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Reading Shakespeare's Poems in Early Modern England by S. Roberts

Reading Shakespeare's Poems in Early Modern England

Part of the Early Modern Literature in History Series


Reading Shakespeare's Poems in Early Modern England by S. Roberts

This is the first comprehensive study of early modern texts, readings, and readers of Shakespeare's poems in print and manuscript, Reading Shakespeare's Poems in Early Modern England makes a compelling contribution both to Shakespeare studies and the history of the book. Examining gendered readerships and the use of erotic works, reading practises and manuscript culture, textual forms and transmission, literary taste and the canonisation of Shakespeare, this book argues that historicist criticism can no longer ignore histories of reading.


study of the early modern reception of Shakespeare

's poems challenges current assumptions about textual authority as well as aesthetic taste. In her use of manuscript miscellanies, marginalia, and often neglected printed works to reveal the diverse agencies of readers, Roberts contributes significantly to the history of the book'. - Mary Ellen Lamb

'In this gem of a study, Sasha Roberts uses the early modern history of the publication, manuscript transmission, and reading of Shakespeare's poems to demonstrate the remarkable flexibility of these works in a literary system that encouraged recipients and collectors of texts to appropriate them for their own serious or recreational uses... This study is a very important contribution to early modern literary studies'. - Professor Arthur F.Marotti, Wayne State University

'Sasha Roberts details the enormous variety and creativity of early modern readers, documenting a range of attitudes and practices including anthologising and 'commonplacing'
which shed new light on our notions of interpretation and canon formation

...This book is an important contribution to the reception history of the Sonnets as well as the narrative poems, arguing for the importance of local and intertextual readings over the 'grand critical narratives
favoured by modern approaches. It will change our sense of the history of literature and literacy in the seventeenth century

' - Ann Thompson, King's College London

'This is an original, lively, and consequential book. Sasha Roberts has provided a richly textured account of the transmission and reception of Shakespeare's poems in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. She has uncovered and engagingly presented a remarkable record of how early readers responded to the poetry. But this is not merely an exercise, however fascinating, in reception history; it is also, and more importantly, a crucial episode in the shaping of an early modern literary culture and a significant chapter in the history of reading itself'. - David Scott Kastan, Old Dominion Foundation Professor in Humanities, Columbia University

'Sasha Roberts's book makes a valuable contribution to a little-explored field.' - H.R. Woudhuysen, Times Literary Supplement'

About the Author

SASHA ROBERTS is Lecturer in English at the University of Kent. Her previous publications include Women Reading Shakespeare, 1660-1900: An Annotated Anthology co-edited with Ann Thompson (1997), Writers and Their Work: Romeo and Juliet (1998), and essays on Shakespeare and the history of reading. She is currently researching the formation of literary taste in early modern manuscript culture.

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Book Info

Publication date

19th November 2002


S. Roberts

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Palgrave Macmillan


254 pages


Shakespeare studies & criticism



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