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Stage, Stake, and Scaffold Humans and Animals in Shakespeare's Theatre by Andreas Hofele

Stage, Stake, and Scaffold Humans and Animals in Shakespeare's Theatre

RRP £20.49


Stage, Stake, and Scaffold Humans and Animals in Shakespeare's Theatre by Andreas Hofele

The powerful exchanges between stage, stake, and scaffold - the theatre, the bear garden and the spectacle of public execution - crucially informed Shakespeare's explorations into the construction and workings of 'the human'. The theatre's family resemblance to animal baiting and the spectacle of punishment, its sharing of the same basic type of performance space - a theatre-in-the-round, a scaffold, stake or platform surrounded by spectators - bred an ever-ready potential for a transfer of images and meanings. The staging of one of these kinds of performance is always framed by an awareness of the other two, whose presence is never quite erased and often, indeed, emphatically foregrounded. Situating Shakespearean drama within its material environment, Andreas Hofele explores how this spill-over affects the way Shakespeare models his human characters and his understanding of 'human character' in general. His dramatis personae are infused with a degree of animality that a later, more specificall


[a] sophisticated study of how early modern Europeans conceived of the human being in relation to other species. Russ McDonald, Times Literary Supplement [a] diverting study Steven Poole, The Guardian Stage, Stake and Scaffold is an excellent part of the growing field of animal studies within the broader study of Shakespeares work. Hofele's work has much to offer for scholars interested in Shakespeares works, staging practices, and the culture of spectacle and violence that informs Renaissance dramatic literature and history. Marina Gerzic, Parergon - Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies This is fascinating stuff The Stage Andreas Hofele's Stage, Stake, and Scaffold provides the most complete exploration yet of the relation between Shakespeares theater and the spectacles of blood sport and criminal punishment concurrently available to the poets original audiences ... such impressive depth and precision Bruce Boehrer, Modern Philology Stage, Stake, and Scaffold is, however, an often subtle and hugely enjoyable book, which offers fresh, persuasive readings of the Shakespeare canon and challenges us to recognise the complex collusions of bloodsport, punishment and play. Helen Smith, Literature & History ... an illuminating, intriguing, and thoroughly researched work ... Stage, Stake and Scaffold can offer those working on animals in Shakespeare, specifically the dualism between man and beast, a refreshing new take on the role and importance of actual and metaphorical animals and creatures in Shakespearean drama. Kimbrina Davey, Notes and Queries

About the Author

Andreas Hofele is Professor of English at Munich University. His publications include books on Shakespeare's stagecraft, late 19th-century parody and on Malcolm Lowry, as well as numerous articles on Renaissance and 20th-century themes and six novels. He is a member of the Heidelberg and of the Bavarian Academies of Science and President of the German Shakespeare Society.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th January 2014


Andreas Hofele

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Oxford University Press


330 pages


Shakespeare studies & criticism
Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800
Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700
Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography



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