'This book rests on a lifetime's thinking about history. It helps us see Shakespeare in "a more realistic light".' Times Literary Supplement The seventeenth century saw the brief flowering of tragic drama across Western Europe. And in the plays of William Shakespeare, this form of drama found its greatest exponent. These Tragedies, Kiernan argues, represented the artistic expression of a new social and political consciousness which permeated every aspect of life in this period. In this book, Kiernan sets out to rescue the Tragedies from the reductionist interpretations of mainstream literary criticism, by uncovering the wider historical context which shaped Shakespeare's writings. Opening with an overview of contemporary England, the development of the theatre, and a portrait of Shakespeare as a writer, Kiernan goes on to provide an in-depth analysis of eight of his Tragedies - from Julius Caesar to Coriolanus - drawing out their contrasts and recurring themes, and exploring their attitudes to monarchy, war, religion, philosophy, and changing relations between men and women. Featuring a new introduction by Terry Eagleton, this is an invaluable resource for those looking for a new perspective on Shakespeare's writings.
Shakespeare’s Theater: A Sourcebook brings together in one volume the most significant Elizabethan and Jacobean texts on the morality of the theater.
WHAT'S THE MATTER? A New Shakespeare Play is literally Shakespearean--the writings of Shakespeare provide all of the dialogue for characters that are creations in a new, full-length play with an original plot. Lines lifted from the poems and plays are refashioned to vitalize and elevate a new story and cast of characters. While driven by Shakespeare's language, WHAT'S THE MATTER? is also Shakespearean in its characterizations, story, and structure; it is an imitation of a Renaissance "romance" or tragicomedy. While visiting his old school-friend in Palermo, Valmond falls in love with his sister, Princess Katrina, and she with him, though neither of them is able to declare that love to the other. Valmond must return to Burgundy to oversee his governance. Cosimo, the Prince of Naples, and his forces arrive in Sicily to demand from the king a long-delayed payment of tribute to the King of Naples. After the Sicilians refuse payment, they go to war with the forces of Naples. Amadeo leads the Sicilian forces, but is betrayed by his uncle and killed. Having conquered Sicily, Cosimo tries to force Katrina to marry him, but she resists. The king dies of a lingering illness. Cosimo appoints Katrina's uncle as his deputy and departs Sicily. Katrina, her mother, her cousin and Amadeo's wife, escape to Syracuse. After hearing news of all that has happened, Valmond vows revenge and sails to Syracuse with his own army to join forces with the Sicilians.
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