Following on the success of his Theatergoer's Guide to Shakespeare, Robert Fallon now examines the themes in Shakespeare's plays, the revelations about human nature that give them substance and weight and such an enduring quality. Again Mr. Fallon sets aside academic jargon and the machinery of scholarship; he writes for intelligent playgoers, seeking to enhance their enjoyment of a performance. (Of course, casual readers too will find his interpretations absorbing.) The book surveys the most pervasive of Shakespeare's themes, among them love, war, illusion, statecraft, heroism, the supernatural, and the comic. In chapters devoted to each of eleven such themes, Mr. Fallon explains how these patterns of meaning were viewed in Shakespeare's time, what history the poet draws upon in presenting them on the stage, and how he suggests them through his pageant of men and women engaged in the business of living. Mr. Fallon offers a wealth of illustrative examples from all thirty-eight plays attributed to the Bard. His lively narrative provides ample detail, ensuring that the examples are accessible to readers who may not be familiar with some of the less frequently staged works. As in A Theatergoer's Guide to Shakespeare, Mr. Fallon succeeds in capturing Shakespeare's endless appeal: his ability to place before us figures with whom we are familiar--the ardent lover, the swaggering soldier, the tyrant, villain, and clown, as well as mothers, fathers, and children, both treacherous and devoted--all of whom confront the experiences that define the eternal themes of the human condition.
Dominic Dromgoole is a fitting witness to the passage of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre from curiosity to respected showcase.-The New York Times A passionate, often very funny account.-The Economist A superbly written, infectiously high-spirited narrative. It is a bumptious, opinionated memoir crammed with fascinating anecdotes, finely tuned phrases, and genuine shafts of insight. A book hard to put down.-Terry Eagleton William Shakespeare has always been part of Dominic Dromgoole's life. Here he recounts the story of his life through Shakespeare, and in turn shows us what Shakespeare can tell us about the world. In this freewheeling and passionate exploration of Shakespeare the artist, the man, the playwright, and the genius, Dromgoole explores why it is that he can enter our lives with such force and teach us so much about living. Using his own encounters as a guide, Dromgoole shows how Shakespeare's words on war, love, death, drunkenness, family, friendship, and everything else reveal us to ourselves. This is the true nature of Shakespeare, a godhead of comic, sexual, sublime humanism, whose plays and characters have become a universal gateway to an understanding of the world. A passionate Shakespearean practically since birth, Dominic Dromgoole is the new artistic director for the Globe Theatre, the playhouse Shakespeare made famous. He is a columnist for the Guardian and a regular contributor to The Sunday Times. His first book, The Full Room, was one of the most controversial and successful theater books in England of the last few years.
- The Folger is a singular library devoted to the greatest writer in the English language - Offers close-up and behind-the-scenes views of everyday life at the Library - Folger's editions of Shakespeare's plays are perennial best-sellers, popular with students and general readers alike Founded in 1932, the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. is the world's largest Shakespeare collection. It hosts millions of visitors - in person and online - each year. For two years, award-winning photographer Robert Dawson and independent curator Ellen Manchester went behind the scenes to document its diverse, lively, and sometimes surprising culture. Provided with full access, Dawson and Manchester offer a vivid look at life and work at the Folger, from its arts, outreach, teaching, and research programs to the delicate craft of book conservation. Dawson's images also depict topics that might seem too difficult to capture - the birth of ideas, the scope of digital research, and the staff and visitors' connection with Shakespeare and his works from Macbeth to A Midsummer Night's Dream. Along with photographs, the book also includes writer Jennifer Howard's exploration of the Folger's human side; a meditation on life, death, and the library by Stanford art historian Alexander Nemerov; and an essay by poet and playwright Afaa Michael Weaver on the many ways in which Shakespeare's works live on.
A full-color, fold-out volume provides detailed genealogies of more than one thousand characters from all thirty-nine of Shakespeare's plays, along with plot descriptions of each play, a genealogy of Shakespeare's own family, dozens of full-color photographs and artifacts, and special sections on Elizabethan playwrights, theater, and actors. 25,000 first printing.
(Limelight). "Pennington's great experience of the play...love for it...depth of knowledge...of many productions and interpretations culminate in a book of infinite value to any actor, director and above all to any passionate playgoer...written with passion, humor and rigor...an excellent read." Ralph Fiennes
Edited, introduced and annotated by Cedric Watts, M.A., Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of English, University of Sussex.
The Wordsworth Classics' Shakespeare Series, with Henry V as its inaugral volume, presents a newly-edited sequence of William Shakespeare's works. The textual editing endeavours to take account of recent scholarship while giving the material a careful reappraisal.
Henry V is the most famous and influential of Shakespeare's history plays. Its powerful patriotic rhetoric has resounded down the ages, gaining eloquent expression in Laurence Olivier's renowned film. Henry himself, astute and charismatic, who led his 'band of brothers' to victory in the Battle of Agincourt, could indeed seem to be 'this star of England'. In recent decades the play has attracted increasing critical attention and is now highly controversial. Kenneth Branagh's film-production reflected the changing valuation. Does this play have a sceptical sub-text which subverts its patriotism? Is Henry's achievement beset by irony? Has current scepticism distorted a predominantly and proudly nationalistic drama? Henry V demonstrates Shakespeare's acclaimed ability to bring new complexity to the material that he adapted, so that different eras may find within his work the familiar and the strange, the congenial and the harsh, the sustaining and the challenging.
With the exception of Hamlet, Othello is Shakespeare's most controversial play. It is also his most shocking. Dr Johnson famously described the ending as "not to be endured", and H.H. Furness, after editing the Variorum edition of the play, confessed to wishing that "this tragedy had never been written". No play in performance has prompted more outbursts from onlookers: there are many recorded instances of members of the audience actually trying to intervene to prevent Othello murdering Desdemona.
It is a more domestic tragedy than Hamlet, King Lear or Macbeth, and it is the intimacy of its subject matter which gives it its dramatic power. Othello is a faithful portrait of life, wrote one anonymous Romantic critic. "Love and jealousy are passions which all men, with few exceptions, have at some time felt." Othello has also prompted more critical disputes than any other play except Hamlet. How could the hero possibly believe his wife had been unfaithful within a few days of their marriage? Is the marriage consummated (as it is usually assumed to be)? Is Othello a noble hero or is he really just a self-deluded egotist? And in this play about a disastrous inter-racial marriage, how important is the whole issue of race? Is the play itself racist?
This book looks at what Othello is really about and why it has such power to move us. It aims to offer a clear, authoritative and fresh view of Othello, while taking account of the many fascinating insights other critics have had into the play in the four centuries since it was written.
For years scholars and others have been trying to out Shakespeare as an ardent Calvinist, a crypto-Catholic, a Puritan-baiter, a secularist, or a devotee of some hybrid faith. In Religion Around Shakespeare, Peter Kaufman sets aside such speculation in favor of considering the historical and religious context surrounding his work. Employing extensive archival research, he aims to assist literary historians who probe the religious discourses, characters, and events that seem to have found places in Shakespeare's plays and to aid general readers or playgoers developing an interest in the plays' and playwright's religious contexts: Catholic, conformist, and reformist. Kaufman argues that sermons preached around Shakespeare and conflicts that left their marks on literature, law, municipal chronicles, and vestry minutes enlivened the world in which (and with which) he worked and can enrich our understanding of the playwright and his plays.