinion about them. Charles Bovary, for example, far from being a victim of his wife’s neurotic restlessness or the epitome of a passive imbecile, is a masochist of the highest order who makes a decisive contribution to Emma’s miserable end. Lear, rather than a tragedy involving the sweet Cordelia, noble Kent, and the Fool as good and loyal supporters of an old king driven to madness by his overbearing evil daughters, is precisely the opposite. The sympathetic understanding of the reader should go, Speziale-Bagliacca suggests, also to Regan, Goneril, and Edmund, while the king, whose crisis is interpreted in the light of psychoanalytic findings on depression, finally becomes the true unbeloved "bastard" of the play. Roberto Speziale-Bagliacca is a psychoanalyst and Professor of Psychotherapy at the Medical School of the University of Genoa. He is the author of On the Shoulders of Freud and many other works.
Taking King Lear as her central text, Judy Kronenfeld seriously questions the critical assumptions of much of today’s most fashionable Shakespeare scholarship. Charting a new course beyond both New Historicist and deconstructionist critics, she suggests a theory of language and interpretation that provides essential historical and linguistic contexts for the key terms and concepts of the play. Opening the play up to the implications of these contexts and this interpretive theory, she reveals much about Lear, English Reformation religious culture, and the state of contemporary criticism.
Kronenfeld’s focus expands from the text of Shakespeare’s play to a discussion of a shared Christian culture—a shared language and set of values—a common discursive field that frames the social ethics of the play. That expanded focus is used to address the multiple ways that clothing and nakedness function in the play, as well as the ways that these particular images and terms are understood in that shared context. As Kronenfeld moves beyond Lear to uncover the complex resonances of clothing and nakedness in sermons, polemical tracts, legislation, rhetoric, morality plays, and actual or alleged practices such as naked revolts by Anabaptists and the Adamians’ ritual disrobing during religious services, she demonstrates that many key terms and concepts of the period cannot be tied to a single ideology. Instead, they represent part of an intricate network of thought shared by people of seemingly opposite views, and it is within such shared cultural networks that dissent, resistance, and creativity can emerge. Warning her readers not to take the language of literary texts out of the linguistic context within which it first appeared, Kronenfeld has written a book that reinterprets the linguistic model that has been the basis for much poststructuralist criticism.
Through dreams and shadows and strangeness, through blinding charms and eye-opening counter-charms, through moments of mortification and laughter—thus Stuart M. Tave traces the journey of the lovers, clowns, and fairies who populate comedies from A Midsummer Night's Dream to Waiting for Godot. Tave avoids the pitfalls of theory, taking instead a close look at particular works to give us a sense of the relations between certain dramas and novels that are called comedies. The result is a wonderfully readable book that renews our delight in the enchanting possibilities of literature.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, in its "perfection," is Tave's point of departure. Its characters fall neatly into the three groups of Tave's title and fulfill to perfection their functions of desire, foolishness, and power. From the magical concord of Shakespeare's resolution, Tave moves to works whose character face ever greater difficulties in reaching a happy conclusion. From Jonson and Austen to Chekhov and Beckett, he meets comedies on their own terms, illuminating the complex and individual genius of each. A masterpiece of practical criticism, Lovers, Clowns, and Fairies rediscovers the pleasure of reading comedies.
To posterity, William Shakespeare may be the Bard of Avon, but to mid-seventeenth-century theatergoers he was just another dramatist. Yet barely a century later, he was England’s most popular playwright and a household name. In this intriguing study, Don-John Dugas explains how these changes came about and sealed Shakespeare’s reputation even before David Garrick performed his work on the London stage.
Marketing the Bard considers the ways that performance and publication affected Shakespeare’s popularity. Dugas takes readers inside London’s theaters and print shops to show how the practices of these intersecting enterprises helped transform Shakespeare from a run-of-the-mill author into the most performed playwright of all time—persuasively demonstrating that by the 1730s commerce, not criticism, was the principal force driving Shakespeare’s cultural dominance.
Displaying an impressive command of theater and publishing history, Dugas explains why adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays succeeded or failed on the stage and shows that theatrical and publishing concerns exerted a greater influence than aesthetics on the playwright’s popularity. He tells how revivals and adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays while he was relatively unknown fueled an interest in publication—exploited by the Tonson publishing firm with expensive collected editions marketed to affluent readers—which eventually led to competition between pricey collections and cheap single-play editions. The resulting price war flooded the market with Shakespeare, which in turn stimulated stage revivals of even his most obscure plays.
In tracing this curious reemergence of Shakespeare, Dugas considers why the Tonsons acquired the copyright to the plays, how the famous edition of 1709 differed from earlier ones, and what effect its publication had on Shakespeare’s popularity. He records all known performances of Shakespeare between 1660 and 1705 to document productions by various companies and to show how their performances shaped the public’s taste for Shakespeare. He also discloses a previously overlooked eighteenth-century engraving that sheds new light on the price war and Shakespeare’s reputation.
Marketing the Bard is a thoroughly engaging book that ranges widely over the Restoration landscape, containing a wealth of information and insight for anyone interested in theater history, the history of the book, the origins of copyright, and of course Shakespeare himself. Dugas’s analysis of the complex factors that transformed a prolific playwright into the inimitable Bard clearly shows how business produces and packages great art in order to sell it.
In Modern Hamlets and Their Soliloquies (Iowa, 1992), Mary Maher examined how modern actors have chosen to perform Hamlet’s soliloquies, and why they made the choices they made, within the context of their specific productions of the play.
Adding to original interviews with, among others, Derek Jacobi, David Warner, Kevin Kline, and Ben Kingsley, Modern Hamlets and Their Soliloquies: An Expanded Edition offers two new and insightful interviews, one with Kenneth Branagh, focusing on his 1997 film production of the play, and one with Simon Russell Beale, discussing his 2000-2001 run as Hamlet at the Royal National Theatre.
New Science, New World
Denise Albanese Duke University Press, 1996 Library of Congress PR438.S35A43 1996 | Dewey Decimal 820.9356
In New Science, New World Denise Albanese examines the discursive interconnections between two practices that emerged in the seventeenth century—modern science and colonialism. Drawing on the discourse analysis of Foucault, the ideology-critique of Marxist cultural studies, and de Certeau’s assertion that the modern world produces itself through alterity, she argues that the beginnings of colonialism are intertwined in complex fashion with the ways in which the literary became the exotic “other” and undervalued opposite of the scientific. Albanese reads the inaugurators of the scientific revolution against the canonical authors of early modern literature, discussing Galileo’s Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems and Bacon’s New Atlantis as well as Milton’s Paradise Lost and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. She examines how the newness or “novelty” of investigating nature is expressed through representations of the New World, including the native, the feminine, the body, and the heavens. “New” is therefore shown to be a double sign, referring both to the excitement associated with a knowledge oriented away from past practices, and to the oppression and domination typical of the colonialist enterprise. Exploring the connections between the New World and the New Science, and the simultaneously emerging patterns of thought and forms of writing characteristic of modernity, Albanese insists that science is at its inception a form of power-knowledge, and that the modern and postmodern division of “Two Cultures,” the literary and the scientific, has its antecedents in the early modern world. New Science, New World makes an important contribution to feminist, new historicist, and cultural materialist debates about the extent to which the culture of seventeenth-century England is proto-modern. It will offer scholars and students from a wide range of fields a new critical model for historical practice.
Literary recognition is a technical term for a climactic plot device. Odysseys of Recognition claims that interpersonal recognition is constituted by performance, and brings performance theory into dialogue with poetics, politics, and philosophy. By observing Odysseus figures from Homer to Kleist, Ellwood Wiggins offers an alternative to conventional intellectual histories that situate the invention of the interior self in modernity. Through strategic readings of Aristotle, this elegantly written, innovative study recovers an understanding of interpersonal recognition that has become strange and counterintuitive. Penelope in Homer’s Odyssey offers a model for agency in ethical knowledge that has a lot to teach us today. Early modern and eighteenth-century characters, meanwhile, discover themselves not deep within an impenetrable self, but in the interpersonal space between people in the world. Recognition, Wiggins contends, is the moment in which epistemology and ethics coincide: in which what we know becomes manifest in what we do.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
The One King Lear
Sir Brian Vickers Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PR2819.V53 2016 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
In the 1980s influential scholars argued that Shakespeare revised King Lear in light of theatrical performance, resulting in two texts by the bard’s own hand. The two-text theory hardened into orthodoxy. Here Sir Brian Vickers makes the case that Shakespeare did not cut his original text. At stake is the way his greatest play is read and performed.
Normand Berlin University of Michigan Press, 1993 Library of Congress PS3529.N5Z567 1993 | Dewey Decimal 812.52
In O'Neill's Shakespeare , Normand Berlin explores the relationship of William Shakespeare and Eugene O'Neill through detailed, often surprising, intertextual readings of the two great playwrights' work. "Of course, it would have been impossible for O'Neill not to have been influenced by Shakespeare," acknowledges Berlin. But this is an influence of an unusual and extraordinary sort, "a family romance" that transcends their obvious differences—a romance that "takes in all O'Neill's life and art."
In the first book-length study of this crucial literary and dramatic relationship, Berlin probes far beyond the usual listing of allusions and references. This is the exploration of an "essential, basic, even natural" connection, in which Shakespeare is shown to have fundamentally shaped O'Neill's creative imagination. Following O'Neill's career chronologically, Berlin divides his study into two parts. The "first career" (culminating in Mourning Becomes Electra) is explored through recurring themes that evoke Shakespeare: the sea, black and white, and the family. O'Neill's "second career" (from Ah! Wilderness until the last plays) is examined through Shakespearean genre classifications: comedy, history, tragedy, and tragicomedy. Though always grounded in close textual readings, Berlin's analysis spirals outward to encompass O'Neill's artistic and psychological development and touches on the questions of tradition, transcendence, and human nature inevitably raised when such literary connections across history are drawn.
O'Neill's Shakespeare is more than a reminder that Shakespeare continues to haunt Western culture; it is a careful and fascinating analysis of a particular legacy in American drama. The book has insights to offer to specialists in Shakespeare and O'Neill, and to any reader interested in the transmission of ideas through Western culture. Berlin's study of the unconscious and conscious uses of Shakespeare by O'Neill provide a valuable new understanding of O'Neill's artistry. It is also an eloquent, thoughtful account that blends the transcendence of Shakespeare's influence with the particular ways in which every era must refashion Shakespeare so that "the past becomes the present."
During the past twenty years or so, Othello has become the Shakespearean tragedy that speaks most powerfully to our contemporary concerns. Focusing on race and gender (and on class, ethnicity, sexuality, and nationality), the play talks about what audiences want to talk about. Yet at the same time, as refracted through Iago, it forces us to hear what we do not want to hear; like the characters in the play, we become trapped in our own prejudicial malice and guilt.
Many ingenious theatrical worlds have been created for the fairy world of A Midsummer Night's Dream, from the baroque to the postmodern. This is the quintessential play for understanding the ways in which scenery, costumes, music, lighting, and playing spaces affect our experience of Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night's Dream also proves to be extraordinarily responsive to the cultural winds of each era, easily circulating a variety of sometimes competing social interests.
In his richly detailed, beautifully illustrated history of Shakespeare's most popular play—the first comprehensive study of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the theatre—Gary Jay Williams covers four hundred years of landmark productions in Europe, the United States, and Canada as well as important opera, dance, and film adaptations. Williams shows how the visual and musical vocabularies of production can be read as cultural texts and how these meditative texts determine this play's available meanings from generation to generation. His account, then, is the story of our imaginative and astonishing uses of Shakespeare's play.
Many famous theatre artists have been drawn to this play, and many of their productions have been turning points in theatre history. Williams offers detailed theatrical and cultural analyses of the productions of David Garrick, Ludwig Tieck, Elizabeth Vestris, Charles Kean, Harley Granville-Barker, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Max Reinhardt, Peter Brook, Liviu Ciulei, and other artists. His engaging, intelligent study will be invaluable to scholars and teachers of Shakespeare and theatre history and to professional directors, designers, critics, and actors.
•The Wedding-play Myth and the Dream in Full Play
•Shakespeare Absolute: Fairies, Gods, and Oranges in Purcell's Fairy Queen
•The Scenic Language of Empire
•These Antique Fables . . . These Fairy Toys”
•The National and Natural Dream
•The Dream of Modernism: The “New Hieroglyphic Language of Scenery” and the Theology of the Text
•The Dream of Modernism: The Sacred and the Secular
•Postmodernism: “The Fierce Vexation of a Dream”
In this richly textured multidisciplinary work, Steven Mullaney examines the cultural situation of popular drama in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Relying upon a dynamic model of cultural production, Mullaney defines an original and historically grounded perspective on the emergence of popular theater and illustrates the critical, revisionary role it played in the symbolic economy of Renaissance England.
Combining literary, historical, and broadly conceived cultural analysis, he investigates, among other topics, the period's exhaustive "rehearsal" of other cultures and its discomfiting apprehensions of the self; the politics of vanished forums for ideological production such as the wonder-cabinet and the leprosarium; the cultural poetics of royal entries; and the incontinent, uncanny language of treason. As Mullaney demonstrates, Shakespearean drama relied upon and embodied the marginal license of the popular stage and, as a result, provides us with powerful readings of the shifting bases of power, license, and theatricality in Elizabethan and Jacobean England.
"A major study, not merely of selected Shakespearean plays but of the very conditions of the possibility of Renaissance drama." --Louis Montrose, University of California, San Diego
"Mullaney's rich and engaged reading of the place of Shakespeare's stage represents the texture of early modern life and its cultural productions in the vivid tradition of annales history and brilliantly exemplifies his theoretical call for a poetics of culture." -- Shakespeare Quarterly
"Mullaney marshals an impressive range of cultural representations which, taken together, will undoubtedly force a reconsideration of the semiotics of the Elizabethan stage." --Times Higher Education Supplement
". . . something of a dramatic feat in cultural studies: literary critic Mullaney calls in a cast ranging from Clifford Geertz and Pierre Bourdieu to Raymond Williams, Mary Douglas, and Michel Foucault." --Contemporary Sociology
Steven Mullaney is Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan.
We have become used to looking at art from a stance of detachment. In order to be objective, we create a “mental space” between ourselves and the objects of our investigation, separating internal and external worlds. This detachment dates back to the early modern period, when researchers in a wide variety of fields tried to describe material objects as “things in themselves”—things, that is, without the admixture of imagination. Generations of scholars have heralded this shift as the Renaissance “discovery” of the observable world.
In Poetry in a World of Things, Rachel Eisendrath explores how poetry responded to this new detachment by becoming a repository for a more complex experience of the world. The book focuses on ekphrasis, the elaborate literary description of a thing, as a mode of resistance to this new empirical objectivity. Poets like Petrarch, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare crafted highly artful descriptions that recovered the threatened subjective experience of the material world. In so doing, these poets reflected on the emergence of objectivity itself as a process that was often darker and more painful than otherwise acknowledged. This highly original book reclaims subjectivity as a decidedly poetic and human way of experiencing the material world and, at the same time, makes a case for understanding art objects as fundamentally unlike any other kind of objects.
King Lear is perhaps the most fierce and moving play ever written. And yet there is a curious puzzle at its center. The figure to whom Shakespeare gives more lines than anyone except the king—Edgar—has often seemed little more than a blank, ignored and unloved, a belated moralizer who, try as he may, can never truly speak to the play’s savaged heart. He saves his blinded father from suicide, but even this act of care is shadowed by suspicions of evasiveness and bad faith.
In Poor Tom, Simon Palfrey asks us to go beyond any such received understandings—and thus to experience King Lear as never before. He argues that the part of Edgar is Shakespeare’s most radical experiment in characterization, and his most exhaustive model of both human and theatrical possibility. The key to the Edgar character is that he spends most of the play disguised, much of it as “Poor Tom of Bedlam,” and his disguises come to uncanny life. The Edgar role is always more than one person; it animates multitudes, past and present and future, and gives life to states of being beyond the normal reach of the senses—undead, or not-yet, or ghostly, or possible rather than actual. And because the Edgar role both connects and retunes all of the figures and scenes in King Lear, close attention to this particular part can shine stunning new light on how the whole play works.
The ultimate message of Palfrey’s bravura analysis is the same for readers or actors or audiences as it is for the characters in the play: see and listen feelingly; pay attention, especially when it seems as though there is nothing there.
A comprehensive treatment of Shakespeare's plays in clear prose, The Practical Shakespeare: The Plays in Practice and on the Page illuminates for a general audience how and why the plays work so well.Noting in detail the practical and physical limitations the Bard faced as he worked out the logistics of his plays, Colin Butler demonstrates how Shakespeare incorporated and exploited those limitations to his advantage: his management of entrances and exits; his characterization technique; his handling of scenes off stage; his control of audience responses; his organization of major scenes; and his use of prologues and choruses. A different aspect of the plays is covered in each chapter?and all chapters are free-standing, for separate consultation. For easy access, chapters also are subdivided, and each part has its own heading. Butler draws most of his examples from mainstream plays, such as Macbeth, Othello, and Much Ado About Nothing. He brings special focus to A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is treated as one of Shakespeare's most important plays. Butler supports his major points with quotations, so readers can understand an issue even if they are unfamiliar with the particular play being discussed. The author also cross-references dramatic devices among plays, increasing enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare's achievements.Clear, jargon-free, easy-to-use, and comprehensive, The Practical Shakespeare looks to the elements of stagecraft and playwriting as a conduit for students, teachers, and general audiences to engage with, understand, and appreciate the genius of Shakespeare. Colin Butler, previously the head of an English department at a British grammar school, lives in Canterbury, England, where he writes on literary subjects.
Part of a larger project to examine the Elizabethan politics of representation, Louis Montrose's The Purpose of Playing refigures the social and cultural context within which Elizabethan drama was created.
Montrose first locates the public and professional theater within the ideological and material framework of Elizabethan culture. He considers the role of the professional theater and theatricality in the cultural transformation that was concurrent with religious and socio-political change, and then concentrates upon the formal means by which Shakespeare's Elizabethan plays called into question the absolutist assertions of the Elizabethan state. Drawing dramatic examples from the genres of tragedy and history, Montrose finally focuses his cultural-historical perspective on A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Purpose of Playing elegantly demonstrates how language and literary imagination shape cultural value, belief, and understanding; social distinction and interaction; and political control and contestation.
When it was first published, Radical Tragedy was hailed as a groundbreaking reassessment of the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. An engaged reading of the past with compelling contemporary significance, Radical Tragedy remains a landmark study of Renaissance drama. The third edition of this critically acclaimed work includes a new foreword by Terry Eagleton and an extensive new introduction by the author.
The crises of faith that fractured Reformation Europe also caused crises of individual and collective identity. Structures of feeling as well as structures of belief were transformed; there was a reformation of social emotions as well as a Reformation of faith.
As Steven Mullaney shows in The Reformation of Emotions in the Age of Shakespeare, Elizabethan popular drama played a significant role in confronting the uncertainties and unresolved traumas of Elizabethan Protestant England. Shakespeare and his contemporaries—audiences as well as playwrights—reshaped popular drama into a new form of embodied social, critical, and affective thought. Examining a variety of works, from revenge plays to Shakespeare’s first history tetralogy and beyond, Mullaney explores how post-Reformation drama not only exposed these faultlines of society on stage but also provoked playgoers in the audience to acknowledge their shared differences. He demonstrates that our most lasting works of culture remain powerful largely because of their deep roots in the emotional landscape of their times.
Renaissance Drama, an annual interdisciplinary publication, is devoted to drama and performance as a central feature of Renaissance culture. The essays in each volume explore the traditional canon of drama, the significance of performance, broadly construed, to early modern culture, and the impact of new forms of interpretation on the study of Renaissance plays, theater, and performance.
Volume 38 includes essays that explore topics in early modern drama ranging from Shakespeare’s Jewish questions in The Merchant of Venice and the gender of rhetoric in Shakespeare’s sonnets and Jonson’s plays to improvisation in the commedia dell’arte and the rebirth of tragedy in 1940 Germany.
Renaissance Self-Fashioning is a study of sixteenth-century life and literature that spawned a new era of scholarly inquiry. Stephen Greenblatt examines the structure of selfhood as evidenced in major literary figures of the English Renaissance—More, Tyndale, Wyatt, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare—and finds that in the early modern period new questions surrounding the nature of identity heavily influenced the literature of the era. Now a classic text in literary studies, Renaissance Self-Fashioning continues to be of interest to students of the Renaissance, English literature, and the new historicist tradition, and this new edition includes a preface by the author on the book's creation and influence.
"No one who has read [Greenblatt's] accounts of More, Tyndale, Wyatt, and others can fail to be moved, as well as enlightened, by an interpretive mode which is as humane and sympathetic as it is analytical. These portraits are poignantly, subtly, and minutely rendered in a beautifully lucid prose alive in every sentence to the ambivalences and complexities of its subjects."—Harry Berger Jr., University of California, Santa Cruz
Renaissance Self-Fashioning is a study of sixteenth-century life and literature that spawned a new era of scholarly inquiry. Stephen Greenblatt examines the structure of selfhood as evidenced in major literary figures of the English Renaissance—More, Tyndale, Wyatt, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare—and finds that in the early modern period new questions surrounding the nature of identity heavily influenced the literature of the era. Now a classic text in literary studies, Renaissance Self-Fashioning continues to be of interest to students of the Renaissance, English literature, and the new historicist tradition, and this new edition includes a preface by the author on the book's creation and influence.
"No one who has read [Greenblatt's] accounts of More, Tyndale, Wyatt, and others can fail to be moved, as well as enlightened, by an interpretive mode which is as humane and sympathetic as it is analytical. These portraits are poignantly, subtly, and minutely rendered in a beautifully lucid prose alive in every sentence to the ambivalences and complexities of its subjects."—Harry Berger Jr., University of California, Santa Cruz
The term “secular” inspires thinking about disenchantment, periodization, modernity, and subjectivity. The essays in Sacred and Secular Transactions in the Age of Shakespeare argue that Shakespeare’s plays present “secularization” not only as a historical narrative of progress but also as a hermeneutic process that unleashes complex and often problematic transactions between sacred and secular. These transactions shape ideas about everything from pastoral government and performative language to wonder and the spatial imagination.
Thinking about Shakespeare and secularization also involves thinking about how to interpret history and temporality in the contexts of Shakespeare’s medieval past, the religious reformations of the sixteenth century, and the critical dispositions that define Shakespeare studies today. These essays reject a necessary opposition between “sacred” and “secular” and instead analyze how such categories intersect. In fresh analyses of plays ranging from Hamlet and The Tempest to All’s Well that Ends Well and All Is True, secularization emerges as an interpretive act that explores the cultural protocols of representation within both Shakespeare’s plays and the critical domains in which they are studied and taught.
The volume’s diverse disciplinary perspectives and theoretical approaches shift our focus from literal religion and doctrinal issues to such aspects of early modern culture as theatrical performance, geography, race, architecture, music, and the visual arts.
With a focus on the canonical institutions of Shakespeare and Chekhov, John Tulloch brings together for the first time new concepts of “the theatrical event” with live audience analysis. Using mainstream theatre productions from across the globe that were highly successful according to both critics and audiences, this book of case studies—ethnographies of production and reception—offers a combined cultural and media studies approach to analyzing theatre history, production, and audience.
Tulloch positions these concepts and methodologies within a broader current theatrical debate between postmodernity and risk modernity. He also describes the continuing history of Shakespeare and Chekhov as a series of stories “currently and locally told” in the context of a blurring of academic genres that frames the two writers. Drawn from research conducted over nearly a decade in Australia, Britain, and the U.S., Shakespeare and Chekhov in Production and Reception will be of interest to students and scholars of theatre studies, media studies, and audience research.
A meditation on the major plays of Shakespeare and the thorny art of literary translation, Shakespeare and the French Poet contains twelve essays from France's most esteemed critic and preeminent living poet, Yves Bonnefoy. Offering observations on Shakespeare's response to the spiritual crisis of his era as well as compelling insights on the practical and theoretical challenges of verse in translation, Bonnefoy delivers thoughtful, evocative essays penned in his characteristically powerful prose.
Translated specifically for an American readership, Shakespeare and the French Poet also features a new interview with Bonnefoy. For Shakespeare scholars, Bonnefoy enthusiasts, and students of literary translation, Shakespeare and the French Poet is a celebration of the global language of poetry and the art of "making someone else's voice live again in one's own."
William Shakespeare is inextricably linked with the law. Legal documents make up most of the records we have of his life, and trials, lawsuits, and legal terms permeate his plays. Gathering an extraordinary team of literary and legal scholars, philosophers, and even sitting judges, Shakespeare and the Law demonstrates that Shakespeare’s thinking about legal concepts and legal practice points to a deep and sometimes vexed engagement with the law’s technical workings, its underlying premises, and its social effects.
The book’s opening essays offer perspectives on law and literature that emphasize both the continuities and contrasts between the two fields. The second section considers Shakespeare’s awareness of common law thinking and common law practice, while the third inquires into Shakespeare’s general attitudes toward legal systems. The fourth part of the book looks at how law enters into conversation with issues of politics and community, whether in the plays, in Shakespeare’s world, or in our own world. Finally, a colloquy among Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Judge Richard Posner, Martha C. Nussbaum, and Richard Strier covers everything from the ghost in Hamlet to the nature of judicial discretion.
How do we recapture, or hold on to, the live performances we most love, and the talented artists and performers we most revere? Shakespeare and the Legacy of Loss tells the story of how 18th-century actors, novelists, and artists, key among them David Garrick, struggled with these questions through their reenactments of Shakespearean plays. For these artists, the resurgence of Shakespeare, a playwright whose works just decades earlier had nearly been erased, represented their own chance for eternal life. Despite the ephemeral nature of performance, Garrick and company would find a way to make Shakespeare, and through him the actor, rise again.
In chapters featuring Othello, Richard III, Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, and The Merchant of Venice, Emily Hodgson Anderson illuminates how Garrick’s performances of Shakespeare came to offer his contemporaries an alternative and even an antidote to the commemoration associated with the monument, the portrait, and the printed text. The first account to read 18th-century visual and textual references to Shakespeare alongside the performance history of his plays, this innovative study sheds new light on how we experience performance, and why we gravitate toward an art, and artists, we know will disappear.
The best conception of love, Marcus Nordlund contends, and hence the best framework for its literary analysis, must be a fusion of evolutionary, cultural, and historical explanation. It is within just such a bio-cultural nexus that Nordlund explores Shakespeare’s treatment of different forms of love. His approach leads to a valuable new perspective on Shakespearean love and, more broadly, on the interaction between our common humanity and our historical contingency as they are reflected, recast, transformed, or even suppressed in literary works.
After addressing critical issues about love, biology, and culture raised by his method, Nordlund considers four specific forms of love in seven of Shakespeare’s plays. Examining the vicissitudes of parental love in Titus Andronicus and Coriolanus, he argues that Shakespeare makes a sustained inquiry into the impact of culture and society upon the natural human affections. King Lear offers insight into the conflicted relationship between love and duty. In two problem plays about romantic love, Troilus and Cressida and All’s Well that Ends Well, the tension between individual idiosyncrasies and social consensus becomes especially salient. And finally, in Othello and The Winter’s Tale, Nordlund asks what Shakespeare can tell us about the dark avatar of jealousy.
"Rabkin selects The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Richard III, Macbeth, Coriolanus, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest as the plays on which to build his argument, and he teaches us a great deal about these plays. . . . To convince the unbelievingthat that the plays do mean, but that the meaning is coterminous with the experience of the plays themselves, Rabkin finds a strategy more subtle than thesis and rational argument, a strategy designed to make us see for ourselves why thematic descriptions are inadequate, see for ourselves tath the plays mean more than and statement about them can ever suggest." –Barbara A. Mowat, Auburn University
"Norman Rabkin's new book is a very different kind of good book. Elegantly spare, sharp, undogmatic. . . . The relationship between the perception of unity and the perception of artistic achievement is a basic conundrum, and it is one that Mr. Rabkin has courageously placed at the center of his discussion." –G. K. Hunter, Sewanee Review
"Rabkin's book is brilliant, taut, concise, beautifully argued, and sensitively responsive to the individuality of particular Shakespeare plays." –Anne Barton, New York Review of Books
Rated ‘Outstanding’ in the 2004 edition of University Press Books Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries
Samuel Crowl's Shakespeare at the Cineplex: The Kenneth Branagh Era is the first thorough exploration of the fifteen major Shakespeare films released since the surprising success of Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989). Crowl presents the rich variety of these films in the “long decade: between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.” The productions range from Hollywood-saturated films such as Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet and Michael Hoffman's A Midsummer Night's Dream to more modest, experimental offerings, such as Christine Edzard's As You Like It.
Now available in paperback, Shakespeare at the Cineplex will be welcome reading for fans, students, and scholars of Shakespeare in performance.
In this deeply stirring account, Jean Trounstine, who spent 10 years teaching at Framingham (MA) Women's Prison, focuses on six inmates who, each in her own way, discover in the power of Shakespeare a way to transcend the painful constraints of incarceration. Shakespeare Behind Bars is a powerful story about the redemptive power of art and education.
Originally published in cloth in 2001, the paperback includes a new foreword that will inspire all teachers who work with students others have deemed unteachable. A new afterword updates readers on the prison art's program -- and the author herself -- since 2001.
In Shakespeare, Brecht, and the Intercultural Sign renowned Brecht scholar Antony Tatlow uses drama to investigate cultural crossings and to show how intercultural readings or performances question the settled assumptions we bring to interpretations of familiar texts. Through a “textual anthropology” Tatlow examines the interplay between interpretations of Shakespeare and readings of Brecht, whose work he rereads in the light of theories of the social subject from Nietzsche to Derrida and in relation to East Asian culture, as well as practices within Chinese and Japanese theater that shape their versions of Shakespearean drama. Reflecting on how, why, and to what effect knowledges and styles of performance pollinate across cultures, Tatlow demonstrates that the employment of one culture’s material in the context of another defamiliarizes the conventions of representation in an act that facilitates access to what previously had been culturally repressed. By reading the intercultural, Tatlow shows, we are able not only to historicize the effects of those repressions that create a social unconscious but also gain access to what might otherwise have remained invisible. This remarkable study will interest students of cultural interaction and aesthetics, as well as readers interested in theater, Shakespeare, Brecht, China, and Japan.
Great halls and hovels, dove-houses and sheepcotes, mountain cells and seaside shelters—these are some of the spaces in which Shakespearean characters gather to dwell, and to test their connections with one another and their worlds. Julia Reinhard Lupton enters Shakespeare’s dwelling places in search of insights into the most fundamental human problems.
Focusing on five works (Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Winter’s Tale), Lupton remakes the concept of dwelling by drawing on a variety of sources, including modern design theory, Renaissance treatises on husbandry and housekeeping, and the philosophies of Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger. The resulting synthesis not only offers a new entry point into the contemporary study of environments; it also shows how Shakespeare’s works help us continue to make sense of our primal creaturely need for shelter.
In the interpretation of Shakespeare, wordplay has often been considered inconsequential, frequently reduced to a decorative "quibble." But in Shakespeare from the Margins: Language, Culture, Context, Patricia Parker, one of the most original interpreters of Shakespeare, argues that attention to Shakespearean wordplay reveals unexpected linkages, not only within and between plays but also between the plays and their contemporary culture.
Combining feminist and historical approaches with attention to the "matter" of language as well as of race and gender, Parker's brilliant "edification from the margins" illuminates much that has been overlooked, both in Shakespeare and in early modern culture. This book, a reexamination of popular and less familiar texts, will be indispensable to all students of Shakespeare and the early modern period.
Shakespeare in Kabul
Stephen Landrigan and Qais Akbar Omar Haus Publishing, 2012 Library of Congress PR3109.A44O53 2012 | Dewey Decimal 792.9209581
In 2005, a group of actors in Kabul performed Shakespeare's Love’s Labour's Lost to the cheers of Afghan audiences and the raves of foreign journalists. For the first time in years, men and women had appeared onstage together. The future held no limits, the actors believed. In this fast-moving, fondly told and frequently very funny account, Qais Akbar Omar and Stephen Landrigan capture the triumphs and foibles of the actors as they extend their Afghan passion for poetry to Shakespeare's.Both authors were part of the production. Qais, a journalist, served as Assistant Director and interpreter for Paris actress, Corinne Jaber, who had come to Afghanistan on holiday and returned to direct the play. Stephen, himself a playwright, assembled a team of Afghan translators to fashion a script in Dari as poetic as Shakespeare's. This chronicle of optimism plays out against the heartbreak of knowing that things in Afghanistan have not turned out the way the actors expected.
In this lively study of both modern film and stage productions of Shakespeare, Samuel Crowl provides fascinating insights into the ways in which these productions have been influenced by one another as well as by contemporary developments in critical approaches to Shakespeare's plays.
Crowl’s study demonstrates the surprising resonances between Roman Polanski's 1971 film of Macbeth and Adrian Noble's heralded recent production of the play for The Royal Shakespeare Company; argues that Orson Welles's films of Othello and Cabins at Midnight are not only brilliant remaining of Shakespeare in another art form but make a powerful contribution to our contemporary understanding of performance as interpretation; and chronicles the impact of Peter Hall's creation of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960 on performance approaches to Shakespeare in the past thirty years.
Shakespeare Observed provides full interpretative readings of key recent Shakespeare productions in England and includes an intimate behind-the-scenes glimpse into the rehearsal process which produced Ron Daniels's emotionally charged version of Romeo and Juliet for the RSC in 1980. The final chapter uses Kenneth Branagh's highly successful film of Henry V as a summary example of the trends and influences Crowl's study traces, seeing the film as gathering its interpretative energies from both Olivier's famous film version of the play and Adrian Noble's stage production featuring Branagh as the king.
Written in a style which places a premium on capturing the vivid and often dazzling moments of stage and film performances of Shakespeare, Crowl's study will be of interest to the avid film and theatergoer as well as to the scholar and student. Shakespeare Observed joins a growing list of recent critical works which have significantly expanded and redefined the boundaries of Shakespeare studies in our time.
"No one can make us love love as much as Shakespeare, and no one can make us despair of it as effectively as he does." William Shakespeare is the only classical author to remain widely popular—not only in America but throughout the world—and Allan Bloom argues that this is because no other writer holds up a truer mirror to human nature. Unlike the Romantics and other moderns, Shakespeare has no project for the betterment or salvation of mankind—his poetry simply gives us eyes to see what is there. In particular, we see the full variety of erotic connections, from the "star-crossed" devotions of Romeo and Juliet to the failed romance of Troilus and Cressida to the problematic friendship of Falstaff and Hal.
This volume includes essays on five plays, Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and The Winter's Tale, and within these Bloom meditates on Shakespeare's work as a whole. He also draws on his formidable knowledge of Plato, Rousseau, and others to bring both ancients and moderns into the conversation. The result is a truly synoptic treatment of eros—not only a philosophical reflection on Shakespeare, but a survey of the human spirit and its tendency to seek what Bloom calls the "connectedness" of love and friendship.
These highly original interpretations of the plays convey a deep respect for their author and a deep conviction that we still have much to learn from him. In Bloom's view, we live in a love-impoverished age; he asks us to turn once more to Shakespeare because the playwright gives us a rich version of what is permanent in human nature without sharing our contemporary assumptions about erotic love.
"Provocative and illuminating." —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"A brilliant analysis of the erotic ugliness and the balancing erotic grace of The Winter's Tale . . . and Bloom makes more sense of [Measure for Measure] than anyone else I have read." —A. S. Byatt, Washington Post Book World
At his death in 1992, Allan Bloom was the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including Shakespeare's Politics (with Harry V. Jaffa) and The Closing of the American Mind.
The professional Yiddish theatre started in 1876 in Eastern Europe; with the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, masses of Eastern European Jews began moving westward, and New York—Manhattan’s Bowery and Second Avenue—soon became the world’s center of Yiddish theatre. At first the Yiddish repertoire revolved around comedies, operettas, and melodramas, but by the early 1890s America's Yiddish actors were wild about Shakespeare. In Shakespeare on the American Yiddish Stage, Joel Berkowitz knowledgeably and intelligently constructs the history of this unique theatrical culture.
The Jewish King Lear of 1892 was a sensation. The year 1893 saw the beginning of a bevy of Yiddish versions of Hamlet; that year also saw the first Yiddish production of Othello.Romeo and Juliet inspired a wide variety of treatments. The Merchant of Venice was the first Shakespeare play published in Yiddish, and Jacob Adler received rave reviews as Shylock on Broadway in both 1903 and 1905. Berkowitz focuses on these five plays in his five chapters. His introduction provides an orientation to the Yiddish theatre district in New York as well as the larger picture of Shakespearean production and the American theatre scene, and his conclusion summarizes the significance of Shakespeare’s plays in Yiddish culture.
Jeffrey Knapp University of Chicago Press, 2009 Library of Congress PR2937.K59 2009 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
Three decades of controversy in Shakespeare studies can be summed up in a single question: Was Shakespeare one of a kind? On one side of the debate are the Shakespeare lovers, the bardolatrists, who insist on Shakespeare’s timeless preeminence as an author. On the other side are the theater historians who view modern claims of Shakespeare’s uniqueness as a distortion of his real professional life.
In Shakespeare Only, Knapp draws on an extraordinary array of historical evidence to reconstruct Shakespeare’s authorial identity as Shakespeare and his contemporaries actually understood it. He argues that Shakespeare tried to adapt his own singular talent and ambition to the collaborative enterprise of drama by imagining himself as uniquely embodying the diverse, fractious energies of the popular theater. Rewriting our current histories of authorship as well as Renaissance drama, Shakespeare Only recaptures a sense of the creative force that mass entertainment exerted on Shakespeare and that Shakespeare exerted on mass entertainment.
For the Renaissance, all the world may have been a stage and all its people players, but Shakespeare was also an actor on the literal stage. Meredith Anne Skura asks what it meant to be an actor in Shakespeare's England and shows why a knowledge of actual theatrical practices is essential for understanding both Shakespeare's plays and the theatricality of everyday life in early modern England.
Despite the obvious differences between our theater and Shakespeare's, sixteenth-century testimony suggests that the experience of acting has not changed much over the centuries. Beginning with a psychoanalytically informed account of acting today, Skura shows how this intense and ambivalent experience appears not only in literal references to acting in Shakespearean drama but also in recurring narrative concerns, details of language, and dramatic strategies used to engage the audience. Looking at the plays in the context of both public and private worlds outside the theater, Skura rereads the canon to identify new configurations in the plays and new ways of understanding theatrical self-consciousness in Renaissance England. Rich in theatrical, psychoanalytic, biographical, and historical insight, this book will be invaluable to students of Shakespeare and instructive to all readers interested in the dynamics of performance.
In Shakespeare the Illusionist, Neil Forsyth reviews the history of Shakespeare’s plays on film, using the basic distinction in film tradition between what is owed to Méliès and what to the Lumière brothers. He then tightens his focus on those plays that include some explicit magical or supernatural elements—Puck and the fairies, ghosts and witches, or Prospero’s island, for example—and sets out methodically, but with an easy touch, to review all the films that have adapted those comedies and dramas, into the present day.
Forsyth’s aim is not to offer yet another answer as to whether Shakespeare would have written for the screen if he were alive today, but rather to assess what various filmmakers and TV directors have in fact made of the spells, haunts, and apparitions in his plays. From analyzing early camera tricks to assessing contemporary handling of the supernatural, Forsyth reads Shakespeare films for how they use the techniques of moviemaking to address questions of illusion and dramatic influence. In doing so, he presents a bold step forward in Shakespeare and film studies, and his fresh take is presented in lively, accessible language that makes the book ideal for classroom use.
In Shakespearean Cultures, René Girard’s ideas on violence and the sacred inform an innovative analysis of contemporary Latin America. Castro Rocha proposes a new theoretical framework based upon the “poetics of emulation” and offers a groundbreaking approach to understanding the asymmetries of the modern world. Shakespearean cultures are those whose self-perception originates in the gaze of a hegemonic Other. The poetics of emulation is a strategy developed in situations of asymmetrical power relations. This strategy encompasses an array of procedures employed by artists, intellectuals, and writers situated at the less-favored side of such exchanges, whether they be cultural, political, or economic in nature. The framework developed in this book yields thought-provoking readings of canonical authors such as William Shakespeare, Gustave Flaubert, and Joseph Conrad. At the same time, it favors the insertion of Latin American authors into the comparative scope of world literature, and stages an unprecedented dialogue among European, North American, and Latin American readers of René Girard’s work.
Just as Shakespeare's theater was an economic gamble, subject to the workings of a market, so the plays themselves submit actions, persons, and motives to an audience's judgment. Such a theatrical economy, Lars Engle suggests, provides a model for the way in which truth is determined and assessed in the world at large—a model much like that offered by contemporary pragmatism.
To Engle, the problems of worth, price, and value that appear so frequently in Shakespeare's works reveal a playwright dramatizing the negotiable nature of perception and belief—in short, the nature of his audience's purchase on reality. This innovative argument is the first to view Shakespeare in the context of contemporary pragmatism and to show that Shakespeare in many ways anticipated pragmatism as it has been developed in the thought of Richard Rorty, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, and others. With detailed reference to the sonnets and plays, Engle explores Shakespeare's tendency to treat knowledge, truth, and certainty as relatively stable goods within a theatrical economy of social interaction. He shows the playwright recasting kingship, aristocracy, and poetic immortality in pragmatic terms.
As attentive to history as it is to contemporary theory, this book mediates between current and traditional accounts of Shakespeare. In doing so, it offers a sweeping new account of Shakespeare's enterprise that will interest philosophers, literary theorists, and Shakespeare scholars alike.
Stuart Elden University of Chicago Press, 2018 Library of Congress PR3014.E48 2018 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
Shakespeare was an astute observer of contemporary life, culture, and politics. The emerging practice of territory as a political concept and technology did not elude his attention. In Shakespearean Territories, Stuart Elden reveals just how much Shakespeare’s unique historical position and political understanding can teach us about territory. Shakespeare dramatized a world of technological advances in measuring, navigation, cartography, and surveying, and his plays open up important ways of thinking about strategy, economy, the law, and colonialism, providing critical insight into a significant juncture in history. Shakespeare’s plays explore many territorial themes: from the division of the kingdom in King Lear, to the relations among Denmark, Norway, and Poland in Hamlet, to questions of disputed land and the politics of banishment in Richard II. Elden traces how Shakespeare developed a nuanced understanding of the complicated concept and practice of territory and, more broadly, the political-geographical relations between people, power, and place. A meticulously researched study of over a dozen classic plays, Shakespearean Territories will provide new insights for geographers, political theorists, and Shakespearean scholars alike.
Shakespeare’s Dramatic Transactions uses conventions of performance criticism—staging and theatrical presentation—to analyze seven major Shakespearean tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Richard II, and Richard III. As scholars and readers increasingly question the theoretical models used to describe the concepts of “mimesis” and “representation,” this book describes how the actor’s stage presentation affects the actor’s representational role and the ways in which viewers experience Shakespearean tragedy. Michael Mooney draws on the work of East German critic Robert Weimann and his concept of figurenposition—the correlation between an actor’s stage location and the speech, action, and stylization associated with that position—to understand the actor/stage location relationship in Shakespeare’s plays. In his examination of the original staging of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Mooney looks at the traditional interplay between a downstage “place” and upstage “location” to describe the difference between non-illusionistic action (often staged near the audience) and the illusionistic, localized action that characterizes mimetic art. The innovative and insightful approach of Shakespeare’s Dramatic Transactions brings together the techniques of performance criticism and the traditional literary study of Shakespearean tragedy. In showing how the distinctions of stage location illuminate the interaction among language, representation, Mooney’s compelling argument enhances our understanding of Shakespeare and the theater.
Stephen Greenblatt University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress PR2976.G738 2010 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
Shakespeare lived in a world of absolutes—of claims for the absolute authority of scripture, monarch, and God, and the authority of fathers over wives and children, the old over the young, and the gentle over the baseborn. With the elegance and verve for which he is well known, Stephen Greenblatt, author of the best-selling Will in the World, shows that Shakespeare was strikingly averse to such absolutes and constantly probed the possibility of freedom from them. Again and again, Shakespeare confounds the designs and pretensions of kings, generals, and churchmen. His aversion to absolutes even leads him to probe the exalted and seemingly limitless passions of his lovers.
Greenblatt explores this rich theme by addressing four of Shakespeare’s preoccupations across all the genres in which he worked. He first considers the idea of beauty in Shakespeare’s works, specifically his challenge to the cult of featureless perfection and his interest in distinguishing marks. He then turns to Shakespeare’s interest in murderous hatred, most famously embodied in Shylock but seen also in the character Bernardine in Measure for Measure. Next Greenblatt considers the idea of Shakespearean authority—that is, Shakespeare’s deep sense of the ethical ambiguity of power, including his own. Ultimately, Greenblatt takes up Shakespearean autonomy, in particular the freedom of artists, guided by distinctive forms of perception, to live by their own laws and to claim that their creations are singularly unconstrained.
A book that could only have been written by Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespeare’s Freedom is a wholly original and eloquent meditation by the most acclaimed and influential Shakespearean of our time.
Jonathan Goldberg University of Minnesota Press, 2002 Library of Congress PR2976.G578 2003 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
A provocative exploration of the relationship between gender, history, and Shakespeare's plays.
Over the past fifteen years, Jonathan Goldberg's wide-ranging essays have been among the most sophisticated, influential, and controversial writing about Shakespeare. He challenges the critical orthodoxy, provoking scholars to reassess both their own assumptions and those underpinning the field of Shakespeare studies. Collected in one volume for the first time, these essays offer a sustained, energetic, and rigorous examination of issues of gender and sexuality that pervade Shakespeare's plays, as well as a road map of the shifts during the past two decades in our understanding of English literature's most canonical figure.
Central to these essays are concerns about textuality as considered from a number of vantage points, including deconstructionist, psychoanalytic, and historicist. Goldberg studies most of Shakespeare's plays, giving particular emphasis to Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and to Romeo and Juliet; he focuses throughout on the relationship between the text as material object and the reality created or reflected by that text. Among the issues he considers are the textual instability of Shakespeare's plays and the historical instabilities of gender and sexuality depicted in those plays, the construction of gender and the dehumanization implicit in treating characters as a textual production, the function of letters and other documents within the Shakespearean texts, and the correlation of sexual politics and textual desire.
Tracing a path from characters in the scriptive sense to their embodiment in characters marked by gender and sexuality, Shakespeare's Hand provides a brilliant set of inquiries into the production, critical reception, and conditions of Shakespearean texts.
Jonathan Goldberg is the Sir William Osler Professor of English Literature at The Johns Hopkins University. His previous books include Desiring Women Writing (1997), Sodometries (1992), Writing Matter (1990), and, as editor, Reclaiming Sodom (1994) and Queering the Renaissance (1994).
Shakespeare’s Legal Ecologies offers the first sustained examination of the relationship between law and selfhood in Shakespeare’s work. Taking five plays and the sonnets as case studies, Kevin Curran argues that law provided Shakespeare with the conceptual resources to imagine selfhood in social and distributed terms, as a product of interpersonal exchange or as a gathering of various material forces. In the course of these discussions, Curran reveals Shakespeare’s distinctly communitarian vision of personal and political experience, the way he regarded living, thinking, and acting in the world as materially and socially embedded practices.
At the center of the book is Shakespeare’s fascination with questions that are fundamental to both law and philosophy: What are the sources of agency? What counts as a person? For whom am I responsible, and how far does that responsibility extend? What is truly mine? Curran guides readers through Shakespeare’s responses to these questions, paying careful attention to both historical and intellectual contexts.
The result is a book that advances a new theory of Shakespeare’s imaginative relationship to law and an original account of law’s role in the ethical work of his plays and sonnets. Readers interested in Shakespeare, theater and philosophy, law, and the history of ideas will find Shakespeare’s Legal Ecologies to be an essential resource.
What does it mean to have an emotional response to poetry and music? And, just as important but considered less often, what does it mean not to have such a response? What happens when lyric utterances—which should invite consolation, revelation, and connection—somehow fall short of the listener’s expectations?
As Seth Lerer shows in this pioneering book, Shakespeare’s late plays invite us to contemplate that very question, offering up lyric as a displaced and sometimes desperate antidote to situations of duress or powerlessness. Lerer argues that the theme of lyric misalignment running throughout The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, Henry VIII, and Cymbeline serves a political purpose, a last-ditch effort at transformation for characters and audiences who had lived through witch-hunting, plague, regime change, political conspiracies, and public executions.
A deep dive into the relationship between aesthetics and politics, this book also explores what Shakespearean lyric is able to recuperate for these “victims of history” by virtue of its disjointed utterances. To this end, Lerer establishes the concept of mythic lyricism: an estranging use of songs and poetry that functions to recreate the past as present, to empower the mythic dead, and to restore a bit of magic to the commonplaces and commodities of Jacobean England. Reading against the devotion to form and prosody common in Shakespeare scholarship, Lerer’s account of lyric utterance’s vexed role in his late works offers new ways to understand generational distance and cultural change throughout the playwright’s oeuvre.
Kenneth Gross University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress PR3072.G76 2001 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
"You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate / As reek o'th'rotten fens, whose loves I prize / As the dead carcasses of unburied men / That do corrupt my air: I banish you!" (from Coriolanus)
Kenneth Gross explores Shakespeare's deep fascination with dangerous and disorderly forms of speaking—especially rumor, slander, insult, vituperation, and curse—and through them offers a vision of the work of words in his plays. Coriolanus's taunts or Lear's curses force us to think not just about how Shakespeare's characters speak, but also about how they hear, overhear, and mishear what is spoken, how rumor becomes tragic knowledge for Hamlet, or opens Othello to fantastic jealousies. Gross also shows how Shakespeare's preoccupation with "noisy" speech echoed and transformed a broader cultural obsession with the perils of rumor, slander, and libel in Renaissance England.
Elegantly written and passionately argued, Shakespeare's Noise will challenge and delight anyone who loves his plays, from scholars to general readers, actors, and directors.
Allan Bloom University of Chicago Press, 1981 Library of Congress PR3017.B55 1981 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
Taking the classical view that the political shapes man's consciousness, Allan Bloom considers Shakespeare as a profoundly political Renaissance dramatist. He aims to recover Shakespeare's ideas and beliefs and to make his work once again a recognized source for the serious study of moral and political problems.
In essays looking at Julius Caesar, Othello, and The Merchant of Venice, Bloom shows how Shakespeare presents a picture of man that does not assume privileged access for only literary criticism. With this claim, he argues that political philosophy offers a comprehensive framework within which the problems of the Shakespearean heroes can be viewed. In short, he argues that Shakespeare was an eminently political author. Also included is an essay by Harry V. Jaffa on the limits of politics in King Lear.
"A very good book indeed . . . one which can be recommended to all who are interested in Shakespeare." —G. P. V. Akrigg
"This series of essays reminded me of the scope and depth of Shakespeare's original vision. One is left with the impression that Shakespeare really had figured out the answers to some important questions many of us no longer even know to ask."-Peter A. Thiel, CEO, PayPal, Wall Street Journal
Allan Bloom was the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor on the Committee on Social Thought and the co-director of the John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy at the University of Chicago. Harry V. Jaffa is professor emeritus at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate School.
Joseph Westlund brings recent developments in psychoanalytic thought to his elegant and sensitive readings of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, All's Well That Ends Well, and Measure for Measure. Westlund departs from the usual preoccupation in psychoanalytic criticism with conflict and guilt to rely instead on Melanie Klein's theory of reparation, which emphasizes the impulse in life to resolve and transcend conflict. Through interpretations that are new and convincing, Westlund views the interactions of characters in the six comedies as attempts to work through anger and guilt to effect reparations for themselves and for us.
Paul A. Cantor first probed Shakespeare’s Roman plays—Coriolanus, Julius Caeser, and Antony and Cleopatra—in his landmark Shakespeare’s Rome (1976). With Shakespeare’s Roman Trilogy, he now argues that these plays form an integrated trilogy that portrays the tragedy not simply of their protagonists but of an entire political community.
Cantor analyzes the way Shakespeare chronicles the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and the emergence of the Roman Empire. The transformation of the ancient city into a cosmopolitan empire marks the end of the era of civic virtue in antiquity, but it also opens up new spiritual possibilities that Shakespeare correlates with the rise of Christianity and thus the first stirrings of the medieval and the modern worlds.
More broadly, Cantor places Shakespeare’s plays in a long tradition of philosophical speculation about Rome, with special emphasis on Machiavelli and Nietzsche, two thinkers who provide important clues on how to read Shakespeare’s works. In a pathbreaking chapter, he undertakes the first systematic comparison of Shakespeare and Nietzsche on Rome, exploring their central point of contention: Did Christianity corrupt the Roman Empire or was the corruption of the Empire the precondition of the rise of Christianity? Bringing Shakespeare into dialogue with other major thinkers about Rome, Shakespeare’s Roman Trilogy reveals the true profundity of the Roman Plays.
For more than forty years, Paul Cantor’s Shakespeare’s Rome has been a foundational work in the field of politics and literature. While many critics assumed that the Roman plays do not reflect any special knowledge of Rome, Cantor was one of the first to argue that they are grounded in a profound understanding of the Roman regime and its changes over time. Taking Shakespeare seriously as a political thinker, Cantor suggests that his Roman plays can be profitably studied in the context of the classical republican tradition in political philosophy.
In Shakespeare’s Rome, Cantor examines the political settings of Shakespeare’s Roman plays, Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra, with references as well to Julius Caesar. Cantor shows that Shakespeare presents a convincing portrait of Rome in different eras of its history, contrasting the austere republic of Coriolanus, with its narrow horizons and martial virtues, and the cosmopolitan empire of Antony and Cleopatra, with its “immortal longings” and sophistication bordering on decadence.
Most contemporary critics characterize Shakespeare and his tribe of fellow playwrights and players as resolutely secular, interested in religion only as a matter of politics or as a rival source of popular entertainment. Yet as Jeffrey Knapp demonstrates in this radical new reading, a surprising number of writers throughout the English Renaissance, including Shakespeare himself, represented plays as supporting the cause of true religion.
To be sure, Renaissance playwrights rarely sermonized in their plays, which seemed preoccupied with sex, violence, and crime. During a time when acting was regarded as a kind of vice, many theater professionals used their apparent godlessness to advantage, claiming that it enabled them to save wayward souls the church could not otherwise reach. The stage, they argued, made possible an ecumenical ministry, which would help transform Reformation England into a more inclusive Christian society.
Drawing on a variety of little-known as well as celebrated plays, along with a host of other documents from the English Renaissance, Shakespeare's Tribe changes the way we think about Shakespeare and the culture that produced him.
Winner of the Best Book in Literature and Language from the Association of American Publishers' Professional/Scholarly division, the Conference on Christianity and Literature Book Award, and the Roland H. Bainton Prize for Literature from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference.
Shakesqueer puts the most exciting queer theorists in conversation with the complete works of William Shakespeare. Exploring what is odd, eccentric, and unexpected in the Bard’s plays and poems, these theorists highlight not only the many ways that Shakespeare can be queered but also the many ways that Shakespeare can enrich queer theory. This innovative anthology reveals an early modern playwright insistently returning to questions of language, identity, and temporality, themes central to contemporary queer theory. Since many of the contributors do not study early modern literature, Shakesqueer takes queer theory back and brings Shakespeare forward, challenging the chronological confinement of queer theory to the last two hundred years. The book also challenges conceptual certainties that have narrowly equated queerness with homosexuality. Chasing all manner of stray desires through every one of Shakespeare’s plays and poems, the contributors cross temporal, animal, theoretical, and sexual boundaries with abandon. Claiming adherence to no one school of thought, the essays consider The Winter’s Tale alongside network TV, Hamlet in relation to the death drive, King John as a history of queer theory, and Much Ado About Nothing in tune with a Sondheim musical. Together they expand the reach of queerness and queer critique across chronologies, methodologies, and bodies.
Contributors. Matt Bell, Amanda Berry, Daniel Boyarin, Judith Brown, Steven Bruhm, Peter Coviello, Julie Crawford, Drew Daniel, Mario DiGangi, Lee Edelman, Jason Edwards, Aranye Fradenburg, Carla Freccero, Daniel Juan Gil, Jonathan Goldberg, Jody Greene, Stephen Guy-Bray, Ellis Hanson, Sharon Holland, Cary Howie, Lynne Huffer, Barbara Johnson, Hector Kollias, James Kuzner , Arthur L. Little Jr., Philip Lorenz, Heather Love, Jeffrey Masten, Robert McRuer , Madhavi Menon, Michael Moon, Paul Morrison, Andrew Nicholls, Kevin Ohi, Patrick R. O’Malley, Ann Pellegrini, Richard Rambuss, Valerie Rohy, Bethany Schneider, Kathryn Schwarz, Laurie Shannon, Ashley T. Shelden, Alan Sinfield, Bruce Smith, Karl Steel, Kathryn Bond Stockton, Amy Villarejo, Julian Yates
Shylock Is Shakespeare
Kenneth Gross University of Chicago Press, 2006 Library of Congress PR2825.G763 2006 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
Shylock, the Jewish moneylender in The Merchant of Venice who famously demands a pound of flesh as security for a loan to his antisemitic tormentors, is one of Shakespeare’s most complex and idiosyncratic characters. With his unsettling eloquence and his varying voices of protest, play, rage, and refusal, Shylock remains a source of perennial fascination. What explains the strange and enduring force of this character, so unlike that of any other in Shakespeare’s plays? Kenneth Gross posits that the figure of Shylock is so powerful because he is the voice of Shakespeare himself.
Marvelously speculative and articulate, Gross’s book argues that Shylock is a breakthrough for Shakespeare the playwright, an early realization of the Bard’s power to create dramatic voices that speak for hidden, unconscious, even inhuman impulses—characters larger than the plays that contain them and ready to escape the author’s control. Shylock is also a mask for Shakespeare’s own need, rage, vulnerability, and generosity, giving form to Shakespeare’s ambition as an author and his uncertain bond with the audience. Gross’s vision of Shylock as Shakespeare’s covert double leads to a probing analysis of the character’s peculiar isolation, ambivalence, opacity, and dark humor. Addressing the broader resonance of Shylock, both historical and artistic, Gross examines the character’s hold on later readers and writers, including Heinrich Heine and Philip Roth, suggesting that Shylock mirrors the ambiguous states of Jewishness in modernity.
A bravura critical performance, Shylock Is Shakespeare will fascinate readers with its range of reference, its union of rigor and play, and its conjectural—even fictive—means of coming to terms with the question of Shylock, ultimately taking readers to the very heart of Shakespeare’s humanizing genius.
Renaissance formulations of friendship typically cast the friend as "another self" and idealized a pair of friends as "one soul in two bodies." Laurie Shannon's Sovereign Amity puts this stress on the likeness of friends into context and offers a historical account of its place in English culture and politics.
Shannon demonstrates that the likeness of sex and station urged in friendship enabled a civic parity not present in other social forms. Early modern friendship was nothing less than a utopian political discourse. It preceded the advent of liberal thought, and it made its case in the terms of gender, eroticism, counsel, and kingship. To show the power of friendship in early modernity, Shannon ranges widely among translations of classical essays; the works of Elizabeth I, Montaigne, Donne, and Bacon; and popular literature, to focus finally on the plays of Shakespeare. Her study will interest scholars of literature, history, gender, sexuality, and political thought, and anyone interested in a general account of the English Renaissance.
Speaking in Shakespeare's Voice: A Guide for American Actors is a book for undergraduate and graduate students of acting as well as for the professional who would like to perform Shakespeare with the skill of a classical actor. It is also valuable for European actors interested in performing Shakespeare in American English and British actors who would like to explore Shakespeare from an American perspective.
This guide focuses on the technical elements of voice and speech, including breathing, resonance, and diction, as well as providing an introduction to verse speaking and scansion and to Shakespeare’s rhetorical devices, such as antithesis, alliteration, onomatopoeia, irony, metaphor, and wordplay. These topics are annotated with examples from Shakespeare’s plays to demonstrate how an actor can apply the lessons to actual performance. The book also explores the history of Shakespearean performance in the United States and provides guidance on current editions of Shakespeare’s text from the Folio to online Open Source Shakespeare. A helpful appendix offers examples of two-person scenes and contextualized monologues.
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.
What is a person? What company do people keep with animals, plants, and things? Such questions—bearing fundamentally on the shared meaning of politics and life—animate Shakespearean drama, yet their urgency has often been obscured. Julia Reinhard Lupton gently dislodges Shakespeare’s plays from their historical confines to pursue their universal implications. From Petruchio’s animals and Kate’s laundry to Hamlet’s friends and Caliban’s childhood, Lupton restages thinking in Shakespeare as an embodied act of consent, cure, and care. Thinking with Shakespeare encourages readers to ponder matters of shared concern with the playwright by their side. Taking her cue from Hannah Arendt, Lupton reads Shakespeare for fresh insights into everything from housekeeping and animal husbandry to biopower and political theology.
Many readers first encounter Shakespeare’s plays in a book rather than a theater. Yet Shakespeare was through and through a man of the stage. So what do we lose when we leave Shakespeare the practitioner behind, and what do we learn when we think about his plays as dramas to be performed?
David Bevington answers these questions with This Wide and Universal Theater, which explores how Shakespeare’s plays were produced both in his own time and in succeeding centuries. Making use of historical documents and the play scripts themselves, Bevington brings Shakespeare’s original stagings to life. He explains how the Elizabethan playhouse conveyed a sense of place using minimal scenery, from the Forest of Arden in As You Like It to the tavern in Henry IV, Part I. Moving beyond Shakespeare’s lifetime, Bevington shows the prodigious lengths to which eighteenth- and nineteenth-century companies went to produce spectacular effects, from flying witches in Macbeth to terrifying storms punctuating King Lear. To bring the book into the present, Bevington considers recent productions on both stage and screen, when character and language have taken precedence over spectacle. This volume brings a lifetime of study to bear on a remarkably underappreciated aspect of Shakespeare’s art.
“An eminent Shakespeare scholar and author, Bevington offers a concise, lucid, and unique overview of the history of Shakespeare in various modes of performance, from stage to film to television.”—Choice
“Even veteran Shakespeareans will profit from the varied reminders of how important performance and staging have always been to the interpretation of the plays.”—Renaissance Quarterly
The peculiar dilemma of the self in our era has been noted by a wide range of writers, even as they have emphasized different aspects of that dilemma, such as the self’s alienation, disorientation, inflation, or fragmentation. In The Self: Beyond the Postmodern Crisis, Paul C. Vitz and Susan M. Felch bring together scholars from the disciplines of psychology, philosophy, theology, literature, biology, and physics to address the inadequacies of modern and postmodern selves and, ultimately, to suggest what an alternative, “transmodern” account of the self might look like. The transmodern self, the editors argue, acknowledges meaning and purpose transcending the individual. In other words, it reflects an understanding of the human person that is not only intimately connected with the Judeo-Christian tradition but also rejects the twin delusions of absolute autonomy and cosmic meaninglessness that mark the present age.
In this innovative union of textual studies and performance criticism, Laurie Osborne explores the important ways in which an apparently single, unproblematic text is in fact multiple and various. Through a close analysis of the performance editions of Twelfth Night, she argues that the complex interaction between text and performance establishes a comedy as a work realized within changing social and erotic constructions.
Because it appears in a relatively clean and dated version in the Folio, Twelfth Night seems to be exempt from arguments for variant texts—but there are significant and persistent variations represented in the performance editions. Osborne's careful reading of these provides a crucial bridge linking theatre history and textual criticism. She employs a wide variety of approaches and disciplines—Shakespearean and Renaissance studies, theatre history, gender studies, contemporary literary criticism, and cultural history—to provide a fresh and engaging yet rigorous view.
Although she focuses on Twelfth Night, Osborne's argument applies more broadly to the history of performance and criticism, including a chapter on video versions of the play. Widely read in Shakespearean and Renaissance scholarship, she employs her archival research in promptbooks, the publishing history of the plays, and the history of Shakespearean production to accomplish a major job of scholarly integration and analysis of Shakespearean drama in performance.
Who during the Renaissance could have dissented from the values of reason and restraint, patience and humility, rejection of the worldly and the physical? These widely articulated values were part of the inherited Christian tradition and were reinforced by key elements in the Renaissance, especially the revival of Stoicism and Platonism. This book is devoted to those who did dissent from them. Richard Strier reveals that many long-recognized major texts did question the most traditional values and uncovers a Renaissance far more bumptious and affirmative than much recent scholarship has allowed.
The Unrepentant Renaissance counters the prevalent view of the period as dominated by the regulation of bodies and passions, aiming to reclaim the Renaissance as an era happily churning with surprising, worldly, and self-assertive energies. Reviving the perspective of Jacob Burckhardt and Nietzsche, Strier provides fresh and uninhibited readings of texts by Petrarch, More, Shakespeare, Ignatius Loyola, Montaigne, Descartes, and Milton. Strier’s lively argument will stir debate throughout the field of Renaissance studies.
In The Vanishing Christopher Pye combines psychoanalytic and cultural theory to advance an innovative interpretation of Renaissance history and subjectivity. Locating the emergence of the modern subject in the era’s transition from feudalism to a modern societal state, Pye supports his argument with interpretations of diverse cultural and literary phenomena, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet and King Lear, witchcraft and demonism, anatomy theaters, and the paintings of Michelangelo. Pye explores the emergence of the early modern subject in terms of a range of subjectivizing mechanisms tied to the birth of a modern conception of history, one that is structured around a spatial and temporal horizon—a vanishing point. He also discusses the distinctly economic character of early modern subjectivity and how this, too, is implicated in our own modern modes of historical understanding. After explaining how the aims of New Historicist and Foucauldian approaches to the Renaissance are inseparably linked to such a historical conception, Pye demonstrates how the early modern subject can be understood in terms of a Lacanian and Zizekian account of the emerging social sphere. By focusing on the Renaissance as a period of remarkable artistic and cultural production, he is able to illustrate his points with discussions of a number of uniquely fascinating topics—for instance, how demonism was intimately related to a significant shift in law and symbolic order and how there existed at the time a “demonic” preoccupation with certain erotic dimensions of the emergent social subject. Highly sophisticated and elegantly crafted, The Vanishing will be of interest to students of Shakespeare and early modern culture, Renaissance visual art, and cultural and psychoanalytic theory.
Why Lyrics Last
Brian Boyd Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PR2848.B68 2012 | Dewey Decimal 821.3
Why Lyrics Last turns an evolutionary lens on lyric verse, placing the writing of verse within the human disposition to play with pattern. Boyd takes as an extended example the many patterns to be found within Shakespeare’s Sonnets. There, the Bard avoids all narrative and demonstrates the power that verse can have when liberated of story.