Shakespeare's World / Edition 1

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Overview

This book is about the world inhabited by Shakespeare and his peers, from the midland town of Stratford-upon-Avon to distant islands of the South Pacific. Shakespeare's World opens the door to readers who are curious about the Bard and his world, providing an easy-to-understand overview of the time period and key events that impacted or were impacted by Shakespeare's writing. This comprehensive, exciting, and approachable book provides colorful yet simple descriptions of Shakespeare's life, Tudor England, Renaissance Europe, and global colonialism during the 16th and early 17th centuries. Written to help readers explore Shakespeare's life and works, the book offers insights into the writing of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130971012
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.89 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Books about William Shakespeare continue to proliferate. By 1999, the year commemorating the four hundredth anniversary of the Globe Theater's opening, studies about Shakespeare, Elizabethan England, the European Renaissance, and New World colonialism filled library shelves with facts and theories about this fascinating period.

This book combines perspectives from those realms to offer an integrated approach to the study of Shakespeare's world, a global society that nurtured and challenged the talented writer from the English midlands. While some view Shakespeare as a middle-class upstart who wrote from pastoral experience and a classic education, deeper layers of meaning await discovery between the lines of his sonnets and plays.

With a window on the world from his Bankside theater, Shakespeare observed everyday English life while keeping an ear attuned to global events. His plays reflect contemporary influences as well as information and speculation about distant regions and diverse peoples. Shakespeare enjoyed thwarting stereotypes. His drama stimulated interest in the commonplace and in little known or misunderstood aspects of "otherness."

I wrote Shakespeare's World to help students appreciate the depth and breadth of Shakespeare's global awareness. These chapters explore topics not commonly associated with Shakespeare study: England's trading ventures, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Renaissance arts and science, and New World discoveries. Enacted on the Globe Theater floorboards, allusions to key events, important figures, and exotic lands tell us that Shakespeare was not merely a merchant's son or a London playwright, but a man of the world who dramatized his perceptions to create a lasting legacy of his times.

TO THE READER

This text provides an overview of Shakespeare's world, an age of discovery and adventure set against the backdrop of the Renaissance and the Reformation. Topics included in this work provide a colorful picture of Shakespeare's society by giving readers a spectrum of views about sixteenth and seventeenth century life. Obviously, not everything can be included, and selections were based on a topic's scope or impact on Shakespeare's life or times.

Period documents sometimes are quoted verbatim from primary sources, which means that spelling and vocabulary may be inconsistent. In some cases the print uses "v" for "u" or a character resembling "f" for "s" which makes the text difficult to read. I have followed printing conventions, even when they differ from document to document. Some secondary sources use modern spelling.

Quotes from Shakespeare's plays are referenced from the second edition of the Riverside Shakespeare (G. Blakemore Evans and J. J. M. Tobin, eds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997). I chose this edition because it enjoys a reliable reputation, and it has been used by Shakespeare students for many years.

Questions at the end of each chapter provide opportunities for review and application of the material. Critical thinking and research activities allow students to explore key topics and related issues. Students may utilize these activities on their own or teachers may assign them for credit. A list of additional resources may guide readers to further study.

I hope readers will enjoy this material as much as I do, and that this work will enhance their study of Shakespeare's world.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. Introduction.

Chart of Lands and Peoples Referenced in Shakespeare's Writing.

2. Shakespeare's Life

Shakespeare's Ancestry. John and Mary Shakespeare. Decline of Family Fortunes. Stratford-Upon-Avon. Shakespeare's Education. Literary Influences. Early Dramatic Influences. Marriage and Children. Retirement and Death. Legends.

3. Shakespeare's Plays and Poems.

Potential Chronology for the Works. The Narrative Poems. Sonnets. Comedies and Romances. The History Plays. Late Romances. The Tragedies.

4. Performance and Criticism.

Anti-Stratfordian Theories. Shakespeare and the Bible. Shakespeare's Contemporaries. Shakespeare's Critics. Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. The University Wits vs. the Grammarians. Shakespeare's Theaters. Acting Troupes. Sources for Shakespeare's Writing. Characters and Themes. Critical Approaches.

5. Elizabeth's England.

The Tudor Dynasty. Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth's Government. Elizabethan Economy. James Stuart I of England. Documents: The First Parliament, January 23-May 8, 1559, (Excerpt). The Oath of a Privy Councillor. An Act for the Relief of the Poor, (Excerpt). The Act of Uniformity, (Excerpt).

6. Shakespeare's Society.

Ancient History of England. Games and Sports. Holidays. Music. Folk Sayings and Proverbs. Shakespeare's English. Printers. Playhouses. London in the 16th Century. Medicine. Death and Burial. Ghosts and Witchcraft. Military Service. Punishments.

7. Religion.

Tudor Reform. Versions of the Bible. Catholicism and the Anglican Church. Elizabeth's Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity. Puritans. The Reformation. European Protestantism. The Counter Reformation. Other Faiths. Documents: Convocation of 1563: Puritan Demands. Dedication of the King James Bible to the King. Institutes of the Christian Religion, (Excerpt) John Calvin. From Loyola's March 26, 1553 Letter to Portugal (Excerpt).

8. The Elizabethan Social Order.

Farmlands. Households. Social Ranks. Titles and Ranks. Women. Marriage and Family. Minorities.

9. The European Effect.

Map. Austria. Hungary. Italy. Southern Europe. Spain. Portugal. France. Germany and Central Europe. The Netherlands. Scotland. Ireland. Poland. Denmark.

10. The Renaissance.

Map. The Great Chain of Being. Humanism. The European Renaissance. Music. Politics. Literature. Art. Science. Alternative Lifestyles. Noble Women.

11. Eastern Empires.

Map. Russia. Africa. Arabia. Persia. Palestine. The Ottoman Empire. Australia. China and Cathay. Japan. East Asia. India. Documents: First Charter to the East India Company, December 31, 1600, (Excerpt).

12. Western Worlds.

Map. The Americas. Mexico and South America. English Colonies. Native Americans. New World Writing. Documents: Charter to the Virginian Colonies, April 10, 1606, (Excerpt). Discourse of Western Planting. Richard Hakluyt. The General Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles (1624), (Excerpt) John Smith.

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Preface

Books about William Shakespeare continue to proliferate. By 1999, the year commemorating the four hundredth anniversary of the Globe Theater's opening, studies about Shakespeare, Elizabethan England, the European Renaissance, and New World colonialism filled library shelves with facts and theories about this fascinating period.

This book combines perspectives from those realms to offer an integrated approach to the study of Shakespeare's world, a global society that nurtured and challenged the talented writer from the English midlands. While some view Shakespeare as a middle-class upstart who wrote from pastoral experience and a classic education, deeper layers of meaning await discovery between the lines of his sonnets and plays.

With a window on the world from his Bankside theater, Shakespeare observed everyday English life while keeping an ear attuned to global events. His plays reflect contemporary influences as well as information and speculation about distant regions and diverse peoples. Shakespeare enjoyed thwarting stereotypes. His drama stimulated interest in the commonplace and in little known or misunderstood aspects of "otherness."

I wrote Shakespeare's World to help students appreciate the depth and breadth of Shakespeare's global awareness. These chapters explore topics not commonly associated with Shakespeare study: England's trading ventures, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Renaissance arts and science, and New World discoveries. Enacted on the Globe Theater floorboards, allusions to key events, important figures, and exotic lands tell us that Shakespeare was not merely a merchant's son or a London playwright, but a man of the world who dramatized his perceptions to create a lasting legacy of his times.

TO THE READER

This text provides an overview of Shakespeare's world, an age of discovery and adventure set against the backdrop of the Renaissance and the Reformation. Topics included in this work provide a colorful picture of Shakespeare's society by giving readers a spectrum of views about sixteenth and seventeenth century life. Obviously, not everything can be included, and selections were based on a topic's scope or impact on Shakespeare's life or times.

Period documents sometimes are quoted verbatim from primary sources, which means that spelling and vocabulary may be inconsistent. In some cases the print uses "v" for "u" or a character resembling "f" for "s" which makes the text difficult to read. I have followed printing conventions, even when they differ from document to document. Some secondary sources use modern spelling.

Quotes from Shakespeare's plays are referenced from the second edition of the Riverside Shakespeare (G. Blakemore Evans and J. J. M. Tobin, eds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997). I chose this edition because it enjoys a reliable reputation, and it has been used by Shakespeare students for many years.

Questions at the end of each chapter provide opportunities for review and application of the material. Critical thinking and research activities allow students to explore key topics and related issues. Students may utilize these activities on their own or teachers may assign them for credit. A list of additional resources may guide readers to further study.

I hope readers will enjoy this material as much as I do, and that this work will enhance their study of Shakespeare's world.

Read More Show Less

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