Now in a new edition, Lukas Erne's groundbreaking study argues that Shakespeare, apart from being a playwright who wrote theatrical texts for the stage, was also a literary dramatist who produced reading texts for the page. Examining the evidence from early published playbooks, Erne argues that Shakespeare wrote many of his plays with a readership in mind and that these 'literary' texts would have been abridged for the stage because they were too long for performance. The variant early texts of Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and Hamlet are shown to reveal important insights into the different media for which Shakespeare designed his plays. This revised and updated edition includes a new and substantial preface that reviews and intervenes in the controversy the study has triggered and lists reviews, articles and books which respond to or build on the first edition.Read more
- The Times Literary Supplement 'Book of the Year', first published in 2003, is now updated in a second edition, appealing to those who are interested in recent changes in thinking about Shakespeare
- Published to coincide with the publication of Erne's follow-up study, Shakespeare and the Book Trade; jointly, the closely related and co-ordinated studies give access to Erne's seminal work on 'readerly Shakespeare'
- Includes a new preface which engages with responses to the study since it was first published, giving readers access to a key debate in Shakespeare studies over the last ten years
Reviews & endorsements
Review of the first edition: 'The year's best book on Shakespeare.' Jonathan Bate, The Times Literary SupplementSee more reviews
Review of the first edition: 'An exceedingly learned book … I must say I found this mustered evidence and these arguments completely gripping.' James Fenton, The New York Review of Books
Review of the first edition: 'Among the most significant works of Shakespearean scholarship in recent years.' MacDonald Jackson, University of Auckland
Review of the first edition: 'Lukas Erne's new book is certainly one of the most fascinating, thought-provoking, and lucid studies of Shakespeare I can remember reading.' Robert C. Evans, Ben Jonson Journal
Review of the first edition: 'Lukas Erne's brilliant new book … sets out probably the most exhilarating change in our image of Shakespeare as a writer for decades … Erne is brilliant at reconsidering evidence, taking a quizzical view of comments and facts that we had understood in one way for so long that we had forgotten to keep asking whether they could be read in other and better ways. It is the work of a scholar who here and in the years to come has a vast amount to teach us about Shakespeare, making him new, just as every performance makes the particular play new …' Peter Holland, University of Notre Dame
Review of the first edition: 'The notion is familiar. Shakespeare - actor, playwright, man of the theatre - was a producer of scripts, devoted to their production in the playhouse, but indifferent to their appearance in print. Lukas Erne challenges this notion, with a persuasive picture of a Shakespeare conscious of having been read and reread, excerpted and anthologized; a writer writing with a readership in mind. Erne's book, which draws together the recent isolated conclusions of a number of scholars, builds on their foundations a more radical thesis, and makes it difficult to see how so many of us could have been taken in for so long by the unlikely image of a jobbing playwright.' Nicholas Robins, The Times Literary Supplement
Review of the first edition: '[Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist] will certainly change our future discourse about dramatic texts and about Shakespeare.' Richard Knowles, Modern Philology
Review of the first edition: '[Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist] will serve to set new directions for Renaissance scholarship.' Andrew Murphy, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
Review of the first edition: 'An excellent and scrupulously researched book … this may well, then, be one of those rare books that changes how Shakespeare is perceived and edited.' Colin Burrow, Shakespeare Quarterly
Review of the first edition: 'Erne achieves nothing less than the complete undoing of our understanding of Shakespeare as author.' Dympna Callaghan, Studies in English Literature
Review of the first edition: 'Erne's book is marvellously researched, meticulously annotated, sensitively illustrated, and delivered in clear, refulgent prose … its conclusions are so engaging that its arguments will become well known by a generation or more of Shakespeareans.' Kevin de Ornellas, New Theatre Quarterly
Review of the first edition: 'An important book whose careful engagement with difficult questions and often conflicting evidence will command serious attention in Shakespearian scholarship.' Lawrence Manley, Renaissance Journal
'… address[es] an important question and establish[es] a probable answer.' The Tablet
'This is an excellent book … to learn much of what is known about the quarto and Folio texts of the eighteen plays published in both formats, with special attention given to the shorter quartos. Erne presents his tremendous learning on this subject in a very understandable way.' Michael P. Jensen, The Shakespeare Newsletter
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- Edition: 2nd Edition
- Date Published: April 2013
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107685062
- length: 323 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 150 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.49kg
- contains: 12 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Preface to the second edition
Part I. Publication:
1. The legitimation of printed playbooks in Shakespeare's time
2. The making of 'Shakespeare'
3. Shakespeare and the publication of his plays (I): the late sixteenth century
4. Shakespeare and the publication of his plays (II): the early seventeenth century
5. The players' alleged opposition to print
Part II. Texts:
6. Why size matters: 'the two hours' traffic of our stage' and the length of Shakespeare's plays
7. Editorial policy and the length of Shakespeare's plays
8. 'Bad quartos' and their origins: Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, and Hamlet
9. Theatricality, literariness, and the texts of Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, and Hamlet
Appendix A: the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in print, 1584–1623
Appendix B: Heminge and Condell's 'Stolne, and surreptitious copies' and the Pavier quartos
Appendix C: Shakespeare and the circulation of dramatic manuscripts.
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