Imagining Shakespeare

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In this beautifully illustrated book, one of the foremost Shakespeareans of our time explores the ways in which Shakespeare has been imagined from his time to ours. In a penetrating series of interpretations, Stephen Orgel explores the ironies and paradoxes that have characterized the reconstruction of Shakespeare's texts, his image, the staging and illustration of his plays over the past four centuries, as he is perennially reinvented for new cultural ends. Drawing on performance history, textual history, and ...

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Overview

In this beautifully illustrated book, one of the foremost Shakespeareans of our time explores the ways in which Shakespeare has been imagined from his time to ours. In a penetrating series of interpretations, Stephen Orgel explores the ironies and paradoxes that have characterized the reconstruction of Shakespeare's texts, his image, the staging and illustration of his plays over the past four centuries, as he is perennially reinvented for new cultural ends. Drawing on performance history, textual history, and the visual arts (including a fascinating chapter on portraiture), Imagining Shakespeare displays throughout the cultural versatility, elegance, lucidity, and wit which have become the hallmarks of Orgel's style.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book would repay, with dividends, its careful study...highly recommended..."-Larry Schwartz, Library Journal (starred review)

"Imagining Shakespeare shows Orgel at his best... No one working in the field could fail to take notice of this book. No one who reads it could fail to be, in almost equal measure, instructed and delighted." — David Kastan, Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University

Library Journal
If Shakespeare were alive today, it's a dead cinch that he would spend most of his time in court suing the various and sundry compilers of the First Folio and railing against unauthorized performances of the not-quite-refined versions of his plays contained therein. Orgel (Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Humanities, Stanford Univ.) writes that what we know as the "texts" of the plays are far from being codified, making a very fluid thing out of what we "imagine" Shakespeare (and the plays) to be. Drawing on various lectures and articles published between 1979 and 2003, the author elegantly and simply explores the changeable nature of the man and the ways in which his dramatic output has been interpreted. The first chapter examines the notion of reality behind Shakespeare's imagination, as well as the sets upon which the plays have been presented, while a subsequent chapter treats the history within the nonhistorical and historical plays. Shakespeare's iconography, A Midsummer Night's Dream and its use of magic and sexuality, and the power of a minor character are also discussed, among other things. This book would repay, with dividends, its careful study by actors, directors, and other teachers of literature and drama. Highly recommended for academic libraries.-Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403911773
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 9/4/2003
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.94 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Orgel is the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Humanities at Stanford University.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Plates
Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Imagining Shakespeare 1
2 Staging Clio 38
3 History and Biography 65
4 Magic and History 85
5 The Pornographic Ideal 112
6 Imagining Shylock 144
7 Epilogue 163
Notes 164
Index 168
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