Shakespeare the Playwright: A Companion to the Complete Tragedies, Histories, Comedies, and Romances
When Victor Cahn's Shakespeare the Playwright was issued in 1991, it was highly recommended for any general public library and for academic collections at all undergraduate levels (Choice) and viewed as a useful guide for the general reader, as well as high school and undergraduate students Library Journal. Now Professor Cahn has revised his introduction to make the context of Shakespeare's plays more meaningful to the beginning researcher and to show how the plays have been performed from the 16th century onward. In addition, the bibliographies for each of the 37 plays have been updated to include the best new research. These updates and revisions will enhance the use of this guide for the general reader, student, and researcher, from high school onward.
Since their first production four centuries ago, the plays of William Shakespeare have been the most widely produced, popularly acclaimed, and critically examined works in the world's literature. In this unique book, Victor L. Cahn, an acclaimed teacher of drama, guides the reader scene by scene through each of Shakespeare's thirty-seven plays, re-creating the freshness and theatrical effect of performance. Cahn has based his approach on the assumption that the fundamental appeal of Shakespeare's plays lies in the characters, and with clarity and subtlety he focuses on how the implications of the characters' actions and the nuances of their language contribute to the plays' impact.
The introduction briefly traces Shakespeare's life and career, and explains some of the social and artistic circumstances that influenced his work. The plays are grouped by genre: Tragedies, Histories, Comedies, and Romances. This structure allows Cahn to explore Shalespeare's development in all four dramatic forms, as well as to suggest relationships between characters, themes, and images throughout the works. In addition, Cahn discusses the plays as reflective of Shakespeare's age, particularly the Renaissance concern with the tension between individual rights and social responsibility. The text is free from extensive scholarly apparatus, but valuable suggestions for further reading follow the analysis of each play, and a selected bibliography concludes the volume. The comprehensiveness of the book, as well as the accessibility and quality of its interpretations, make it a valuable resource for courses in Shakespeare, drama, and British literature, and a worthy addition to high school, college, university, and public library reference collections.
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By 1558, when Elizabeth I ascended to the English throne, the spirit of the
Renaissance had brought a renewed interest in classical drama, specifically the
Roman playwrights, including Plautus and Terence, writers of comedies, and
I am his first-born son, that was the last That ware the imperial diadem of Rome,
Then let my father's honors live in me, Nor wrong mine age with this indignity. (I, i,
1-8) The tone is pompous, self-righteous, and hollow, as the speaker attempts to
After Lavinia' s tribute, Marcus officially offers Titus the position of Emperor: "And
help to set a head on headless Rome" (I, i, 186). But Titus demurs: Give me a staff
of honor for mine age, But not a sceptre to control the world. (I, i, 198-199) ...
Thus the "Roman tragedies" may be interpreted in part as revealing
Shakespeare's view of political life. Historically, Julius Caesar was, in 60 B.c., a
member of the ruling triumvirate in Rome, along with Pompey and Crassus.
Crassus died in ...
This character is the reason the principals act, speak, and, most important, think
as they do. This character is the Roman citizenry. True, Rome is not what we
would call a democratic state. Yet its politicians operate with the recognition that
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Shakespeare the playwright: a companion to the complete tragedies, histories, comedies, and romancesUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
A useful guide for the general reader, as well as high school and undergraduate students, to Shakespeare's 37 plays. After a brief introduction outlining Shakespeare's life and career, Cahn carefully ... Read full review
The Two Noble Kinsmen
The Royal Figures from the History Tetralogies