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See below for a selection of the latest books from Shakespeare studies & criticism category. Presented with a red border are the Shakespeare studies & criticism books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Shakespeare studies & criticism books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
Shakespeare and Queer Theory is an indispensable guide on the ongoing critical debates about queer method both within and beyond Shakespeare and early modern studies. Clearly elucidating the central ideas of the theory, the field's historical emergence from feminist and gay and lesbian studies within the academy, and political activism related to the AIDS crisis beyond it, it also illuminates current debates about historicism and embodiment. Through a series of original readings of texts including Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and Venus and Adonis, as well as film adaptations of early modern drama including Derek Jarman's The Tempest and Edward II, Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, and Julie Taymor's Titus, it illustrates the value of queer theory to Shakespeare scholarship, and the value of Shakespearean texts to queer theory.
Cheek by Jowl, founded by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod in 1981, is one of the world's most critically acclaimed classical theatre companies. Across seventeen productions of Shakespeare (as well as several by his contemporaries and other European dramatists), Cheek by Jowl's experiments with text, space, light and bodies have produced bold reinventions of canonical and lesser-explored plays. Despite the pre-eminence of the company, its multiple awards and central place in the European repertory, this is the first substantive study of the company's body of work. This book situates Cheek by Jowl's work within the key institutions and traditions that have shaped the company's development from low-budget beginnings at the Edinburgh Festival to international celebration, while also focusing specifically on the company's use of Shakespeare to drive forward its practice. Drawing on the company's work in English, Russian and French, the book uses key productions as case studies to interrogate the company's unique style and build an argument for the distinctive insights offered by Cheek by Jowl's approach. The book draws on new interviews with creative and administrative company members from the full span of Cheek by Jowl's history as well as a full appraisal of the Cheek by Jowl archives, offering the first scholarly overview of the company's work.
Shakespeare's position as England's national poet is established and unquestionable. But as James Shapiro illuminates in this revelatory new history, Shakespeare has long held an essential place in American culture. Why, though, would a proudly independent republic embrace England's greatest writer? Especially when his works enact so many of America's darkest nightmares: interracial marriage, cross-dressing, same-sex love, tyranny, and assassination? Investigating a selection of defining moments in American history - drilling into issues of race, miscegenation, gender, patriotism and immigration; encountering Presidents, activists, writers and actors - Shapiro leads us to fascinating answers and uncovers rich and startling stories. But perhaps most pressingly, we learn how, in Trump's America, the staging of his work has provoked threats of violence and has become a battleground for freedom of speech.
Early modern private prayer is skilled at narrative and drama. In manuals and sermons on how to pray, collections of model prayers, scholarly treatises about biblical petitions, and popular tracts about life crises prompting calls to God, prayer is valued as a powerful agent of change. Model prayers create stories about people in distinct ranks and jobs, with concrete details about real-life situations. These characters may act in play-lets, or appear in the middle of difficulties, or voice a suite of petitions from all sides of a conflict. Thinking of early modern private prayers as dramatic dialogues rather than lyric monologues raises the question of whether play-going and praying were mutually reinforcing practices. Could dramatists deploying prayer on stage rely on having audience members who were already expert at making up roles for themselves in prayer, and who expected their petitions to have the power to intervene in major events? Does prayer's focus on cause and effect structure the historiography of Shakespeare's Henry VI, Richard III, Richard II, Henry V, and Henry VIII?
This book explores ways in which Shakespeare's writing strategies shape our embodied perception of objects - both real and imaginary - in four of his plays. Taking the reader on a series of perceptual journeys, it engages in an exciting dialogue between the disciplines of phenomenology, cognitive studies, historicist research and modern acting techniques, in order to probe our sentient and intuitive responses to Shakespeare's language. What happens when we encounter objects on page and stage; and how we can imagine that impact in performance? What influences might have shaped the language that created them; and what do they reveal about our response to what we see and hear? By placing objects under the phenomenological lens, and scrutinising them as vital conduits between lived experience and language, this book illuminates Shakespeare's writing as a rich source for investigation into the way we think, feel and communicate as embodied beings.
From one of the world leading scholars in emblematics, this book seeks to demonstrate the extent to which Shakespeare used symbolic visuality in his use of the stage and objects in his infamous plays. Using obvious examples such as Hamlet's sword or Shylock's knife and less obvious ones like Ophelia's book to drive home his argument, Peter Daly draws on a range of works to show the underlining roles of the emblems used and the overarching iconography in Shakespeare's work.
Published in 1999. Shakespeare is 'the great author of America' declared James Fenimore Cooper in 1828. The ambiguous resonance of this claim is fully borne out in this collection of writings on Shakespeare by over forty prominent Americans, spanning the period between the War of independence and the outbreak of the First World War. Featured writers include: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allen Poe, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. The essays, many of which are reprinted here for the first time, are arranged in chronological order and provide a fascinating conspectus of American attitudes to Shakespeare, from Revolutionary and Transcendentalist approaches through to the influential interventions of professional American critics in the early twentieth century. The extraordinary and bizarre contribution to the Shakespeare debut by Delia Bacon is exemplified by the inclusion of her 1856 article which is reprinted in its entirety. Americans on Shakespeare charts the emergence of an American literary tradition, and the gradual appropriation of Shakespeare as part of the American search for cultural identity; an identity whose domination is set to continue into the twenty-first century.
In exploring links between the early modern English theatre and France, Richard Hillman focuses on Shakespeare's deployment of genres whose dominant Italian models and affinities might seem to leave little scope for French ones. The author draws on specific and unsuspected points of contact, whilst also pointing out a broad tendency by the dramatist, to draw on French material, both dramatic and non-dramatic, to inflect comic forms in potentially tragic directions. The resulting internal tensions are evident from the earliest comedies to the latest tragicomedies (or 'romances'). While its many original readings will interest specialists and students of Shakespeare, this book will have broader appeal: it contributes significantly, from an unfamiliar angle, to the contemporary discourse concerned with early modern English culture within the European context. At the same time, it is accessible to a wide range of readers, with translations provided for all non-English citations. -- .
Still Shakespeare and the Photography of Performance examines the place of photography in the reception of the Shakespeare canon since the invention of the camera, looking at how photographic images have shaped perceptions of historicity, performance, and Shakespearean character, and how their dissemination has affected Shakespearean authority. Barnden reveals how photography has conditioned the reception of Shakespeare's works in two key ways. Firstly, as a form of performance documentation, photographs shape the way individual performances are remembered and their positioning in relation to traditional and iconoclastic interpretations of the text. Secondly, photographs are vehicles of Shakespearean iconography, encouraging certain compositions and interpretations. Exploring both theatrical and staged art photographs, Still Shakespeare demonstrates the role of photography as a contributor to the calcification of Shakespearean quotation, advertising, and iconography, and to the attrition of the relationship between image and text whereby images become attached to narratives far beyond their original context.
No dramatist has treated identity in as many ways and in such depth as William Shakespeare. In Shakespeare's Identities, James P. Driscoll shows how the Bard used history, comedy, tragedy, and romance to develop comprehensive treatments of personal identity. Driscoll's innovative study examines four aspects of identity: the conscious, social, real, and ideal. Drawing on Jungian psychoanalysis, Driscoll explores how Shakespeare's plays dramatize a crucial need for self-knowledge and foreshadow larger identity issues. Sexual identity and the archetype of the outcast provide new perspectives on The Merchant of Venice. Hamlet's quest for self-knowledge mirrors parallel quests that Jung found mythic heroes pursuing. Iago shrewdly exploits Othello's racial outcast status and confused conscious and social identities to convince him that Desdemona's real identity has changed. In Twelfth Night, as in the other romantic comedies, family, relationships, love, friendship, imagination, disguise, and time and place all shape identity. Measure for Measure is a profoundly political drama showing the interdependence of love and knowledge in the quest to understand real identity and achieve ideal identity. King Lear treats identity both archetypally and realistically to create a uniquely powerful tragic vision of the self and divinity. From Falstaff to Shylock, Hamlet, Othello, Iago, Lear, and Prospero Driscoll offers original insights and perspectives on Shakespeare's most fascinating characters. This new volume will hold great interest for students of Shakespeare and all English literature, along with all those concerned with the enduring issues of identity.
How does a woman become a whore? What are the discursive dynamics making a woman a whore? And, more importantly, what are the discursive mechanics of unmaking? In Women and Shakespeare's Cuckoldry Plays: Shifting Narratives of Marital Betrayal, Cristina Leon Alfar pursues these questions to tease out familiar cultural stories about female sexuality that recur in the form of a slander narrative throughout William Shakespeare's work. She argues that the plays stage a structure of accusation and defense that unravels the authority of husbands to make and unmake wives. While men's accusations are built on a foundation of political, religious, legal, and domestic discourses about men's superiority to, and rule over, women, whose weaker natures render them perpetually suspect, women's bonds with other women animate defenses of virtue and obedience, fidelity and love, work loose the fabric of patrilineal power that undergirds masculine privileges in marriage, and signify a discursive shift that constitutes the site of agency within a system of oppression that ought to prohibit such agency. That women's agency in the early modern period must be tied to the formations of power that officially demand their subjection need not undermine their acts. In what Alfar calls Shakespeare's cuckoldry plays, women's rhetoric of defense is both subject to the discourse of sexual honor and finds a ground on which to shift it as women take control of and replace sexual slander with their own narratives of marital betrayal.