Merchant of Venice: A Modernization

Overview

For over four hundred years, in every country where Shakespeare's plays have been performed, The Merchant of Venice has aroused controversy and excitement. This edition is the first to offer a comprehensive account of the Merchant in performance. Charles Edelman's introduction challenges many of the myths and preconceptions associated with the play, and shows how historical events and cultural attitudes have shaped actors' interpretations and audience responses. The commentary, printed alongside the text, ...
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Overview

For over four hundred years, in every country where Shakespeare's plays have been performed, The Merchant of Venice has aroused controversy and excitement. This edition is the first to offer a comprehensive account of the Merchant in performance. Charles Edelman's introduction challenges many of the myths and preconceptions associated with the play, and shows how historical events and cultural attitudes have shaped actors' interpretations and audience responses. The commentary, printed alongside the text, describes how different actors, directors and designers have approached each character and episode on stage, film and television, from the first performances in the 1590s to the present day. The extraordinary variety of The Merchant of Venice in production will give every reader new and different insights into one of Shakespeare's most powerful but troubling plays.

Discusses the plot, characters, and historical background of the Shakespeare play.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A collection of new perspectives on Shakespeare's most controversial play, for students. Essays open up the play's historical, cultural, and political significance, and demonstrate some of the ways in which contemporary criticism is both based on critical theory and is also about the practice of criticism. Specific subjects include Shakespeare and the Jews, colonization and miscegenation in the play, how to read the play without being heterosexist, and Venetian patriarchy. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780942208108
  • Publisher: Bandanna Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Series: Humanist Classics Series
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 5.52 (h) x 0.24 (d)

Read an Excerpt

In The Merchant of Venice, the penniless but attractive Bassanio seeks, and finally wins, the hand of the fabulously wealthy Portia. But even as the play provokes laughter, it also provokes something disturbing, as Bassanio's courtship is actually financed by the magnificent villain Shylock the moneylender -- the focus of anti-Semitic sentiment, and one of the most controversial yet strangely sympathetic of Shakespeare's characters, whose actions and whose treatment in the play are still debated to this day.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations
General editor's preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 Shylock 25
2 The Venetians 44
3 The Problem of Launcelot Gobbo 67
4 Belmont 80
5 Shylock the Jew 106
6 The Trial 117
7 Belmont Revisited 145
App. 1 Production credits and cast lists 158
App. 2 Reviews cited 172
App. 3 Abbreviations 175
Bibliography 177
Index 179
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