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Ranging from David Garrick's Macbeth in the 1740s to the World Shakespeare Festival in London 2012, this is the first book to provide in-depth analysis of the history and practice of Shakespearean theatre reviewing. Reviewing Shakespeare describes the changing priorities and interpretative habits of theatre critics as they have both responded to and provoked innovations in Shakespearean performance culture over the last three centuries. It analyses the conditions – theatrical, journalistic, social and personal – in which Shakespearean reception has taken place, presenting original readings of the works of key critics (Shaw, Beerbohm, Agate, Tynan), whilst also tracking broader historical shifts in the relationship between reviewers and performance. Prescott explores the key function of the 'night-watch constable' in patrolling the boundaries of legitimate Shakespearean performance and offers a compelling account of the many ways in which newspaper reviews are uniquely fruitful documents for anyone interested in Shakespeare and the theatre.Read more
- The first book-length study of the history of Shakespearean theatre criticism, charting historical shifts from newspaper writing of the mid-eighteenth century to today's cyber critics of multimedia Shakespeare
- Provides detailed case studies of the work of key critics including Shaw, Beerbohm and Agate
- Proposes a new, original view of theatre history of wide interest to theatre historians and students
Reviews & endorsements
"Reviews of theatre performances are often regarded as transitory and of little weight. In this critically astute study, Paul Prescott rescues them from oblivion. The result is a book of genuine intellectual and social significance which makes an original and valuable contribution to cultural history."
Stanley Wells, The Shakespeare Birthplace TrustSee more reviews
"Charts the metamorphoses of the dark art from George Bernard Shaw, James Agate and the astringent Kenneth Tynan to the emergence online of a 'trenchant crowd-sourced meta-criticism'."
The Times Higher Education Supplement
"[An] attractive and persuasive combination of detailed research and pointed comment."
The Times Literary Supplement
"Prescott's erudite and entertaining book traces the sometimes hazardous profession of theatre reviewing in Britain from the 1740s through to the present day."
R. S. White, Cahiers Élisabéthains
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- Date Published: January 2014
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107021495
- length: 224 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 157 x 22 mm
- weight: 0.48kg
- contains: 1 table
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. An introduction to the night-watch constable
2. Tradition and the individual talent: reviewing the Macbeth actor c.1740s–1890s
3. New journalism, new critics c.1890–1910
4. The reviewer in transition c.1920–1960
5. New contexts, new crises (1997–2012): reviewing from the opening of Shakespeare's Globe to the World Shakespeare Festival 2012
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