Shakespeare's World: The Tragedies

By Fyn, Amy F. | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Spring 2019 | Go to article overview

Shakespeare's World: The Tragedies


Fyn, Amy F., Reference & User Services Quarterly


Shakespeare's World: The Tragedies. By Douglas J. King. Historical Exploration of Literature. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2018. 225 pages. Acid-free $63 (ISBN 978-14408-5794-2). E-book available (978-1-4408-5795-9), call for pricing.

If you've ever been curious about the authenticity of references to plague in Romeo and Juliet, or wondered how Elizabethans treated melancholia, considered witchcraft, or treated actors, the resources in Shakespeare's World will help you think like a Renaissance man or woman. This recent addition to Greenwood's Historical Exploration of Literature series situates four of Shakespeare's tragedies within the contemporary history of Renaissance England. In order to contextualize broad social considerations that the Bard's audience recognized, the volume includes primary sources and additional references that will engage any student of new historicism or reader interested in a broader picture of society and social concerns of the day.

While individual components, including play synopsis and background, brief essays on specific topics relating to Elizabethan society and life, and primary sources, may be pieced together through a combination of sources such as Magill's Survey of World Literature (Salem Press, 2009), the Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online (Gale, 2018), and free internet archives, the strength of this title lies in King's successful weaving of literature and history. …

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