Shakespeare

Overview

Graham Holderness provides a new treatment of Shakespeare's historical dramas by reviewing past sources in light of modern theory, thus redefining the world about which Shakespeare wrote. He begins with the social and cultural context in which these "historical" plays of chivalric antiquity and masculine virtue were written and suggests that the world depicted in the plays represented a male-dominated aristocracy preoccupied with war and violence. The book reveals antiquity's contradictions in all their glamour ...

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Overview

Graham Holderness provides a new treatment of Shakespeare's historical dramas by reviewing past sources in light of modern theory, thus redefining the world about which Shakespeare wrote. He begins with the social and cultural context in which these "historical" plays of chivalric antiquity and masculine virtue were written and suggests that the world depicted in the plays represented a male-dominated aristocracy preoccupied with war and violence. The book reveals antiquity's contradictions in all their glamour and glory, their absurdities and arrogance, and provides alternative contexts for reading Shakespeare's history plays.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A mix of history and modern theory is applied to a close examination of Hamlet; Richard III; Henry VI, Part One; Henry V; Henry IV; and Richard II. Holderness's chief arguments focus on the nature and constructed order of the works, the juxtaposition of Shakespeare's own cultural setting and that of the histories, the sexual politics at play in Elizabethan England, and the values pulling and pushing at the texts. It is at times a heady mix of ideas, but as a prolific author of many works on Shakespeare and as the dean of humanities, languages, and education at the University of Hertfordshire, England, Holderness is more than qualified to undertake the exploration. The detailed readings offer much for students to consider; the mix of history and culture and the examination of how the two pull at each other make this work recommended for all academic libraries.--Neal Wyatt, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., Richmond, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Holderness (English; Dean of Humanities, Language and Education, University of Hertfordshire) offers a new treatment of Shakespeare's historical dramas, starting out from the social and cultural context in which these plays were produced, and suggests that we need to understand these plays primarily in terms of historical, cultural, and sexual difference, and as a celebration and exploration of values that were relatively marginal to central priorities of the late Tudor state. He reads the plays in light of the early modern consciousness of history and modern preoccupations with language. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312227135
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 1/15/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Graham Holderness is professor of English at the University of Hertfordshire. He is author of George Orwell andShakespeare's History.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
• Rainbow and Sword
• History
Hamlet
Richard III
Henry VI, Part I
Henry V
Henry IV
Richard II
• Conclusion
• Index

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