In the Company of Shakespeare: Essays on English Renaissance Literature in Honor of G. Blakemore Evans

In the Company of Shakespeare: Essays on English Renaissance Literature in Honor of G. Blakemore Evans

In the Company of Shakespeare: Essays on English Renaissance Literature in Honor of G. Blakemore Evans

In the Company of Shakespeare: Essays on English Renaissance Literature in Honor of G. Blakemore Evans

Synopsis

This book is an anthology of critical essays written about English literature during the Renaissance (or the "early-modern period"). It focuses on Shakespeare's poetry and plays, including the Sonnets, The Phoenix and the Turtle, The Rape of Lucrece, King Lear, Othello, Measure for Measure, and Timon of Athens. Also examined are the publication of the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, William Cartwright's play The Royal Slave, and James Halliwell-Phillips, one of the central figures in the Shakespearean textual tradition.

Excerpt

Thomas Moisan

Douglas Bruster

The essays in this volume seek to honor the scholarly achievement of G. Blakemore Evans by raising new questions on Shakespeare and English Renaissance literature, the area of inquiry to which Evans has brought insight and the authority of his learning for more than sixty years. Arranged in three separate yet related sections, and evoking the rich array of interests that have commanded Evans's attention both as editor and critic and as teacher and scholarly colleague, the essays here interrogate a significant diversity of texts and issues, asking us to look at them anew from the perspectives of our own times and theirs. Through the focus a number of the essays bring to Shakespeare, we are invited to examine Shakespeare's works with an eye for the sources and material conditions that shaped them, for the contemporary concerns by which they were animated, and for the audiences they addressed. At the same time—and, again, a measure of the terrific reach of Evans's own interests and influence—a number of the essayists here draw our attention to texts and issues that take us beyond the immediate locus of Shakespeare's works and lifetime. These writers ask us to consider the forces of culture, politics, and ideology that played a part in the transmission of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature in the period immediately following Shakespeare's life and into our own times. Hence, in addition to those essays centered on Shakespeare's plays and nondramatic poems, the collection draws attention to the literary and political resonances attending such phenomena as the publication in 1647 of the works of Shakespeare's contemporaries Beaumont and Fletcher and the production in 1636 of The Royal Slave by one of the foremost claimants to post-Shakespearean eminence on the Caroline stage, William Cartwright. It also examines the establishment and perpetuation of what we have come to mean by Shakespeare through such examples as the vicissitudes textual and commercial of the nineteenth-century editor James Halliwell-Phillipps, the evocation of the Shakespearean history play in Alan Bennett's Madness of George iii, and even the aura attending that talismanic piece of “Shakespearean” signage, the Roman numeral.

Diverse in the topics they address, the inferences they draw, and the methodologies they employ, the essays in this volume nonetheless respond to a changeful moment in the state of criticism dealing with the eras and texts these essays traverse. (This changefulness is echoed, of course, in the vagaries of taxonomy . . .

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