Shakespeare: The Basics / Edition 3

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Overview

Now in its third edition Shakespeare: The Basics is an insightful and informative introduction to the work of William Shakespeare. Exploring all aspects of Shakespeare's plays including the language, cultural contexts, and modern interpretations, this text looks at how a range of plays from across the genres have been understood. Updates in this edition include:

  • Ecocritical, queer, presentist and gendered discussions of Shakespeare's work
  • Studies of new performances including Tennant and Tate's Much Ado About
    Nothing
  • Critical discussions of race and politics in Othello and King Lear
  • Case studies of modern film versions of Shakespeare's works
  • A chronology of Shakespeare's work and contemporary events

With fully updated further reading throughout and a wide range of case studies and examples, this text is essential reading for all those studying Shakespeare's work.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
McEvoy (English and drama, Vardean Coll., UK) provides an up-to-date introduction to Shakespeare. He covers all of the basics, even explaining how to find a line citation. Part 1 concentrates on the text and covers Shakespeare's language, stage action in the 16th century, and the plays as performance pieces. Part 2 covers five play genres, including romance and mixed-genre plays. McEvoy clearly identifies his critical approach as new historicism and cultural materialism influenced by feminist ideas. Yet he does not exclude traditional, psychoanalytical, or performance study approaches from his discussion, emphasizing that there is more than one way to study and enjoy Shakespeare's works. The book effectively summarizes the current status of Shakespeare masterpieces, meets McEvoy's goal of preparing students for college-level courses, and covers more ground than Shakespeare for Dummies (LJ 7/99). Suggestions for additional study are included. This is recommended for all public and academic libraries.--Shana C. Fair, Ohio Univ. Lib., Zanesville Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Booknews
Taking on the challenge of demystifying the bard's plays for Shakespeare virgins, McEvoy (English and drama, Varndean College; Brighton, UK) provides a concise, user-friendly guide to understanding the texts, their classification by genre, and types of stage action. Includes highlighted material on aspects of early modern language and views on theatre, period illustrations, contemporary play photos, and a 16th-17th century chronology. No mention is made of recent film versions that may serve as introductions to Shakespeare. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
paper: 0-415-21289-8 McEvoy, a British professor of drama and English, offers graduating high school seniors a concise and even-handed view of the Bard the way they'll be expected to see him in college English classes. Every school of modern thought seems to have found a way to draw Shakespeare into its arsenal of argumentation; in particular, the Marxists and the feminists have found much to say about A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. McEvoy is refreshing in that he takes no sides and instead presents these and other (more traditional) views of the greatest English playwright's work with grace and finesse. His goal is to prepare the high school student, who has been forced to read these plays as mere books—ripe for extraction of plot and character—for a university-level analysis of Shakespearean drama. McEvoy makes a nuanced, multifaceted argument for the plays as theater, not literature, emphasizing the importance to Shakespeare of stage directions, the physical orientation of the playhouse, and interaction with the audience. He presents each controversial aspect of textual meaning through several different ideological prisms, with particular attention (but not favoritism) given to feminist critique. Sidebars in each chapter build a sturdy cultural context, surveying the historical evolution of gender roles, social mobility, theater companies, playhouses, and more. The second half of McEvoy's study tracks the principal features of each Shakespearean genre, suggesting (but not insisting) that certain overarching themes tie histories, tragedies, comedies, and romances together in a coherent, if not neat, bundle. A minor criticism could be lodgedagainstthis American edition for stubbornly refusing to adapt to the idiom of its new audience: US college freshmen are likely to be nonplussed by references to `A-levels,` professional soccer, and British popular culture. A strong, systematic, and ideologically unbiased introduction to Shakespeare, bound to deepen any reader's appreciation for the great playwright, and particularly suited to prepare college freshmen for deeper reading of Elizabethan drama.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415682800
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/30/2012
  • Series: Basics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 740,828
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sean McEvoy teaches English and Classical literature at Varndean Sixth Form College Brighton, where he also co-ordinates the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. He has taught at Cambridge and Sussex universities and has been a visiting lecturer on the Shakespeare MA course at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: Understanding the Text 1. Shakespeare’s Language 2. Shakespeare’s Theatre 3. Shakespeare on Stage 4. Shakespeare on Film How do you film Shakespeare? Part II: The Genres 5. Shakespeare’s genres 6. Understanding comedy: The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, As You Like It and Twelfth Night 7. Understanding History: King Richard II, King Henry IV Part 1, King Henry V and King Richard III 8. Understanding Tragedy: Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth and Othello 9. Understanding Romance: The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest Conclusion: The Future of Shakespeare Studies Appendix: Chronology Glossary

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