Shakespeare, Love and Service

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Peter Laslett's comment, in The World We Have Lost, that in the early modern period, "every relationship could be seen as a love-relationship" presents the governing idea of this book. In an analysis that includes Shakespeare's sonnets and a wide range of his plays from The Comedy of Errors to The Winter's Tale, David Schalkwyk looks at the ways in which the personal, affective relations of love are informed by the social, structural interactions of service. Showing that service is not a "class" concept, but rather that it determined the fundamental conditions of identity across the whole society, the book explores the interpenetration of structure and affect in relationships as varied as monarch and subject, aristocrat and personal servant, master and slave, husband and wife, and lover and beloved in light of differences of rank, gender, and sexual identity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Well researched and written, this study shows that for Shakespeare, though freedom from service was nearly unimaginable, masters in his plays are often 'never so truly served as when opposed.' A compelling book...Recommended."
- A. DiMatteo, New York Institute of Technology, Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521886390
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/21/2008
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Schalkwyk is Professor in the Department of English, University of Cape Town.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 "Thou serv'st me, and I'll love thee": Love and Service in Shakespeare's World 16

2 Performance and Imagination: The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night's Dream 57

3 "His man, unbound": The Comedy of Errors and The Tempest 80

4 "More than a steward": The Sonnets, Twelfth Night, and Timon of Athens 115

5 "Office and devotion": Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, the Sonnets, and Antony and Cleopatra 164

6 "I am your own forever": King Lear and Othello 214

7 "Something more than man": The Winter's Tale 263

Bibliography 299

Index 311

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