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Reviewing Shakespeare
Journalism and Performance from the Eighteenth Century to the Present

$30.99 (C)

  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108439077

$ 30.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • 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 and 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.

    • 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 which will be of wide interest to theatre historians and students
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    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 Trust

    "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

    ‘… Prescott’s survey is the first book about the subject, and as such makes an important contribution to correct 'the low esteem in which scholars have held journalists and journalistic criticism'.’ Gefen Bar-On Santor, Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108439077
    • length: 226 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • 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.1920–60
    5. New contexts, new crises (1997–2012): reviewing from the opening of Shakespeare's Globe to the World Shakespeare Festival 2012
    Works cited.

  • Author

    Paul Prescott, University of Warwick
    Paul Prescott is Associate Professor of English at the University of Warwick, a Trustee of the British Shakespeare Association and a teaching associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has published widely on theatre history, contemporary performance and creative pedagogy, and is currently completing a short biography of Sam Wanamaker, founder of the Globe. His work has appeared in publications including The New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare, The Blackwell Companion to Shakespeare and Performance and Shakespeare Survey. He is the co-founder of and

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