Shakespeare: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory, 1945-2000 / Edition 1

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Shakespeare: Criticism and Theory is an anthology of the most significant essays and book chapters published on Shakespeare in the second half of the twentieth century.

  • An anthology of about 50 of the most significant essays and book chapters published on Shakespeare in the second half of the twentieth century.
  • Introduces students to the variety of theoretical positions, thematic claims, methodologies, and modes of argument in Shakespeare criticism over the last 50 years.
  • Critical views represented range from the old style historicism of E.M.W. Tillyard and the new criticism of William Empson to the new historicism of Stephen Greenblatt and the feminist perspective of Catherine Belsey.
  • Pieces are organised into categories of critical thought and introduced in clear language.
  • Most pieces are reproduced in their entirety.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This collection consists of 49 previously published essays chosen to provide a survey of significant Shakespeare criticism between 1945 and 2000. While many anthologies of Shakespeare criticism are currently available, this one provides a handy sampler of criticism representative of the major trends and approaches in the last 50 years. This approach is especially useful since this was a period of rapid change and development in the field of literary criticism. Editor McDonald (English, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro), who has also recently written on Shakespeare in Shakespeare and the Art of Language and The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare, has made an attempt to cover as many specific plays as possible, limiting essays to one per critic. The essays are organized by type of criticism (e.g., feminist, psychoanalytic, performance, postcolonial, and reader-response criticism) and include references, and each section supplies a brief introduction that provides the necessary context for approaching the essays. Since the essays will be of most use to students and scholars, the book is recommended for all academic libraries; larger public libraries may wish to consider as well.-S.C. Fair, Ohio Univ. Lib., Zanesville Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631234883
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/15/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 952
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Russ McDonald is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has written extensively on Shakespeare and early modern literature and culture, most recently in Shakespeare and the Art of Language (2001) and The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (Second Edition, 2001).

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Table of Contents



1. Authorship.

Looney And The Oxfordians. (S. Schoenbaum).

2. New Criticism.

The Naked Babe And The Cloak Of Manliness. (Cleanth Brooks).

‘Honest’ In Othello. William Empson.

‘Introductory’ Chapter About The Tragedies. (Wolfgang Clemen).

The ‘New Criticism’ And ‘King Lear’. (William R. Keast).

3. Dramatic Kinds.

The Argument Of Comedy. (Northrop Frye).

Ambivalence: The Dialectic Of The Histories. (A.P Rossiter).

Introduction: The Saturnalian Pattern. (C. L. Barber).

The Jacobean Shakespeare. (Maynard Mack).

4. THE 1950s and ’60s: Structure, Theme, Character.

Reflections On The Sentimentalist’s Othello. (Barbara Everett).

Form And Formality In Romeo And Juliet. (Harry Levin).

King Lear Or Endgame. (Jan Kott).

The Cheapening Of The Stage. (Anne Righter).

How Not To Murder Caesar. (Sigurd Burckhardt).

5. Reader-Response Criticism.

On The Value Of Hamlet. (Stephen Booth).

Rabbits, Ducks, And (Henry V. Norman Rabkin).

6. Textual Criticism And Bibliography.

The New Textual Criticism Of Shakespeare. (Fredson Bowers).

Revising Shakespeare. Gary Taylor.

Narratives About Printed Shakespeare Texts: ‘Foul Papers’ And ‘Bad Quartos’. (Paul Werstine).

7. Psychoanalytic Readings.

‘Anger’s My Meat’: Feeding, Dependency, And Aggression In Coriolanus. (Janet Adelman).

The Avoidance Of Love: A Reading Of King Lear. (Stanley Cavell).

To Entrap The Wisest: Sacrificial Ambivalence In The Merchant Of Venice And Richard III. (Rene Girard).

What Did The King Know And When Did He Know It? Shakespearean Discourses And Psychoanalysis. (Harry Berger, Jr).

The Turn Of The Shrew. (Joel Fineman).

8. Historicism And New Historicism.

Introductory: The Cosmic Background. (E.M.W. Tillyard).

Invisible Bullets: Renaissance Authority And Its Subversion, Henry IV And (Henry V. Stephen Greenblatt).

The New Historicism In Renaissance Studies. (Jean Howard).

Shaping Fantasies: Figurations Of Gender And Power In Elizabethan Culture. (Louis Adrian Montrose).

9. Materialist Criticism.

Tradition And Experiment. (Robert Weimann).

Radical Tragedy. (Jonathan Dollimore).

Give An Account Of Shakespeare And Education, Showing Why You Think They Are Effective And What You Have Appreciated About Them; Support Your Comments With Precise References. (Alan Sinfield).

10. Feminist Criticism.

Egyptian Queens And Male Reviewers. (Linda Woodbridge).

‘I Wooed Thee With My Sword’: Shakespeare’s Tragic Paradigms. (Madelon Gohlke).

The Family In Shakespeare Studies; Or—Studies In The Family Of Shakespeareans; Or—The Politics Of Politics. (Lynda E. Boose).

Disrupting Sexual Difference. (Catherine Belsey).

11. Studies In Gender And Sexuality.

‘This That You Call Love’: Sexual And Social Tragedy In Othello. (Gayle Greene).

The Performance Of Desire. (Stephen Orgel).

The Secret Sharer. (Bruce Smith).

The Homoerotics Of Comedy. (Valerie Traub).

12. Performance Criticism.

Shakespeare And The Blackfriars Theatre. (Gerald Eades Bentley).

Conclusion: The Critical Revolution. (J.L. Styan).

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet: Everything’s Nice In America? (Barbara Hodgdon).

Deeper Meanings And Theatrical Technique: The Rhetoric Of Performance Criticism. (William Worthen).

13. Race And Postcolonialism.

‘Nymphs And Reapers Heavily Vanish’: The Discursive Con-Texts Of The Tempest. Francis Barker And Peter Hulme.

Sexuality And Racial Difference. (Ania Loomba).

Discourse And The Individual: The Case Of Colonialism In The Tempest. (Meredith Anne Skura).

14. Reading Closely.

Shakespeare’s Prose. (Jonas Barish).

The Play Of Phrase And Line. (George T. Wright).

Transfigurations: Shakespeare And Rhetoric. (Patricia Parker).


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