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Shakespeare's Reading Audiences

Shakespeare's Reading Audiences
Early Modern Books and Audience Interpretation


  • Date Published: July 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107190641

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About the Authors
  • This study grows out of the intersection of two realms of scholarly investigation - the emerging public sphere in early modern England and the history of the book. Shakespeare's Reading Audiences examines the ways in which different communities - humanist, legal, religious and political - would have interpreted Shakespeare's plays and poems, whether printed or performed. Cyndia Susan Clegg begins by analysing elite reading clusters associated with the Court, the universities, and the Inns of Court and how their interpretation of Shakespeare's Sonnets and Henry V arose from their reading of Italian humanists. She concludes by examining how widely held public knowledge about English history both affected Richard II's reception and how such knowledge was appropriated by the State. She also considers The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V, and Othello from the point of view of audience members conversant in popular English legal writing and Macbeth from the perspective of popular English Calvinism.

    • Expands our understanding of reading cultures to include not just elites but a variety of reading audiences and experiences
    • Combines recent scholarship on reading, literacy, print culture and the public sphere
    • Considers Shakespeare's work from the perspective of his own contemporary audiences
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107190641
    • length: 226 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Audiences and reading
    2. Reading Italian humanism: elite literary coteries and Shakespeare's sonnets
    3. Reading Italian humanism: elite political coteries and Henry V
    4. Reading law: popular legal treatises and The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V and Othello
    5. Reading religion: Macbeth and the calvinist drama of discernment
    6. Reading politics: history, Richard II, and the public sphere.

  • Author

    Cyndia Susan Clegg, Pepperdine University, Malibu
    Cyndia Susan Clegg, Distinguished Professor of English at Pepperdine University, Malibu, has published articles on early modern print culture and on Shakespeare in Shakespeare Quarterly, the Ben Jonson Journal, Huntington Library Quarterly and several essay collections. Her books include The Peaceable and Prosperous Regiment of Blessed Queene Elisabeth (2005), Press Censorship in Caroline England (Cambridge, 2008), Press Censorship in Jacobean England (Cambridge, 2001) and Press Censorship in Elizabeth England (Cambridge, 1997).

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