The central concern of Michael Dobson and Estelle Rivier-Arnaud’s book is the re-writings that Shakespeare’s plays inspired, or as Gérard Genette – referred to in the introduction – would have put it, on the various palimpsests that continue to enrich our bookshelves. Indeed, this volume is about literary works – the word ‘rewriting’ gestures toward the literary field – and the editors acknowledge that a comprehensive account of Shakespeare-inspired creations would have been “an anthology in itself” (5). The word ‘rewriting’ is analysed in the introduction and it is presented as including such processes as translation, allusion, rehearsal, repetition and even interpretation. All in all, the introductory demonstration aims to remind the readers that Shakespeare’s plays are the source of inextinguishable and variegated inspiration. It would have been interesting to remind them from the outset – rather than in the conclusion (161) – that some of Shakespeare’s plays are palimpsests too – for example, he used extensively Robert Greene’s Pandosto to write The Winter’s Tale, not to mention Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynde that, in turns, owed much to the anonymous Tale of Gamelyn – and that the Shakespeare-centred process under scrutiny may be regarded as reaching both forward and backward in time.
Hamlet’s Age and the Earl of Southampton now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Hamlet’s Age and the Earl of Southampton by Lars Kaaber.
Hamlet’s Age and the Earl of Southampton investigates the exact age of the eponymous prince in Shakespeare’s play, a topic which has been subject to frequent debates over the past 239 years. Whether Hamlet is sixteen, eighteen or, as the Gravedigger states in Act V, thirty years old may seem irrelevant to performances of the play (since actors tackling the part are very rarely in their teens), but it still tends to influence our general view of the Danish prince. Romantic criticism in the early 19th century insisted on a heroic and supremely intelligent teenage prince, and, to a large extent, this view of Hamlet still prevails. Whether Shakespeare meant his protagonist to be the irreproachable prince of Romantic fancy, however, remains a question. Continue reading
On Shakespeare in Sonnets: A Study in the Theory and Practice of Reader Response Criticism now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of On Shakespeare in Sonnets: A Study in the Theory and Practice of Reader Response Criticism by E. L. Risden.
Reader Response Theory began to take hold in the 1960s. Much like the phenomenological approach to criticism that preceded it, it allows both reader and author intentionality and conscious presence, and it gives the reader particular presence in the fulfillment or completion of the text. The work of art mediates between author and reader, and the reader participates in an interpretive community that gives the work life and liveliness. This book is divided into three sections: Part I discusses the history and practice of Reader Response criticism; Part II comprises a collection of thirty-eight sonnets responding both critically and creatively to Shakespeare’s works; and Part III discusses the poems of Part II as both creative and critical acts, elaborating on what they aim to show about the plays and how Shakespeare’s plays continue to encourage varied analytical and personal response. As shown here, the creative and the critical need not be separate, exclusive acts; each invades the other. Continue reading
Paperback edition of Shakespeare’s Ghosts Live: From Shakespeare’s Ghosts to Psychical Research now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the paperback release of Shakespeare’s Ghosts Live: From Shakespeare’s Ghosts to Psychical Research by Annekatrin Puhle and Adrian Parker-Reed.
Shakespeare has been one of the most-cited authors since his plays were performed, and yet little attention has been paid to his views on psychic phenomena. It took another 300 years of paranormal experiences before scholars at Cambridge University helped to found the Society for Psychical Research, which brought scientific scrutiny to the area, and the UK is now a world leader in university research on this topic. This book throws new light on many historical case reports from Shakespeare’s time onwards. It identifies the core experiences that transcend time and give clues to an understanding of psychic phenomena. The book highlights Shakespeare’s insights, showing how these relate to, and even amplify, the conclusions of later and on-going research. In our time of disconnectedness from nature, the book discusses neglected human experiences which represent an important part of life and which do, in fact, occur to most of us. In doing so, the book raises awareness against the emptiness of a zombie-like existence in today’s society and offers a new approach to life and death, and their deeper meaning.
Rewriting Shakespeare’s Plays For and By the Contemporary Stage now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Rewriting Shakespeare’s Plays For and By the Contemporary Stage, edited by Michael Dobson and Estelle Rivier-Arnaud.
Why have contemporary playwrights been obsessed by Shakespeare’s plays to such an extent that most of the canon has been rewritten by one rising dramatist or another over the last half century? Among other key figures, Edward Bond, Heiner Müller, Carmelo Bene, Arnold Wesker, Tom Stoppard, Howard Barker, Botho Strauss, Tim Crouch, Bernard Marie Koltès, and Normand Chaurette have all put their radical originality into the service of adapting four-century-old classics. The resulting works provide food for thought on issues such as Shakespearean role-playing, narrative and structural re-shuffling. Across the world, new writers have questioned the political implications and cultural stakes of repeating Shakespeare with and without a difference, finding inspiration in their own national experiences and in the different ordeals they have undergone.
Politics and Romance in Shakespeare’s Four Great Tragedies now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Politics and Romance in Shakespeare’s Four Great Tragedies by Kenneth Usongo.
This study of the political and romantic impulses of Shakespeare’s tragic characters – including Macbeth, King Lear, Hamlet, Othello, and Iago, among others – discusses the overblown ambition of these characters as they embrace cunning and evil in order to acquire power and romance. The excessive ambition shown by these characters fuels action in the plays and significantly contributes to their downfall.