Taming of the Shrew: Texts and Contexts / Edition 1

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This teaching edition of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew responds to the needs of instructors using a variety of approaches to Shakespeare, including feminist, historical, and cultural studies approaches. The play is accompanied by four sets of primary documents and illustrations thematically arranged to offer a richly textured understanding of early modern culture and Shakespeare's work within that culture. The texts include facsimiles of period documents, excerpts of conduct literature on marriage and on wife and servant beating, sermons, popular ballads, literary works offering alternative endings to Shakespeare's play, and documents on women's legal status. The primary documents contextualize the play's treatment of assertive women, marital conflict, and domestic disorder and violence.

Editorial features designed to help students read the play in light of the historical documents include an intelligent and engaging general introduction, and introduction to each thematic group of documents, thorough headnotes and glosses for the primary documents (presented in modern spelling), and an extensive bibliography.

A guide to reading "The Taming of the Shrew" with a critical and appreciative mind. Includes background on the author's life and times, sample tests, term paper suggestions, and a reading list.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312108366
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Series: Bedford Shakespeare Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 347
  • Sales rank: 346,432
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.17 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Renowned as Shakespeare's most boisterous comedy, The Taming of the Shrew is the tale of two young men -- the hopeful Lucentio and the worldly Petruchio -- and the two sisters they meet in Padua. Lucentio falls in love with Bianca, the apparently ideal younger daughter of the wealthy Baptista Minola. But before they can marry, Bianca's formidable elder sister, Katherine, must be wed. Petruchio, interested only in the huge dowry, arranges to marry Katherine -- against her will -- and enters into a battle of the sexes that has endured as one of Shakespeare's most enjoyable works.

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Table of Contents

Text and Contexts
The Induction
Shrews and Shrew Taming
Authority and Violence in the Household: Husbands and Wives; Masters, Mistresses, and Servants
The "Feme Convert": Katherine's Silences
Achieving the Marital Ideal: Sun and Moon
Endings and Alternatives



1. Alternative Endings
From The Taming of a Shrew
David Garrick, From Catharine and Petruchio

2. Marriage
An Ideal and Its Contradictions
A Homily of the State of Matrimony
Robert Snawsel, From A Looking Glass for Married Folks
The "Feme Covert": Married Women's Legal Status
T. E., From The Law's Resolutions of Women's Rights

3. The Household: Authority and Violence
The Household
John Dod and Robert Cleaver, From A Godly Form of Household Government
Women's Work: Gender and the Division of Labor
"A Woman's Work Is Never Done"
"The Woman to the Plow, And the Man to the Hen-Roost"
Wife Beating
William Whately, From A Bride-Bush
Of the Parts and Ends of a Man's Authority
William Gouge, From Of Domestical Duties: Eight Treatises
Of Husbands Beating Their Wives
Servant Beating
Thomas Becon, From A New Catechism Set Forth Dialogue—Wise in Familiar Talk Between the Father and the Son
Of the Office of Masters or Householders Toward Their Servants
William Gouge, From Of Domestical Duties: Eight Treatises
Of Masters' Maintaining Their Authority
Of Masters' Making Their Authority to Be Despised
Of Masters' Too Great Rigor
Of Masters' Commanding Power, Restrained to Things Lawful
Of the Power of Masters to Correct Their Servants
Of the Restraint of Masters' Power: That It Reacheth Not to Their Servants' Life
Of Masters' Excess in Correcting Servants
Of Masters' Ordering That Correction They Give to Their Servants

4. Shrews, Taming, and Untamed Shrews
Shrews and Shrew Taming
"The Cruel Shrew"
A Merry Jest of a Shrewd and Curst Wife Lapped in Morel's Skin, for Her Good Behavior
"The Cucking of a Scold"
From The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy, of Punch and Judy
Analogues to Shrew-taming
George Turberville, From The Book of Falconry or Hawking
Simon Latham, From Latham's Falconry
Watching A Witch
Matthew Hopkins, From The Discovery of Witches
John Stearne, From A Confirmation and Discovery of Witchcraft
Thomas Ady, From A Candle in the Dark
Untamed Shrews
Thomas Harman, From A Caveat for Common Cursitors, Vulgarly Called Vagabonds
Thomas Heywood, From A Curtain Lecture


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