Overview

"I feel that I have spent half my career with one or another Pelican Shakespeare in my back pocket. Convenience, however, is the least important aspect of the new Pelican Shakespeare series. Here is an elegant and clear text for either the study or the rehearsal room, notes where you need them and the distinguished scholarship of the general editors, Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller who understand that these are plays for performance as well as great texts for contemplation." (Patrick Stewart)

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Titus Andronicus (Pelican Shakespeare Series)

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Overview

"I feel that I have spent half my career with one or another Pelican Shakespeare in my back pocket. Convenience, however, is the least important aspect of the new Pelican Shakespeare series. Here is an elegant and clear text for either the study or the rehearsal room, notes where you need them and the distinguished scholarship of the general editors, Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller who understand that these are plays for performance as well as great texts for contemplation." (Patrick Stewart)

The distinguished Pelican Shakespeare series, which has sold more than four million copies, is now completely revised and repackaged.

Each volume features:

* Authoritative, reliable texts

* High quality introductions and notes

* New, more readable trade trim size

* An essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare and essays on Shakespeare's life and the selection of texts





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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101156902
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Series: Pelican Shakespeare Series
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 683,504
  • File size: 315 KB

Meet the Author

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born at Stratford upon Avon in April, 1564. He was the third child, and eldest son, of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. His father was one of the most prosperous men of Stratford, who held in turn the chief offices in the town. His mother was of gentle birth, the daughter of Robert Arden of Wilmcote. In December, 1582, Shakespeare married Ann Hathaway, daughter of a farmer of Shottery, near Stratford; their first child Susanna was baptized on May 6, 1583, and twins, Hamnet and Judith, on February 22, 1585. Little is known of Shakespeare’s early life; but it is unlikely that a writer who dramatized such an incomparable range and variety of human kinds and experiences should have spent his early manhood entirely in placid pursuits in a country town. There is one tradition, not universally accepted, that he fled from Stratford because he was in trouble for deer stealing, and had fallen foul of Sir Thomas Lucy, the local magnate; another that he was for some time a schoolmaster.

From 1592 onwards the records are much fuller. In March, 1592, the Lord Strange’s players produced a new play at the Rose Theatre called Harry the Sixth, which was very successful, and was probably the First Part of Henry VI. In the autumn of 1592 Robert Greene, the best known of the professional writers, as he was dying wrote a letter to three fellow writers in which he warned them against the ingratitude of players in general, and in particular against an ‘upstart crow’ who ‘supposes he is as much able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes Factotum is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country.’ This is the first reference to Shakespeare, and the whole passage suggests that Shakespeare had become suddenly famous as a playwright. At this time Shakespeare was brought into touch with Edward Alleyne the great tragedian, and Christopher Marlowe, whose thundering parts of Tamburlaine, the Jew of Malta, and Dr Faustus Alleyne was acting, as well as Hieronimo, the hero of Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy, the most famous of all Elizabethan plays.



In April, 1593, Shakespeare published his poem Venus and Adonis, which was dedicated to the young Earl of Southampton: it was a great and lasting success, and was reprinted nine times in the next few years. In May, 1594, his second poem, The Rape of Lucrece, was also dedicated to Southampton.



There was little playing in 1593, for the theatres were shut during a severe outbreak of the plague; but in the autumn of 1594, when the plague ceased, the playing companies were reorganized, and Shakespeare became a sharer in the Lord Chamberlain’s company who went to play in the Theatre in Shoreditch. During these months Marlowe and Kyd had died. Shakespeare was thus for a time without a rival. He had already written the three parts of Henry VI, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Comedy of Errors, and The Taming of the Shrew. Soon afterwards he wrote the first of his greater plays – Romeo and Juliet – and he followed this success in the next three years with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard II, and The Merchant of Venice. The two parts of Henry VI, introducing Falstaff, the most popular of all his comic characters, were written in 1597–8.



The company left the Theatre in 1597 owing to disputes over a renewal of the ground lease, and went to play at the Curtain in the same neighbourhood. The disputes continued throughout 1598, and at Christmas the players settled the matter by demolishing the old Theatre and re-erecting a new playhouse on the South bank of the Thames, near Southwark Cathedral. This playhouse was named the Globe. The expenses of the new building were shared by the chief members of the Company, including Shakespeare, who was now a man of some means. In 1596 he had bought New Place, a large house in the centre of Stratford, for £60, and through his father purchased a coat-of-arms from the Heralds, which was the official recognition that he and his family were gentlefolk.



By the summer of 1598 Shakespeare was recognized as the greatest of English dramatists. Booksellers were printing his more popular plays, at times even in pirated or stolen versions, and he received a remarkable tribute from a young writer named Francis Meres, in his book Palladis Tamia. In a long catalogue of English authors Meres gave Shakespeare more prominence than any other writer, and mentioned by name twelve of his plays.



Shortly before the Globe was opened, Shakespeare had completed the cycle of plays dealing with the whole story of the Wars of the Roses with Henry V. It was followed by As You Like it, and Julius Caesar, the first of the maturer tragedies. In the next three years he wrote Troilus and Cressida, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, and Twelfth Night.



On March 24, 1603, Queen Elizabeth died. The company had often performed before her, but they found her successor a far more enthusiastic patron. One of the first acts of King James was to take over the company and to promote them to be his own servants, so that henceforward they were known as the King’s Men. They acted now very frequently at Court, and prospered accordingly. In the early years of the reign Shakespeare wrote the more sombre comedies, All’s Well that Ends Well, and Measure for Measure, which were followed by Othello, Macbeth, and King Lear. Then he returned to Roman themes with Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus.



Since 1601 Shakespeare had been writing less, and there were now a number of rival dramatists who were introducing new styles of drama, particularly Ben Jonson (whose first successful comedy, Every Man in his Humour, was acted by Shakespeare’s company in 1598), Chapman, Dekker, Marston, and Beaumont and Fletcher who began to write in 1607. In 1608 the King’s Men acquired a second playhouse, an indoor private theatre in the fashionable quarter of the Blackfriars. At private theatres, plays were performed indoors; the prices charged were higher than in the public playhouses, and the audience consequently was more select. Shakespeare seems to have retired from the stage about this time: his name does not occur in the various lists of players after 1607. Henceforward he lived for the most part at Stratford, where he was regarded as one of the most important citizens. He still wrote a few plays, and he tried his hand at the new form of tragi-comedy – a play with tragic incidents but a happy ending – which Beaumont and Fletcher had popularized. He wrote four of these – Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, which was acted at Court in 1611. For the last four years of his life he lived in retirement. His son Hamnet had died in 1596: his two daughters were now married. Shakespeare died at Stratford upon Avon on April 23, 1616, and was buried in the chancel of the church, before the high altar. Shortly afterwards a memorial which still exists, with a portrait bust, was set up on the North wall. His wife survived him.



When Shakespeare died fourteen of his plays had been separately published in Quarto booklets. In 1623 his surviving fellow actors, John Heming and Henry Condell, with the co-operation of a number of printers, published a collected edition of thirty-six plays in one Folio volume, with an engraved portrait, memorial verses by Ben Jonson and others, and an Epistle to the Reader in which Heming a

Stephen Orgel is the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of the Humanities at Stanford University and general editor of the Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture. He has edited Ben Johnson's masques, Christopher Marlowe's poems and translations, and many other classics. His books include The Authentic Shakespeare (2002), Impersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare's England (1996) and The Illusion of Power (1975).



A. R. Braunmuller is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he teaches courses on English and European drama from 1500 to the present. He has written critical volumes on George Peele and George Chapman and has edited plays in both the Oxford (King John) and Cambridge (Macbeth) series of Shakespeare editions. He is also general editor of The New Cambridge Shakespeare




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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Now I know Shakespeare can write Gore

    Titus Andronicus is a spectacular story of Social Status, rape, mutilation, deception, and pure evil. Titus is a Roman General who has just returned from war with the Goths. He has returned to Rome with the Goth queen, her sons, and her lover as prisoners. Titus has also returned with his 25 warrior sons, 21 of whom are dead. They return to find that the emperor has died and there is a sort of city meeting held to determine who will follow as emporer. The choice is between the Emperor's two sons, Saturnine and Bassianus, and Titus. Titus would become emporer if he didn't decline. In a turn of events, Saturnine becomes emporer and ends up marrying The queen of the very people that Titus has just conquered. Tamorah, the Goth queen, uses her new status to manipulate Titus and his sons. Aaron the Moor, Tamorah's lover, is responsible for instigating most of the heinous acts of rape and torture. This is considered to be one of Shakespeare's earliest works and is a little rough around the edges as far as character development. It is nonetheless a good read, whether for pleasure or schoolwork.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Pigments of a Tragedy

    Color can provide powerful imagery and insight in any story. Most can identify with color imagery in film, but in writing it is just as valuable of a tool. In Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare uses color for character development and foreshadowing.

    Throughout the text, Shakespeare uses color to give the reader a sense of what is to come. In Act 2 Scene 2 Titus proclaims, "The hunt is up, the moon is bright and gray" (1). Gray is a drab color, one that is cool and uninteresting and carries with it a sober tone of sorrow. Although the events are pleasing to the characters as the scene begins, the color chosen by the author is one of sadness and disappointment. This choice has purpose. He is foreshadowing by showing the reader that although the "moon is bright", or the events of the day appear enjoyable, the overall outcome will be "gray". Then he fulfills on the unstated promise of sorrow when Bassianus is slain and Lavinia is raped and maimed. (Also intriguing are the choice of opening words, "the hunt is up"---meaning not only the hunt for wild game but the sexual hunt of Demetrius and Chiron for the woman Lavinia. An idea to be fully developed elsewhere). The color gray could also be interpreted to represent the shady nature of the personalities in the play. Characters like Demetrius, Chiron, Tamora, and Aaron are all lying convincingly to the protagonists. The gray could be representative of the veiled machinations of their wicked plots or the general location of their moral character (i.e. in the "gray area").

    Furthermore, In Act 2 Scene 3, Bassianus and Lavinia unknowingly foreshadow while using color to depict character when they say, "Why are you sequester'd from all your train,/ Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,/ And wander'd hither to an obscure plot..?/...let her joy in her raven-colour'd love;/ This valley fits the purpose passing well" (75-77, 83-84). Here Tamora is characterized by the "snow-white goodly steed" reference. She has "dismounted" from the goodly steed of her husband Saturninus and mounted another (referring to her sexual affair with Aaron the Moor). Also white is typically considered a pure or righteous hue. If Tamora has distanced herself from the "snow-white" then symbolically she is unrighteous and without purity. Shakespeare then hints at the purpose of Tamora and Aaron's rendezvous by calling the area an "obscure plot". The two met to bring their wicked plans to fruition and they commenced with the slaying of Bassianus (one of their many "obscure plots"). The reference to their "raven-colour'd love" is also heavily layered. Raven is black, often personified as evil or unclean. Tamora and Aaron are having an illicit affair unbeknownst to the emperor, a truly 'black' deed. Also there is reference to the color of Aaron's skin, he is a Moor and is therefore of dark complexion. The foreshadowing of this moment is lost to all the characters in the scene because Tamora does not find out until later that she is pregnant. When the black child is born it is the physical representation of their "raven-colour'd love".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2002

    A delightfully diabolical.. menacing read of pure horror..

    Absoutley the most graphic novel I've ever read in my life. It's mesmerizing charcters, complex and overwhelming plots, the magnificent creations of evil upon evil, and the ultimate sacrifice of love is all presented here in this, striking, stunning, groundbreaking play by Shakespeare. The most macabre play to come out in a long time, sensual, fervent, and hypnotic.A insightful,delicious story. A very entertaining and deeply moving novel about the complexities of families. Shakespeare's haunting masterpiece. Vivid, brilliant,unforgettable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2001

    Titus Andronicus

    Titus, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating works by William Shakespeare I've read so far. I certaintly recomend this book to any of those with a wild imagination and an open mind. These lines can take you to a place you never could have imagined before,but now you will.

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