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A Companion to Shakespeare Paperback – October 29, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0631218784 ISBN-10: 9780631218784

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (October 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780631218784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631218784
  • ASIN: 0631218785
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This collection of 28 essays provides a historical overview of the conditions of Shakespeare's world. Little interpretation or criticism of Shakespeare's works is provided. Instead, each essay creates a portrait of one aspect of the theatrical, political, literary, intellectual, and social worlds that influenced the Bard and affected his writing. Topics include religion, political thought, reading practices, the craft of playwriting, the status of English, the economics and the repertory of the theater, licensing, censorship, and the business of printing. Extensive bibliographies follow each essay. Kastan (English and comparative literature, Columbia) is currently editing Henry IV, Part 1 for the Arden Shakespeare series. A solid addition to Shakespeare studies; recommended for academic collections and public libraries supporting strong high school literature programs.?Shana C. Fair, Ohio Univ., Zanesville
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This collection of 28 essays provides a historical overview of the conditions of Shakespeare's world." Library Journal <!--end-->

<!--end-->"No playgoer, reader, teacher or scholar should be without this elegant and indispensable guide to Shakespeare. It brings together the best in recent scholarship on the social history, contemporary reading, and institutions and material practices of writing, playing and printing in early modern England. Kastan has assembled a collection of essays with his peers and presented them with his characteristic intelligence and grace. The definitive Companion to Shakespeare." Karen Newman, Brown University

"A worthy companion indeed - every serious student of Shakespeare should carry this adroitly compiled collection of specialist essays on essential background constantly with them. Kastan has brought together a star cast of experts to help us to hear Shakespeare's distinctive voice, with all its historical and intellectual resonances, in a fresh and sharply clarified context." Lisa Jardine, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London

"Literally indispensable for anyone interested in Shakespeare." Patricia Parker, University of Stanford

"David Kastan has put together a dazzling collection of essays on Shakespeare. And one doesn't expect to be dazzled by that rather sedate animal, a Companion. This Companion represents the very best in recent scholarship and is at the same time lively, accessible, and often surprising. It is indeed indispensible." Peter Stallybrass, University of Pennsylvania

"Between them these specialist writers have assembled a series of essays which represent, for the time being at least, the last word in Shakespearean scholarship and research. It is difficult to think of any aspect of the dramatist's life, times and work which is not covered by this companion."


"This companion can be confidently recommended as a paragon of Shakespearean research." K.C.Harrison, Reference Reviews

"The publication [...] of the monumental Companion to Shakespeare, edited by David Scott Kastan, is a major event and one that should be celebrated for the breadth and depth of scholarship the book makes available to students." Year's Work In English Studies


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is ideal for teachers, students, and general readers looking for an all-in-one companion to the plays. It provides detailed information on Shakespeare's world which will enrich anyone's reading. The book has no axes to grind, but nor does it merely present a dry listing of facts and figures. Instead, the authors carefully and subtly place Shakespeare in the contexts--literary, philosophical, economic, religious, and textual--in which he wrote and others read his plays and saw them performed. Reading the essays returned me to the plays with new insight and new interest. Highly recommended. (The new paperback edition is a steal considering how often I refer to it!)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
One reviewer says that this Companion is a "steal." That is exactly how I got the book! I took it from my school library(it had not even been catalogued yet). My students are Protestant and the information on the theology of the times turned them on to Hamlet as nothing ever has in my years of teaching. The essay on reading habits is fascinating to them. Seniors in a public high school read and comprehended the essays and class discussions were so enriched. I took the book back to my library and ordered copies of my own and for several students who wanted them. A must!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A COMPANION TO SHAKESPEARE is an invaluable addition to the collection of anyone, student, scholar or layman with an interest in the conditions that made Shakespeare's art possible. The unbiased essays are not slanted to unfairly represent any of the current popular "isms" reflected in the critical analysis of the past twenty years. In fact, the individual essays are clear, informative, useful and even fun. In compiling the book, the editor of the COMPANION, David Scott Kastan, seems to have made a conscious effort to present material that would, "restore Shakespeare's artistry to the earliest conditions of its realization and intelligibility: to the collaborations of the theatre in which the plays were acted, to the practices of the book trade in which they were published, to the unstable political world of late Tudor and early Stuart England in which the plays were engaged by their various publics" (see Kastan, SHAKESPEARE AFTER THEORY)In addition to its enlightening and insightful content, the COMPANION is beautifully designed and the new paperback edition is an incredible bargain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By andrew renton on September 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
this is a remarkable collection of informative and accessible essays that energetically lay out the intellectual, social, and material contexts in which Shakespeare's plays were written, performed,and ultimately read. This is what students and readers need to know, rather than some critic telling them what to think. A must for school libraries, but good to have on your own shelves. hurray!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a teacher at a large public high school, I would like to take this opportunity to recommend A COMPANION TO SHAKESPEARE as a volume that every single library should have on its shelves. Not only has the book been an invaluable resource for me as a teacher of Shakespeare but it has also served as a wonderful enrichment tool for all of my students. The essays give a wealth of information on the times and conditions in which Shakespeare was writing and my students scramble to be the next in line to check it out. In fact, I intend to order an additional copy for the library as soon as possible.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book intended as a textbook or library resource for students reflects and advances the causes of the New Historicism, with its deplorable tendencies to omit, distort, or misrepresent evidence incompatible with its political and social predelictions. I take three articles in my field as representative of all. Hackel, who describes readers and reading during Shakespeare's times, insinuates a strong cleavage between court and common readers, cites literacy rates from Bennett's study for the period from 1475 to 1557, ending 30 years before Shakespeare began writing; she ignores his relevant studies for the periods 1558-1603 and 1603-1640 which show shared interests and widespread literacy throughout the population. Addressing vernacular reading, Henderson and Siemon, not only share her insinuation, but deplore the tendency for source study to make 'Shakespeare's writing appear more subtle or rich than these other kinds of writing,' namely, 'ballads, anatomies, and court proceedings,' and claim the differences are now seen as based on ideology rather than aesthetics. Of course, Shakespeare's works are superior to these other kinds as works to literature. The authors avoid the most obvious explanation of the late Elizabethan interest in romances, strong and widespread nationalism in the face of the threat from Catholic Spain and especially after the defeat of the Spanish Armada because romance suggests the heroism and idealism associated with aristocratic chivalry. In his (and their) insistence on seeing Shakespeare as an early modern as opposed to a late medieval writer, Woolf blinds himself to the fact that late Elizabethans still read history analogically and morally, not linearly and technically.Read more ›
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