Offering a user-friendly, beautifully illustrated guide to every play in the Shakespeare canon, as well as a portrait of the Bard's life and the world of Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, the "Essential Shakespeare Handbook" is an innovative and entertaining book which unravels the complexities of Shakespeare's plays and poems. Written in a clear and engaging style, this book will enrich the experience of the Bard's work on the page, stage, and screen.
(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
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.
Shakespeare was a man of the theatre to his core, so it is no surprise that he repeatedly contemplated the nuts and bolts of his craft in his plays and poems. Shakespeare scholar Nick de Somogyi here draws together all the cherishable set pieces - including "All the world's a stage " Hamlet's encounters with the Players, and Bottom's amateur theatricals - along with many other oblique but no less revealing glances, and further insights into theatre practice by Shakespeare's contemporaries and rivals. De Somogyi's commentary takes us through the entire process of Shakespeare's theatrical production, from its casting and auditions, via rehearsals, costumes, and props, to its premiere and audience reception. Shakespeare on Theatre eavesdrops on the urgently whispered noises-off in the "tiring-house" and inhales the heady aroma of the Globe's first audiences.
In this engaging introduction to the 'First Folio' comedies, Paul Olson gives a persuasive account of Shakespeare's comic transcendence, showing how, by taking on the great themes of his time, he elevated comedy from a mere mid-level literary form to its own form of greatness, on par with epic and tragedy.
Synopsis: Arjan Plaisier believes audiences who view Shakespeare performances and readers who study the plays deserve better than some of the recent interpretations of the Bard's work. In their attempt to be "modern," these interpreters commit historical amnesia by slighting the Christian ethos of the early Renaissance period in which Shakespeare wrote and by riding roughshod over the religious underpinnings of his plays. This neglect skews the playwright's intentions, confuses the audience, and diminishes the full effect of the play. Plaisier, too, is modern--and in a more profound sense. He sets forth how Shakespeare shapes his plots to conform at an ultimate level to timeless biblical narrative patterns (like Northrop Frye, he regards the Bible as a "code book"), so that there is a "right" ending to the work. And in an Appendix, Plaisier provides some kindly advice to his fellow pastors. You do well, he says to them, to enrich your noble calling with attention to literature. To do this, he says, you will find Shakespeare most helpful. Yes, and Plaisier's perceptive essays point to the deep wisdom in Shakespeare by which we can all live. Endorsements: "Plaisier has found the richest Christian ore in Shakespeare and has dug it up for us all. Always wise and revealing, he sets the highest standard for work at the intersection of faith and literature. Steve Van der Weele's translation is marvelously readable." --Neal Plantinga, President of Calvin Theological Seminary, Emeritus "In this time of directors' theater and modern dress extravaganzas, it is refreshing to find a literary critic who returns to the roots of Shakespeare's work. Arjan Plaisier finds strong theological undercurrents in seven of Shakespeare's greatest plays. Directors, actors, and teachers will profit from this skillful translation by Steve Van der Weele. He has, however, done everyone who loves Shakespeare's works a great favor." --Howard Slenk, Professor of Music, Calvin College, Emeritus "It is a pleasure for me to recommend Dr. Arjan Plaisier's seven theological meditations on seven of Shakespeare's plays. The centuries that have elapsed since his life and career notwithstanding, the playwright's work remains a source of both pleasure and wisdom . . . Dr. Steve Van der Weele, himself well versed in Shakespeare studies, deserves our thanks for providing a fine translation, making Dr. Plaisier's analyses accessible to English-speaking readers. Busy pastors as well as a wide spectrum of general readers will welcome this book." --Sierd Woudstra, Pastor, teacher, translator "Arjan Plaisier's analyses of seven Shakespeare plays confirms my belief that high art comes as close as we mortals can get to 'intimations of immortality, ' as close to the gates of heaven as human effort can attain. We owe it to Steve Van der Weele that by his translation of Plaisier's book he has done much to demonstrate that truth for innumerable readers of Shakespeare's work. I add, incidentally, that I cannot remember ever having read a better analysis of a Shakespeare play than Plaisier's King Lear." --Martinus Bakker, Professor of Dutch, Calvin College, Emeritus Translator Biography: Steve J. Van der Weele is a retired professor of English at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he taught for thirty-four years. He is the author of Literature and Religion as Amiable Companions: A Harvest of Essays and Reflections.
Renaissance plays and poetry in England were saturated with the formal rhetorical twists that Latin education made familiar to audiences and readers. Yet a formally educated man like Ben Jonson was unable to make these ornaments come to life in his two classical Roman plays. Garry Wills, focusing his attention on Julius Caesar, here demonstrates how Shakespeare so wonderfully made these ancient devices vivid, giving his characters their own personal styles of Roman speech.
In four chapters, devoted to four of the play s main characters, Wills shows how Caesar, Brutus, Antony, and Cassius each has his own take on the rhetorical ornaments that Elizabethans learned in school. Shakespeare also makes Rome present and animate by casting his troupe of experienced players to make their strengths shine through the historical facts that Plutarch supplied him with. The result is that the Rome English-speaking people carry about in their minds is the Rome that Shakespeare created for them. And that is even true, Wills affirms, for today s classical scholars with access to the original Roman sources."
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.