A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice / Edition 1

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With Shylock's pound of flesh and Portia's golden ring,The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare's most controversial, disturbing and unforgettable plays.
Combining accessible commentary with a range of reprinted materials, S. P. Cerasano:
*explores the contexts of the play, including early modern images of Venice, the commercialism of the play, Shakespeare's theatre and London, and images of Jewishness
*samples modern criticism of Shakespeare's Merchant, grouped into sections on The Economic Framework, Choosing and Risking, and Shylock and Other Strangers
*offers an invaluable discussion of the play in performance, considering crucial staging issues and changing interpretations of the roles of Portia and Shylock
*closely examines key passages of the work, providing both commentary and extensively annotated sections of play text
*prepares readers for additional study of the play with a useful guide to further reading.
Assuming no prior knowledge of the play, this sourcebook is the essential guide to one of the most haunting works of English drama.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415240529
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 2/19/2004
  • Series: Routledge Guides to Literature Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

S. P. Cerasano is the Edgar W. B. Fairchild Professor of Literature at Colgate University, Hamilton NY

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Series Editor's Preface x
Acknowledgements xi
Introduction 1
1 Contexts
Contextual Overview 7
Introduction 7
Venice: Myth and Reality 7
Mercantile Culture 12
Jews in Venice and London 15
The Commercial Playhouse 17
Shakespeare's Play and the Theatre: Risking, Venturing and Exchanging 19
Chronology 22
Historical Contexts 27
The Commercial Playhouse 27
From Philip Henslowe, Rose Playhouse Receipts (1591) 27
From Philip Henslowe, Players' Bonds (1598) 29
Venice and Venetian Life 32
From Jan Morris, 'Islanders' (1993) 32
From W. D. Howells, 'The Ghetto and the Jews of Venice' (1866) 35
From Peter Berek, 'The Jew as Renaissance Man' (1998) 36
Merchants, Capitalism and the Controversy over Usury 38
From Daniel Price, 'The Merchant: A Sermon Preached at Paul's Cross on Sunday the 24th of August Being the Day before Bartholomew Fair. 1607' (1608) 38
From Alberto Tenenti, 'The Merchant and the Banker' (1991) 40
From Thomas Wilson, A Discourse upon Usury (1572) 42
From Francis Bacon, 'Of Usury' (1625) 44
Virtuous Women and Learned Ladies 46
From Edwin Sandys, 'Sermon Sixteen: A Sermon Preached at a Marriage in Strausborough' (1585) 46
From Juan Luis Vives, The Instruction of a Christen Woman (1529) 49
2 Interpretations
Critical History 55
Introduction 55
The Early Critical Tradition 56
Modern Criticism 58
Early Critical Reception 64
From Nicholas Rowe, Some Account of the Life, &c. of Mr. William Shakespear (1709) 64
From Samuel Johnson, The Plays of William Shakespeare (1765) 65
From John Potter, The Theatrical Review; or, New Companion to the Play-House (1772) 69
From George Colman, Prose on Several Occasions (1787) 70
From Nathan Drake, Shakespeare and His Times (1817) 71
From William Hazlitt, The Round Table; Characters of Shakespear's Plays (1817) 73
From Elmer Edgar Stoll, 'Shylock' (1927) 75
From Harley Granville-Barker, Prefaces to Shakespeare (1948) 76
Modern Criticism 79
The Economic Framework 79
From Walter Cohen, 'The Merchant of Venice and the Possibilities of Historical Criticism' (1982) 79
From Kim Hall, 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Colonisation and Miscegenation in The Merchant of Venice' (1992) 80
From Leonard Tennenhouse, 'The Counterfeit Order of The Merchant of Venice' (1991) 82
From Karen Newman, 'Portia's Ring: Unruly Women and Structures of Exchange in The Merchant of Venice' (1987) 84
From Lynda E. Boose, 'The Comic Contract and Portia's Golden Ring' (1988) 86
Choosing and Risking 88
From Joan Ozark Holmer, The Merchant of Venice: Choice, Hazard and Consequence (1995) 88
From Catherine Belsey, 'Love in Venice' (1992) 90
Shylock and Other Strangers 91
From John Drakakis, 'Historical Difference and Venetian Patriarchy' (1996) 91
From James Shapiro, 'Shakespeare and the Jews' (1992) 93
From Alan Sinfield, 'How to Read The Merchant of Venice Without Being Heterosexist' (1996) 95
The Work in Performance 97
Introduction 97
Shakespeare's Theatre 97
Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century Productions 99
The Merchant in the Nineteenth Century 100
Twentieth-century Trends 101
The Merchant in Germany 103
The Merchant in Japan 108
The Yiddish Theatre Production (1901) 110
Elements of Design/Elements of Meaning 110
Key Moments 114
Differing Portias and Varied Venetians 116
The Merchant of Venice on Film 117
The Debate about Portia 119
Mervyn Rothstein, Portia: Loved and Hated (1990) 119
Sinead Cusack, Love and Mercy on Trial: Playing Portia (1985) 120
Three Shylocks 122
Ian McDiarmid, Preparing to Perform: Shylock via Venice and Israel (1988) 122
Patrick Stewart, Shylock as 'Homo Economicus' (1985) 123
James C. Bulman, Antony Sher's Offensive Shylock: 1987 (1991) 125
Staging Issues 126
Gregory Doran, A Director Defines his Production (1987) 126
Miriam Gilbert, Presenting the Venetians: Antonio and Bassanio (2002) 127
Robert Smallwood, Exiting the Stage (1996) 128
3 Key Passages
Introduction 133
List of Key Passages 135
Abbreviations 137
Key Passages 139
Dramatis Personae 139
Act 1, Scene 1, lines 1-57 and 118-84 140
Act 1, Scene 2, lines 19-110 146
Act 1, Scene 3, lines 32-174 150
Act 2, Scene 1, lines 1-31 157
Act 2, Scene 7, lines 1-79 159
Act 2, Scene 9, lines 30-83 164
Act 3, Scene 1, lines 40-103 167
Act 3, Scene 2, lines 40-214 170
Act 4, Scene 1, lines 169-396 177
Act 5, Scene 1, lines 161-307 188
4 Further Reading
Recommended Editions 199
Historical Background 200
Literary Criticism 201
Production History 202
Adaptations 203
Films 204
Sound Recordings 204
Index 206
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