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Elizabethan Drama (Literary Movements and Genres Series)

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Editorial Reviews

As stated in the Foreword, the premise of this Greenhaven Series is that "by focusing on literary movements and genres, readers gain a greater appreciation of influence of historical events and social circumstances on the development of particular literary forms and themes." This volume begins with "A Historical Overview of Elizabethan Drama." The remaining 19 essays are divided into four chapters: "The Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama," "Elizabethan Drama as a Reflection of Elizabethan Society," "An Examination of William Shakespeare," and "Assessing Elizabethan Drama." The volume concludes with a brief chronology of significant literary, social, and historical events as well as suggestions for further reading. The editor attempts to make the essays more accessible to students by employing several techniques. The Table of Contents contains a brief annotation on each essay. A second and slightly longer annotation precedes the essay. Most importantly, the original articles "may have been edited for content, length, and/or reading level." Documentation is provided so that the article in its original form may be located if desired. In theory, this approach has much merit. In practice, it appears that a number of intended readers will have difficulty with some of the essays, especially those in Chapter 1. I have some reservations about the selections the editors made. However, students should still find a number of valuable essays on such topics as racial stereotyping, anti-Semitism, the tragic hero, and the portrayal of women in Elizabethan drama. The collection concludes with two conflicting and thought-provoking essays. A.L. Rowse discusses the greatness of Shakespeare while GaryTaylor suggests that Shakespeare's greatness has been overstated. This series would be quite handly for teachers since it brings together excerpts from a number of sources that would otherwise be a chore to locate. Teachers would then be better able to guide the students to an appreciation of the topic. Other titles in the series include: American Modernism, American Realism, American Romanticism, Greek Drama, and Victorian Literature, with more to come in 2001. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Greenhaven Press, 189p, bibliogs, index, 22cm, 99-055871, $14.96. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Anthony J. Pucci; English Dept. Chair., Notre Dame H.S., Elmira, NY, March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780737702040
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Series: Literary Movements and Genres Series
  • Pages: 189
  • Age range: 15 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Introduction 11
A Historical Overview of Elizabethan Drama 14
Chapter 1 The Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama
1. Elizabethan Drama Reflects the Atmosphere of the English Renaissance 29
2. Elizabethan Drama Exhibits Medieval Influences 35
3. Common Plots in Elizabethan Drama 44
4. The Tragic Hero in Elizabethan Drama 52
5. Multiple Scenes, Characters, and Plots in Elizabethan Drama 61
Chapter 2 Elizabethan Drama as a Reflection of Elizabethan Society
1. Shakespeare's Portrayal of the Elizabethan Family 70
2. Puritanism and Its Impact on the Depiction of Women in Elizabethan Drama 79
3. Othello Questions Some Elizabethan Racial Stereotypes 88
4. Anti-Semitism in Elizabethan Drama 98
5. History Plays United English Society 104
Chapter 3 An Examination of William Shakespeare
1. Seneca's Influence on Shakespearean Tragedies 110
2. The Impact of Christopher Marlowe on the Works of Shakespeare 118
3. Shakespeare's Comedic Style 126
4. Violence Toward Women in Shakespeare 133
5. Hamlet and Elizabethan Views Concerning Idleness 139
Chapter 4 Assessing Elizabethan Drama
1. Elizabethan Drama Has Stood the Test of Time 147
2. Problems with Modern Productions of Elizabethan Drama 152
3. The Continuing Influence of William Shakespeare 159
4. Shakespeare's Importance Has Been Overstated 166
Chronology 172
For Further Research 177
Index 181
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