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William Shakespeare
Suggested Reading



A Companion to Shakespeare
((Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture) )
This Companion to Shakespeare is an indispensable book for students and teachers of Shakespeare, indeed for anyone with an interest in his plays. It offers a remarkably innovative and comprehensive picture of the theatrical, literary, intellectual and social worlds in which Shakespeare wrote and in which his plays were produced. The newly commissioned essays, written by the most distinguished historians and literary scholars working today (including Ian Archer, David Bevington, Michael Bristol, David Daniell, Richard Dutton, Andrew Gurr, Jean Howard, Roslyn Knutson, and Peter Lake), represent the very best of modern scholarship. Each individual essay stands as an authoritative account of the state of knowledge in its field, and in their totality the essays provide a new and compelling portrait of the historical conditions, both imaginative and institutional, that enabled (and in some cases inhibited) Shakespeare´s great art. Including essays on the organization and regulation of Elizabethan playing, on the printing, publication, and circulation of the play-texts, on Shakespeare´s reading, on religion and political thought in England in late Elizabethan and Jacobean England, and on the linguistic and literary environment in which he wrote, The Companion to Shakespeare remarkably allows us to see Shakespeare anew by restoring his artistry to the rich interactions of the historical world in which he worked and flourished. The lucid, engaging, and authoritative essays in this imaginatively conceived collection will definitively change the ways in which we read, see, and perform Shakespeare´s plays.

All of Shakespeare
(Maurice Charney )
The former president of the Shakespeare Association of America provides a play-by-play, poem-by-poem guide to all of Shakespeare's works.

Love Poems and Sonnets of William Shakespeare
(William Shakespeare )
The greatest sonnets ever written, by the greatest poet and playwright in the English language--now in a handsome edition featuring exquisite color illustrations

Shakespeare : The Invention of the Human
(Harold Bloom )
"Personality, in our sense, is a Shakespearean invention, and is not only Shakespeare's greatest originality but also the authentic cause of his perpetual pervasiveness." So Harold Bloom opines in his outrageously ambitious Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. This is a titanic claim. But then this is a titanic book, wrought by a latter-day critical colossus--and before Bloom is done with us, he has made us wonder whether his vision of Shakespeare's influence on the whole of our lives might not be simply the sober truth. Shakespeare is a feast of arguments and insights, written with engaging frankness and affecting immediacy. Bloom ranges through the Bard's plays in the probable order of their composition, relating play to play and character to character, maintaining all the while a shrewd grasp of Shakespeare's own burgeoning sensibility. It is a long and fascinating itinerary, and one littered with thousands of sharp insights. Listen to Bloom on Romeo and Juliet: "The Nurse and Mercutio, both of them audience favorites, are nevertheless bad news, in different but complementary ways." On The Merchant of Venice: "To reduce him to contemporary theatrical terms, Shylock would be an Arthur Miller protagonist displaced into a Cole Porter musical, Willy Loman wandering about in Kiss Me Kate." On As You Like It: "Rosalind is unique in Shakespeare, perhaps indeed in Western drama, because it is so difficult to achieve a perspective upon her that she herself does not anticipate and share." Bloom even offers some belated vocational counseling to Falstaff, identifying him as an Elizabethan Mr. Chips: "Falstaff is more than skeptical, but he is too much of a teacher (his true vocation, more than highwayman) to follow skepticism out to its nihilistic borders, as Hamlet does." In the end, it doesn't matter very much whether we agree with all or any of these ideas. What does matter is that Bloom's capacious book sends us hurrying back to some of the central texts of our civilization. "The ultimate use of Shakespeare," the author asserts, "is to let him teach you to think too well, to whatever truth you can sustain without perishing." Bloom himself has made excellent use of his hero's instruction, and now he teaches us all to do the same.

Shakespeare's Language
(Frank Kermode)
Frank Kermode, Britain's most distinguished scholar of sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century literature, here restores Shakespeare's poetic language to its rightful primacy. How did this language develop? Something extraordinary happened in Shakespeare's plays during the first decade of the seventeenth century, and Kermode explores the nature and consequences of this dynamic transformation. The originality of his argument, the elegance and humor of his prose, and the intelligence of his discussion make this a landmark in Shakespearean studies.

Shakespeare's Sonnets
(Stephen Booth (Editor) )
This prize-winning work provides a facsimile of the 1609 Quarto printed in parallel with a conservatively edited, modernized text, as well as commentary that ranges from brief glosses to substantial critical essays. Stephen Booth's notes help a modern reader toward the kind of understanding that Renaissance readers brought to the works. Winner of the ninth annual James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association.

The Age of Shakespeare
(Francois Laroque, Alexandra Campbell (Translator))
A detailed, up-to-date account of the known facts of Shakespeare's life discusses sixteenth- and seventeenth-century attitudes toward medicine, folk beliefs, scholarship, religion, and royalty in the context of the dramatist's life.

The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets
(Helen Hennessy Vendler )
Helen Vendler's The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets is an incredible work of analysis, criticism--and obsession. In giving these complex poems a close reading, Vendler attempts to enter the mind and esthetics of her subject, resulting in an amazing and comprehensive commentary on the sonnets. But this is not a book for Shakespeare neophytes. Vendler assumes a degree of familiarity with Shakespeare's sonnets, and she writes in the language of literary criticism: "...the couplet--placed not as resolution but as coda--can then stand in any number of relations ... to the preceding argument."). However, for those readers who have a basic knowledge of Renaissance poetics, and Shakespeare's sonnets in particular, The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets is a gold mine of fascinating interpretation. What's more, though Vendler draws on the work of many commentators who went before her, in the end it is Shakespeare's own meaning, and not the interpretation of modern critics, that she reads for. A nice bonus is the CD inside the back cover of the book, which contains the author's reading of 65 sonnets.

William Shakespeare the Complete Works
(William Shakespeare )
The new Oxford edition of Shakespeare's complete works reconsiders every detail of their text and presentation in the light of modern scholarship. The nature and authority of the early documents are re-examined, and the canon and chronological order of composition freshly established. Spelling and punctuation are modernized, and there is a brief introduction to each work, as well as an illuminating and informative General Introduction. 1248 pages

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