Shakespeare's Theory of Drama

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Why did Shakespeare write drama? Did he have specific reasons for his choice of this art form? Did he have clearly defined aesthetic aims in what he wanted drama to do—and why? Kiernan opens a new area of debate in showing that Shakespeare rejected many of the theories of his age on poetry, history and art to create an original theory of drama. This lively, readable, but scholarly examination of works from different stages of the dramatist's career explores what Shakespeare wanted his drama to do and why.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kiernan offers persuasive and illuminating argument..." The Sixteenth Century Journal

"Shakespeare's Theory of Drama offers provocative insights into the playwright's art and opens the way to further discussion of his aesthetic beliefs." Joan Lord Hall, English Language Notes

"Pauline Kiernan loves the new Globe and the way it draws audiences closer to the stage, makes them uncomfortable enough ...that they won't drift off into some reverie, and...keeps reminding them that they are in a theater." Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

"Shakespeare's Theory of Drama is important..." Philip C. McGuire, Theatre Journal

"This book manifests a very thorough knowledge of Shakespearean criticism as well as a willingness to challenge previously held beliefs regarding Shakespeare's plays. This is fine book for scholars and students interested in Shakespearean drama and theatre." Sixteenth Century Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521633581
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 230
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Shakespeare and Sidney. Two worlds: the brazen and the golden; 3. Shakespeare and Ovid: 'What strainèd touches rhetoric can lend': poetry metamorphosed in Venus and Adonis and the Sonnets; 4. 'In scorn of nature, art gave lifeless life': exposing art's sterility. The Rape of Lucrece, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest; 5. 'O'er-wrested seeming': dramatic illusion and the repudiation of mimesis: Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet; 6. 'Thy registers and thee I both defy': history challenged: Richard III, Henry VIII, Henry V and Richard II; 7. Antony and Cleopatra as 'A defence of drama'.

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