Bedford Companion to Shakespeare: An Introduction with Documents / Edition 2

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Providing a unique combination of well-written, up-to-date background information and intriguing selections from primary documents, The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare introduces students to the topics most important to the study of Shakespeare in their full historical and cultural context.

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Editorial Reviews

An attempt to put the Shakespearean text into cultural perspective "without causing it to disappear." It is designed as a vehicle for conveying facts and ideas that will inform classroom discussion and enhance comprehension of Shakespearean drama. For example, excerpts from historic speeches are meant to stimulate students to hear the rhetoric of Richard II, Claudius, King Lear, and Prospero in terms of contemporary political writing. It includes documents and illustrations such as maps, facsimiles of pages from Shakespearean quartos, portraits of Elizabeth and James, playhouse records, and passages from handbooks and political treatises. McDonald currently teaches English at the U. of North Carolina, Greensboro. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312248802
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 451
  • Sales rank: 240,160
  • Product dimensions: 6.17 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

RUSS McDONALD (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is the editor of four plays in the revised Pelican series of Shakespeare's plays and the author of Shakespeare Reread (1994), Shakespeare and Jonson/Jonson and Shakespeare (1988), and numerous articles on early modern theater, comedy, and opera. A celebrated teacher, McDonald has taught at Mississippi State University, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Rochester. He has been actively involved with the NEH-sponsored Teaching Shakespeare Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and he has also served as resident scholar, head scholar, and institute director of Teaching Shakespeare's Language.

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Table of Contents

To the Reader

Shakespeare in Our Time
The Uses of a Companion
The Illustrations and Documents
Three Troublesome Topics: Terminology, Modernization, and Money
A Final Word

Chapter 1. Shakespeare, "Shakespeare," and the Problem of Authorship
Early Life
London: The First Decade
London: Maturity
The Anti-Stratfordians
What Is an Author?
Illustrations and Documents
The House Known as Shakespeare's Birthplace
Record of Shakespeare's Baptism
Map of Stratford-upon-Avon (Eighteenth Century)
Francis Meres, From Palladis Tamia: Wit's Treasury
*A Plague Bill
The Royal License for Shakespeare's Company
Detail from the "Agas" Map of London (With Shakespeare's Lodging Indicated)
John Ward, Vicar of Stratford, From His Diary

2. "To What End Are All These Words?": Shakespeare's Dramatic Language
Early Modern English
The Forms of Dramatic Language
Language as Theme
Illustrations and Documents
*Erasmus, From the Foreword to the Third Edition of the Latin New Testament
Thomas Wilson, From The Art of Rhetoric
*Samuel Daniel, From Musophilis
Roger Ascham, From The Schoolmaster
*Ralph Lever, From The Art of Reason
George Puttenham, From The Art of English Poesy
Baldassare Castiglione, From The Book of the Courtier
*Montaigne, Of the Vanity of Words (Tr. John Florio)
Chart of the Relative Proportions of Poetry and Prose in Shakespeare's Plays

3. Theater à la Mode: Shakespeare and the Kinds of Drama
Mixed Modes
Illustrations and Documents
Sir Philip Sidney, From The Defense of Poesy
*Elizabeth Cary, From Mariam
Aristotle, From Poetics
Title Page of Richard III (First Quarto)
William Lambarde, From His Notes of a Conversation with Queen Elizabeth I about Richard II
John Fletcher, From His Preface to The Faithful Shepherdess
Thomas Rymer, From A Short View of Tragedy

4. Performances, Playhouses, and Players
Going to a Play, Circa 1595
The Playhouses
The Companies
The Theater and the Authorities
Illustrations and Documents
Map Showing the Playhouses in Shakespeare's Time
Henry Peacham, Sketch of Titus Andronicus
Inventory of Theatrical Costumes (From Henslowe's Papers)
Two Plans of the Rose Playhouse
Remains of the Rose Playhouse
C. Walter Hodges, Illustration of the Second Globe
Copy of De Witt's Sketch of the Swan Playhouse
Wenceslas Hollar, Detail from Long View of London
Philip Henslowe, Log of Plays from His Diary
Testimony about a Performance of Richard II
Record of King James's Payment to the King's Men
*Thomas Heywood, From An Apology for Actors
Edward Alleyn, Letter to His Wife

5. "What Is Your Text?"
What Is a Shakespearean Text?
From Pen to Press: The Printing of Renaissance Plays
Illustration of the Folding and Printing Process
Shakespeare's Plays in Print
Some Examples of Textual Instability
Shakespeare's Texts and the General Reader
Illustrations and Documents
Facsimile of a Part of the Play Script of Sir Thomas More
Title Page of Titus Andronicus (First Quarto)
Title Page and Catalogue of the First Folio
*Illustration of a Seventeenth-Century Printing Shop
Facsimile of the Last Page of King Lear (First Quarto)
Facsimile of "To be or not to be" from Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (First Quarto)
Facsimile of "To be or not to be" from Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1623 Folio)
A Comparison of the Work of Compositors A and B on the 1623 Folio

6. "I Loved My Books": Shakespeare's Reading
Shakespeare and the Classics
Major Influences
Indirect Sources
Shakespeare's Favorites
Illustrations and Documents
Edward Hall, From The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York
From A Mirror for Magistrates
Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio, From Gli Hecatommithi (The Principal Source for Othello)
*From the Geneva Bible (Genesis)
* Amelia Lanyer, From Salve Deus Rex Judeorum
*From The Book of Common Prayer
John Foxe, From Acts and Monuments
A Moralized Ballad
Sir William Strachey, From A True Reportory of the Wreck and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates (A Source for The Tempest)
Christopher Marlowe, From Tamburlaine the Great
Sir Philip Sidney, Two Sonnets from Astrophil and Stella
* Lady Mary Wroth, From Urania
Raphael Holinshed, From The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland
Plutarch, From Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (Translated by Sir Thomas North)
Ovid, From Metamorphoses (Translated by Arthur Golding)

7. Town and Country: Life in Shakespeare's England
The Suburbs
The Countryside
Rural Life
The Daily Routine
Getting and Spending
Illustrations and Documents
William Harrison, From The Description of England (The Conditions of English Inns and Overnight Travel)
John Stow, From Survey of London (The Location of Tradesmen in London)
Thomas Platter, From Travels in England (The Thames River)
Lupold von Wedel, From Journey through England and Scotland (A Visit to the Bearbaiting Arena)
* Richard Mulcaster, From Positions Concerning the Training Up of Children (Ch. 27, The Ball)
John Stow, From Survey of London (Ordinances Concerning Brothels)
Thomas Nashe, From Christ's Tears over Jerusalem (The Brothels of Suburban London)
*Isabella Whitney, From "To the Maids of London"
Gervase Markham, From The English Husbandman (Rural Domestic
Architecture and Interior Design)
Fynes Moryson, From An Itinerary (The Enclosure of Farmlands)
Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, From The Book of Husbandry (What Works a Wife Should Do)
* John Murrell, From A Delightful Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen
* John Murrell, From A Book of Cookery
* Thomas Elyot, From The Castle of Health
William Harrison, From The Description of England (Fashion)

8. Men and Women: Gender, Family, Society
The Situation of Women
Marriage and Money
Family Life
The Social Structure
Conclusion: The Body Politic
Illustrations and Documents
Aristotle, From Historia Animalium
Sir Robert Filmer, From Patriarcha, or The Natural Power of Kings
An Homily of the State of Matrimony
William Gouge, From Of Domestical Duties: Eight Treatises
* Elizabeth Clinton, From The Countess of Lincoln's Nursery
Sir Thomas Smith, From De Republica Anglorum: The Manner of Government or Policy of the Realm of England (Of Children)
George Whetstone, From An Heptameron of Civil Discourses (Household Laws to Keep the Married in Love, Peace, and Amity)
* Arbella Stuart, From Her Letters
Ben Jonson, "On My First Son"
* Dorothy Leigh, From A Mother's Blessing
Excerpts from Conduct Books
Sir Edward Coke, From The Third Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England (Of Buggery or Sodomy)
* Richard Barnfield, From The Affectionate Shepherd
* Samuel Rowlandson, From 'Tis Merry When Gossips Meet
Queen Elizabeth I, Royal Proclamation against Vagabonds and Unlawful Assemblies
Queen Elizabeth I, Edict Arranging for the Expulsion from England of Negroes and Blackamoors

9. Politics and Religion: Early Modern Ideologies
An Absolute Monarchy?
The Monarchs
The "Ermine Portrait" of Elizabeth I
Portrait of James I, by Paul van Somer
The Church
The Ideology of Order
Shakespeare's Theater and the Problem of Authority
The Stage and Its Opponents
Illustrations and Documents
Sir Thomas Smith, From De Republica Anglorum: The Manner of Government or Policy of the Realm of England (Of Parliament and the Monarchy)
King James I, From A Speech to the Lords and Commons of the Parliament at Whitehall
* Niccolò Machiavelli, From The Prince
King James I, Secret Letter to Sir Robert Cecil
King James I, Letter to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham
Sir John Harington, Letter Describing the Revels at King James's Court
* Queen Elizabeth I, From the Golden Speech
Simon Forman, From His Diary (On a Dream about an Encounter with Queen Elizabeth)
John Field and Thomas Wilcox, From An Admonition to the Parliament
From An Homily against Disobedience and Willful Rebellion
Sir Thomas Elyot, From The Book Named the Governor
*From The Catholic Supplication
* Christopher Muriel, From An Answer Unto the Catholics' Supplication
* Richard Hooker, From The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity
Philip Stubbes, From The Anatomy of Abuses

10. From Betterton to Branagh: Shakespeare in Performance
Innovations, Textual and Theatrical
Actors and their Roles
Early American Shakespeare
Twentieth-Century Stages: Modern and Post
Film (Silents, Talkies, Hollywood, Adaptations, Video)
Illustrations and Documents
*"Smock Alley" Prompt Book for Othello (Dublin, late 17th Century)
*Nineteenth-Century Playbill for Julius Caesar (with the Booth brothers)
*Prompt Book from Barrymore's Production of Hamlet
*Photograph from Granville-Barker's Production of Twelfth Night at the Savoy Theatre
*Photograph of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth
*Oscar Wilde, From His Review of Macbeth (with Ellen Terry)
*Photograph from Nineteenth-Century Production of A Midsummer Night's Dream
*Photograph from Peter Brook's Production of A Midsummer Night's Dream
*Kenneth Tynan, From He That Plays the King
*Photograph from Kenneth Branagh's Film of Hamlet


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