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A Contextual History

$36.99 (C)

  • Date Published: January 1997
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521587082

$ 36.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Shakespeare's Othello has exercised a powerful fascination over audiences with its portrayal of destructive jealousy. This study is a major exercise in the historicization of Othello in which the author examines contemporary writings and demonstrates how they were embedded in the text. Subsequent chapters analyze representations and interpretations from the Restoration to the present, using illustrations of performances and performers. Othello is revealed as a significant shaper of cultural meaning.

    • First study to focus uniquely on the historical contexts of Othello
    • Extensive use of primary sources from the Jacobean period to elucidate the play's themes
    • Discusses performance on stage and film with illustrations
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "As a nuanced and selective work of Shakespearian scholarship, Othello: a contextual history is a substantial achievement." Theatre Research International

    "Othello: a contextual history represents a genuinely new way of doing Shakespeare studies; a synthesis of performance and context histories that works only because it is so intelligently and compellingly historicised." Meridian

    "As dramaturg for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival's 1996 production of Othello, I had the opportunity to peruse and use the contents of a full library shelf devoted to Shakespeare's tragedy. None of these works, however, proved more helpful than one that came in the mail shortly before we began rehearsal: Virgina Mason Vaughan's Othello: A Contextual History....this book provides a balanced, insightful, and original contribution to the field of Othello scholarship. What sets it apart from other works in this crowded field is that it also manages to be an invaluable aid for a theatre practitioner, as my dog-eared and much higlighted copy can testify." Geron E. Coale, Theatre Studies

    "This eloquently written book offers, a mix of the old and the new....Despite the familiarity of some of its materials and the ease of some of its arguments, Othello: A Contextual History is full of fresh and informative discussion....Anyone interested in the rich web of meanings that Shakespeare's Othello has created and absorbed will want to start here, with Othello: A Contextual History." Emily C. Bartels, Modern Philology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 1997
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521587082
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 154 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 19 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Jacobean Contexts:
    1. Global discourse: Venetians and Turks
    2. Military discourse: knights and mercenaries
    3. Racial discourse: black and white
    4. Marital discourse: husbands and wives
    Part II. Representations:
    5. Othello in Restoration England
    6. Amateur versus professional: the Delaval Othello
    7. William Charles Macready and the domestic Othello
    8. Salvini, Irving, and the dissociation of intellect
    9. 'The Ethiopian Moor': Paul Robeson's Othello
    10. Orson Welles and the patriarchal eye
    11. Othello for the 1990s: Trevor Nunn's 1989 Royal Shakespeare Company production

  • Author

    Virginia Mason Vaughan, Clark University, Massachusetts

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