By Stephen J. Lynch
Though one of the greatest dramatists to have written in English, Shakespeare was not entirely original. He borrowed his plots from various sources, reworked his material, and infused it with his keen perception of humanity and unusual gift of language. This book looks at four of Shakespeare's plays--As You Like It, King Lear, Pericles, and The Winter's Tale--and the primary source texts on which they are based, to show how the dramatist refashioned earlier works. Each chapter examines one play in relation to its major source and to the historical and cultural contexts in which both the play and source were written. Shakespeare's sources thus emerge not merely as raw material for plot and character, but as dynamic and often inconsistent texts involving layers of subtextual and intertextual suggestions and assumptions. The volume demonstrates that in his revisionary practices, Shakespeare does not simply borrow selectively from his sources but appropriates, reimagines, and reacts against them, often by developing and expanding upon contrary suggestions already present in his source texts.