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When Shakespeare gave up tragedy around 1607 and turned to the new form we call romance or tragicomedy, he created a distinctive poetic idiom that often bewildered audiences and readers. The plays of this period, Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, as well as Shakespeare's part in the collaborations with John Fletcher (Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen), exhibit a challenging verse style - verbally condensed, metrically and syntactically sophisticated, both conversational and highly wrought. In Shakespeare's Late Style, McDonald anatomizes the components of this late style, illustrating in a series of topically organized chapters the contribution of such features as ellipsis, grammatical suspension, and various forms of repetition. Resisting the sentimentality that frequently attends discussion of an artist's 'late' period, Shakespeare's Late Style shows how the poetry of the last plays reveals their creator's ambivalent attitude towards art, language, men and women, the theatre, and his own professional career.Read more
- Offers a specific examination of the poetry in Shakespeare's late plays
- Individual chapters address particular poetic features
- Relates the poetic features to larger questions of meaning and theatrical effect
Reviews & endorsements
"Shakespeare's Late Style by Russ Mcdonald represents a rare, intriguing effort to understand the development of Shakespeare's final plays by studying them at the level of the sentence, clause and phrase."
- Bruce Boehrer Studies in English LiteratureSee more reviews
"McDonald’s analysis is both original and convincing. He is an attuned close reader, combining sensitivity to tone and metre with precision."
-Times Literary Supplement
"Certainly, in Shakespeare studies, there has been a notable lack of precise technical accounts of Shakespeare’s late style, presumably in part because few critics have either the skills or the sheer persistence required to do the work well. Russ McDonald sets out in Shakespeare’s Late Style to rectify this situation, and he does so superbly...what stands out above all from Shakespeare’s Late Style is the critic’s sheer delight in the language of the plays, his determination to investigate the mechanics of their verbal force while never losing sight of the pleasure and frisson of their effect, and the sheer clarity of description that his enthusiasm brings with it. McDonald’s book feels like a genuine labour of love; it is also a tour de force, one that all Shakespeareans should read and absorb if we are to know what we really mean when we refer to the playwright’s ‘late style’." --Gordon McMullan, King's College London, Shakespeare Quarterly
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- Date Published: February 2010
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521129626
- length: 272 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
- weight: 0.4kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The idioms of the late tragedies
3. Syntax (I): divagation
4. Syntax (II): suspension
6. Style and the making of meaning.
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