Continuum Shakespeare Studies


Passion, Prudence, and Virtue in Shakespearean Drama

Bloomsbury Publishing

"This is an intensely interesting book. The Aristotelian reading of the plays is rich, cogent, and extensive. Professor Langis has made an important contribution not only to Shakespeare studies but also to ethical criticism in general."

"At a time when it is more fashionable for Shakespeare critics to concern themselves with ideas of social conflict, transgression and resistance, it takes real guts for someone to take Aristotle's ideas about virtue and the harmonizing of the passions seriously. The standard of Langis's historical scholarship is exemplary. What makes her treatment of the evidence so compelling, however, is the way she brings out the emotional immediacy of Shakespeare's delineation of his characters and their social situation for a contemporary audience."

Shakespeare and Moral Agency

Bloomsbury Publishing

Shakespeare and Moral Agency presents a collection of new essays by literary scholars and philosophers considering character and action in Shakespeare's plays as heuristic models for the exploration of some salient problems in the field of moral inquiry. Together they offer a unified presentation of an emerging orientation in Shakespeare studies, drawing on recent work in ethics, philosophy of mind, and analytic aesthetics to construct a powerful framework for the critical analysis of Shakespeare's works.

Contributors suggest new possibilities for the interpretation of Shakespearean drama by engaging with the rich body of contemporary work in the field of moral philosophy, offering significant insights for literary criticism, for pedagogy, and also for theatrical performance.

""Character criticism" fell out of fashion during the last two decades of the twentieth century, and with it, to some extent, questions of individual moral agency. The distinguished contributors to this new anthology return such questions to center stage, and do so through fresh vocabularies of gesture, embodied movement, political theory, behavioral and cognitive science, ethics and moral philosophy. Speaking directly to issues of meaning in Shakespeare's plays, the essays explore how narratives of self-reflection and self-preservation often clash when confronted with the requirements of moral agency, and reveal how unpredictable such stories are when performed on the respective stages of history and society. Theoretically fluent in the debates of the last twenty years, the authors in the volume never confuse Shakespearean characters with "real people." They do, however, support editor Michael Bristol's contention that "you have to be able to take these creations seriously." The essays in this book provide a strong case for removing the scare-quotes from character criticism as we confront the moral dilemmas-some new and many longstanding-- of the twenty-first century." - Linda Charnes, Professor of English and West European Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

Michael Bristol... offers in this useful collection of 13 essays some compelling arguments why 'openness to an emotional engagement with' Shakespeare's dramatic incarnations pays dividends that far outweigh any potential confusions of fiction with reality.

Shakespeare and the Apocalypse

Bloomsbury Publishing

By connecting Shakespeare's language to the stunning artwork that depicted the end of the world, this study provides not only provides a new reading of Shakespeare but illustrates how apocalyptic art continues to influence popular culture today.

Drawing on extant examples of medieval imagery, Roger Christofides uses poststructuralist and psychoanalytic accounts of how language works to shed new light on our understanding of Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, and King Lear. He then links Shakespeare's dependence on his audience to appreciate the allusions made to the religious paintings to the present day. For instance, popular television series like Battlestar Galactica, seminal horror movies such as An American Werewolf in London and Carrie and recent novels like Cormac McCarthy's The Road. All draw on imagery that can be traced directly back to the depictions of the Doom, an indication of the cultural power these vivid imaginings of the end of the world have in Shakespeare's day and now.

'This lively and compelling book shows Shakespeare in an entirely new light. Subtly attentive to the language of the tragedies, Roger Christofides captures resemblances between early modern culture and our own, tracing in the dramatist's world and ours some of the most urgent hopes and anxieties.'

'A remarkably graceful exploration of difficult ideas, this refreshing and original study illuminates the connections between English church iconography, Shakespearian tragedy, and our own preoccupation with the end of the world. By showing how the notion of the Apocalypse shapes both language and genre, Mr. Christofides leads us though a subtle and intricate analysis to a genuinely new understanding of four of Shakespeare's greatest plays.'

'Shakespeare and the Apocalypse is a breathtaking read.  From its daring opening salvo-that the structure of language itself is apocalyptic-to its surprising ending, the book baffles expectation, constantly taking us to places we've never been in Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, and King Lear.  Using stunning images of "the Doom" gleaned from pre-Reformation art and architecture, Christofides illuminates Shakespeare's darkest tragedies, re-reading them as models of the apocalyptic sensibility that artists, writers, and filmmakers have sought to emulate ever since.  Shakespeare and the Apocalypse is rigorously researched and engagingly written; it is essential reading for anyone interested in Shakespeare, popular culture, religious studies, or art history.'

Shakespeare and the Apocalypse will be most useful to readers interested in the intersection between post-structural linguistics and early modern studies...references like the 'The Three Living and the Three Dead' offer a tantalizing glimpse of early modern cultural history. The Shakespeare Newsletter

... an interesting and entertaining read ... it opens up several interesting avenues of exploration into the nature of Shakespearean tragedy. English, theater, and pop-up culture scholars will all find something worthwhile in its pages. Sixteenth Century Journal

Shakespeare and the Apocalypse by R. M. Cristofides is as much, if not more, about language as it is about images of doom from pre-Reformation England, via Shakespeare, to instances in modern popular culture . . . The book's many references to popular culture . . . are supplementary in both senses. They are additional readings of doom which show how the language of the apocalypse still haunts audiences today . . . Cristofides' contribution, therefore, is important in terms of its informative content and its methodological example. The Year's Work in English Studies, vol. 93

Shakespeare and the Translation of Identity in Early Modern England

Bloomsbury Publishing

'This is an insightful book that opens up Shakespeare studies and extends awareness of the fundamental importance of the concept of translation across time and cultures.'

'Humanism and the reformation were closely intertwined with the Early Modern regime of translation, and the essays in this splendid volume of top-notch criticism demonstrate just how intensely these processes informed the shaping of identities and discourses in the period. The chapters variously use translation as a trope, consider Shakespeare's translated afterlives, or consider the traces left by his classical sources, by the language of Tyndale's Bible, or by the harsh routines of teaching Latin through translation in Elizabeth's grammar schools. All highlight translation as a key concept that reveals fascinating subtexts for Shakespeare and unlocks a range of original readings.'

Shakespeare and the Translation of Identity in Early Modern England is an illuminating collection of five essays that use translation to approach the formation of social, national, religious and gender identities in Shakespeare's dramatic productions... The entire collection of essays will be of great interest and use to those who are primarily concerned with the study of the 'cultural' realities of the Shakespearean universe, as well as those inclined to adopt a more 'linguistic' approach. English Text Construction (Vol. 6:1)

Shakespeare in the Spanish Theatre

Bloomsbury Publishing

Shakespeare in the Spanish Theatre offers an account of Shakespeare's presence on the Spanish stage, from a production of the first Spanish rendering of Jean-François Ducis's Hamlet in 1772 to the creative and controversial work of directors like Calixto Bieito and Alex Rigola in the early 21st century. Despite a largely indirect entrance into the culture, Shakespeare has gone on to become the best and known and most widely performed of all foreign playwrights. What is more, by the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century there have been more productions of Shakespeare than of all of Spain's major Golden Age dramatists put together.

This book explores and explains this spectacular rise to prominence and offers a timely overview of Shakespeare's place in Spain's complex and vibrant culture.

...Gregor provides an admirable focus on the diverse histories of Shakespeare's plays on Spanish stages...

"How, in a country like Spain, boasting a stage tradition including theatrical giants like Tirso de Molina, Lope de Vega and Calderon, could Shakespeare steal the limelight in the late 18th century and hold on to it to the present day? Gregor admirably maps the history of this Spanish brand of Shakespearemania in Madrid and the provinces. His im­pressive account of the shift from a traditional to an ever more experimental Shakespeare involves translations and productions, as well as playhouse architecture and audience tastes. Significantly, this 'addiction' was a European affair, fed mainly by English, French and German traditions, by Napoleonic and fascist cultures as much as the RSC and the BBC." - Professor Ton Hoenselaars, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

'Keith Gregor packs a lot into under 160 pages, setting 240 years of a developing taste for Shakespeare, and the changing uses of his plays and responses to them, against a broad background of Spain's evolving theatrical world... there is now a varied tradition, a popular context, a two-century history for Shakespeare productions in Spain, and it is this history that Keith Gregor has evoked so meticulously and effectively in this book.' Around the Globe

Shakespeare, 'Othello' and Domestic Tragedy

Bloomsbury Publishing

Often set in domestic environments and built around protagonists of more modest status than traditional tragic subjects, 'domestic tragedy' was a genre that flourished on the Renaissance stage from 1580-1620. Shakespeare, 'Othello', and Domestic Tragedy is the first book to examine Shakespeare's relationship to the genre by way of the King's and Chamberlain's Men's ownership and production of many of the domestic tragedies, and of the genre's extensive influence on Shakespeare's own tragedy, Othello.

Drawing in part upon recent scholarship that identifies Shakespeare as a co-author of Arden of Faversham, Sean Benson demonstrates the extensive-even uncanny-ties between Othello and the domestic tragedies. Benson argues that just as Hamlet employs and adapts the conventions of revenge tragedy, so Othello can only be fully understood in terms of its exploitation of the tropes and conventions of domestic tragedy. This book explores not only the contexts and workings of this popular sub-genre of Renaissance drama but also Othello's secure place within it as the quintessential example of the form.

"Sean Benson's Shakespeare, Othello and Domestic Tragedy is a sensitive rereading of a curiously neglected topic in Shakespeare studies.Benson's lucid and convincing investigation makes a series of important arguments about contemporary domestic tragedies and their relation to Othello.In the process, the author sheds fresh light on Othello itself and on the question of textual and generic influence in general."

"Sean Benson's exploration of Othello is the first full-length study of the play in the context of domestic tragedy. It presents an invigorating challenge to established readings, showing how Othello focuses on issues present in other domestic tragedies of the period ... All in all, a critical work which makes you think again about things you took for granted."

Benson rightly argues against a conception of a genre as a "static norm" (p. 28) in favor of a view that leaves room for experimentation and change over time. Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

The book argues convincingly for 'Shakespeare's conscious engagement with domestic tragedy', and this work will be of interest to those considering [that theme] The Year's Work in English Studies

Shakespeare's Musical Imagery

Bloomsbury Publishing

Music pervades Shakespeare's

work. In addition to vocal songs and numerous instrumental cues there are

thousands of references to music throughout the plays and many of the poems.

This book discusses Shakespeare's musical imagery according to categories defined

by occurrence in the plays and poems. In turn, these categories depend on their

early modern usage and significance. Thus, instruments such as lute and viol

deserve special attention just as Renaissance ideas relating to musical

philosophy and pedagogical theory need contextual explanation. The objective is

to locate Shakespeare's musical imagery, reference and metaphor in its

immediate context in a play or poem and explain its meaning. Discussion and

explanation of the musical imagery suggests a range of possible dramatic and

poetic purposes these musical references serve.

'Wilson's contribution is to catalog the "over 200 references to music and nearly 400 musical terms in Shakespeare's works"; he explains their meanings and explores their possible dramatic, poetic, and symbolic functions...This well-grounded study includes 414 notes and more than 15 pages of bibliography.'-Choice Magazine

Major scholarly research monographs in Shakespeare Studies from Continuum.