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Shakespeare's Possible Worlds
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  • Cited by 4
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    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hanson, Elizabeth 2019. Staged Normality in Shakespeare's England. p. 69.

    Graham, Jamey E. 2018. Mimesis, Economy, and Civilization in Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well. Modern Philology, Vol. 116, Issue. 1, p. 20.

    Decamp, Eleanor 2016. Civic and Medical Worlds in Early Modern England. p. 3.

    Decamp, Eleanor 2016. Civic and Medical Worlds in Early Modern England. p. 99.


Book description

New methods are needed to do justice to Shakespeare. His work exceeds conventional models, past and present, for understanding playworlds. In this book, Simon Palfrey goes right to the heart of early modern popular drama, revealing both how it works and why it matters. Unlike his contemporaries, Shakespeare gives independent life to all his instruments, and to every fraction and fragment of the plays. Palfrey terms these particles 'formactions' - theatre-specific forms that move with their own action and passion. Palfrey's book is critically daring in both substance and format. Its unique mix of imaginative gusto, thought experiments, and virtuosic technique generates piercing close readings of the plays. There is far more to playlife than meets the eye. Influenced by Leibniz's visionary original model of possible worlds, Palfrey opens up the multiple worlds of Shakespeare's language, scenes, and characters as never before.


‘Shakespeare's Possible Worlds establishes Simon Palfrey as one of the great Shakespeare scholars of our age. On every page, Palfrey marshals his command of Renaissance theatrical technique and Baroque philosophy in order to float inventive readings that demonstrate the plenitude and plasticity of Shakespeare's dramatic imagining. Crafting both a philosophy of close reading and a dramaturgy of metaphor, Palfrey discovers a hermeneutics indigenous to theater. As Palfrey summons us to witness Shakespeare knitting shapes from the deep, we rediscover ourselves in the concatenation of worlds that drama assembles.'

Julia Reinhard Lupton - University of California, Irvine, and author of Thinking with Shakespeare: Essays on Politics and Life

'… unlike any other monograph in Shakespeare criticism published recently … The intellectual labour that went into [this book] is dazzling. Ideas from literature, literary criticism, art history, fine arts, film, science, religion, rhetoric, philosophy, and new media abound, plunging the reader into an unexpected reading experience.'

Goran Stanivukovic - Saint Mary's University, Nova Scotia

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