An essential introductory text that provides students with a lively and enjoyable tour of Shakespeare's life, his writing career and the theatre of his time. Concise yet comprehensive, the guide examines the texts of twenty widely-studied plays, and the Sonnets, illuminating both their original contexts and their later reception. Lucidly written, with no jargon, this is an invaluable overview of Shakespeare's life and works for students who may be studying Shakespeare for the first time.
This is an ideal set text for modules on Shakespeare, Jacobean Drama or Renaissance/ Early Modern Literature which may be offered at all levels of an undergraduate Literature degree. In addition it is a helpful resource for students who may be studying Shakespeare’s plays as part of a taught postgraduate degree in Literature.
|Publisher:||Macmillan Education UK|
|Edition description:||2nd ed. 2019|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.48(h) x (d)|
About the Author
MICHAEL ALEXANDER is Emeritus Professor of English Literature, University of St Andrews, UK. He is a poet and translator and has international experience of teaching English literature, both medieval and modern. He is the author of Palgrave's bestselling A History of English Literature, now in its third edition, and his Penguin translations of Beowulf and other Old English poems have sold a million copies.
Table of Contents
Preface.- First Things.- Career in brief.- Authorship.- Play and page.-Printed Books.- Posthumous Publication.- The Recorded Life.- Stratford and Family.- Education.- Plays.- Shake-scene.- What kind of Scene?.- Immediate Predecessors.- First Plays.- Language.- Verse.- Dramatist.- Love's Labour's Lost.- Romeo and Juliet.- A Midsummer Night's Dream.- Histories.- Richard II.- Henry IV.- Henry V.- Comprehensiveness.- Versatilty.- The Merchant: Changing Contexts.- To the Globe.- Much Ado About Nothing.- Julius Caesar.- As You Like It.- Twelfth Night.- Shake-speare's Sonnets.- Horatio's Question: Hamlet.- Taken to Extremes.- Problem plays.- Measure for Measure.- Tragedies.- Othello.- King Lear.- Macbeth.- Antony and Cleopatra.- Late Romances.- The Winter's Tale.- The Tempest.- Retrospect.- His supposed point of view.- 'Read him therefore'.- Order of Composition.- Chronology of Publication.- Further Reading.- Abbreviations and References.- Notes.- Index.
What People are Saying About This
An astonishing feat. Alexander distills a well-crafted lecture series into a single slim tour de force of exposition. Calm, wise, straightforward, reliable, up-to-date, and surprisingly comprehensive. – Patrick Gray, University of Durham, UK
Reading Shakespeare is a splendid introduction to the works, life, and times of Stratford-upon-Avon’s finest. Written with insight and a lightness of touch, Michael Alexander’s study is of great value to all readers of Shakespeare. – Rory Loughnane, University of Kent, UK
The perfect introduction to Shakespeare’s life, reception, and writing - admirably comprehensive in its scope, yet sharply focused in its attention to individual works. – James Kuzner, Brown University, USA
Infinite riches in a little room. – Times Literary Supplement (in praise of the first edition)
Those who study and teach Shakespeare for a living, as I have, will find this book very useful for their work. Alexander appreciates the plays and sonnets in ways I have never before encountered. – John W. Mahon, The Shakespeare Newsletter