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Medieval Shakespeare
Pasts and Presents

$35.99 (C)

Helen Cooper, Bruce R. Smith, Bart van Es, A. E. B. Coldiron, Jonathan Hope, Margreta de Grazia, Ruth Morse, Tom Bishop, Michael O'Connell, Janette Dillon, Peter Holland, David Bevington
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  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107559523

$ 35.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • For many, Shakespeare represents the advent of modernity. It is easy to forget that he was in fact a writer deeply embedded in the Middle Ages, who inherited many of his shaping ideas and assumptions from the medieval past. This collection brings together essays by internationally renowned scholars of medieval and early modern literature, the history of the book and theatre history to present new perspectives on Shakespeare and his medieval heritage. Separated into four parts, the collection explores Shakespeare and his work in the context of the Middle Ages, medieval books and language, the British past, and medieval conceptions of drama and theatricality, together showing Shakespeare's work as rooted in late medieval history and culture. Insisting upon Shakespeare's complexity and medieval multiplicity, Medieval Shakespeare gives readers the opportunity to appreciate both Shakespeare and his period within the traditions that fostered and surrounded him.

    • Offers a far-ranging series of approaches to Shakespeare's use of medieval material, from original and modern performance practices to ideas of language, religion and nation
    • Challenges received ideas of the Middle Ages as a sudden divide marked by Shakespeare and argues that Shakespeare appears as a late medieval or transition figure, not as the ancestor of modernity
    • Brings readers up to date on some of the most innovative work in current Shakespeare studies
    • Explores dramatic and linguistic cultures in unusual breadth and depth, broadening readers' appreciation of the culture of the early modern world and its shaping
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "A fascinating dialogue between two literary periods."
    The Times Literary Supplement

    "The contributors to the volume do not understand the term 'medieval Shakespeare' in either narrow or prescriptive ways. Rather it is taken as a point of departure in thinking about Shakespeare's language, his representation of history, his theatre practice, and his subsequent reception. The essays offer the reader a sense of the range, scope, and dynamism of current research, highlighting the ways in which 'medieval Shakespeare' can encompass and contain approaches as diverse as book history, performance history, the history of ideas, historiography, and historical linguistics."
    David Salter, Cahiers Élisabéthains

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107559523
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Helen Cooper
    Part I. The Middle Ages and Shakespeare:
    1. Shakespeare's Middle Ages Bruce R. Smith
    2. Late Shakespeare and the Middle Ages Bart van Es
    Part II. Books and Language:
    3. The mediated 'medieval' and Shakespeare A. E. B. Coldiron
    4. 'Not know my voice?': Shakespeare corrected
    English perfected - theories of language from the Middle Ages to Modernity Jonathan Hope
    5. The afterlife of personification Helen Cooper
    Part III. The British Past:
    6. 'King Lear in BC Albion' Margreta de Grazia
    7. Shakespeare and the remains of Britain Ruth Morse
    Part IV. The Theatrical Dimension:
    8. The art of playing Tom Bishop
    9. Blood begetting blood: Shakespeare and the Mysteries Michael O'Connell
    10. From scaffold to discovery-space: change and continuity Janette Dillon
    11. Performing the Middle Ages Peter Holland
    12. Afterword: the evil of 'medieval' David Bevington.

  • Editors

    Ruth Morse, Université Paris-Sorbonne-Cité
    Ruth Morse is professeur des universités at the Université Paris-Sorbonne-Cité. Her books include two edited volumes, Shakespeare, les français, les France (2008) and a volume of Great Shakespeareans; the monograph Truth and Convention in the Middle Ages: Rhetoric, Reality, and Representation (1991), and she is currently completing Imagined Histories: Fictions of the Past from Beowulf to Shakespeare.

    Helen Cooper, University of Cambridge
    Helen Cooper is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge. Beginning with her Pastoral: Mediaeval into Renaissance (1978), she has published extensively across the periods, most recently with The English Romance in Time: Transforming Motifs from Geoffrey of Monmouth to the Death of Shakespeare (2004) and Shakespeare and the Medieval World (2010).

    Peter Holland, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
    Peter Holland is Associate Dean for the Arts, College of Arts and Letters and McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies at the University of Notre Dame. From 1997 to 2002 he was Director of the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon and Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is Editor of Shakespeare Survey, co-General Editor with Stanley Wells of Oxford Shakespeare Topics and with Adrian Poole of the eighteen-volume series Great Shakespeareans.


    Helen Cooper, Bruce R. Smith, Bart van Es, A. E. B. Coldiron, Jonathan Hope, Margreta de Grazia, Ruth Morse, Tom Bishop, Michael O'Connell, Janette Dillon, Peter Holland, David Bevington

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