The Backgrounds of Shakespeare's Plays

By Karl J. Holzknecht | Go to book overview
Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies," their labor of love made posterity eternally grateful. But it also laid the foundation for future misconceptions. The demand which gave rise to the publication of the First Folio was for Shakespeare's plays as reading matter. They came to be regarded as literature and less and less as pieces for the stage. Libraries became their abode, and the claim of the theatre was secondary. In the eighteenth century, when Shakespeare's works required an editor, theatrical conventions had changed. His editors have been poets, antiquarians, bibliographers, or critics who knew books and not the theatre. The commentators on his works have eulogized him as poet, philosopher, moralist, botanist, lawyer, and expert on mental diseases. Too frequently have they forgotten that what has become great literature for us was, for the author and his contemporaries, only words to be mouthed by actors on a stage.SUGGESTED REFERENCES
BOAS GUY. "The Influence of the Boy Actor on Shakespeare's Plays," The Contemporary Review, CLV ( 1937), pp. 69-77.
BRADBROOK M. C. Elizabethan Stage Conditions: A Study of Their Place in the Interpretation of Shakespeare's Plays. Cambridge University Press, 1932.
DAVIES WILLIAM ROBERTSON. Shakespeare's Boy Actors. London, Dent, 1939.
GRANVILLE-BARKER HARLEY. Prefaces to Shakespeare (5 vols.). London, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1927-47.
A series of studies of individual plays by an experienced practical man of the theatre. The plays treated are: (I) Love's Labor's Lost, Julius C æsar, King Lear; (II) Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline; (III) Hamlet; (IV) Othello, Macbeth, Coriolanus. Also published in two volumes, Princeton University Press, 1946-47.
HALE E. E., JR. "The Influence of Theatrical Conditions on Shakespeare", Modern Philology, I ( 1904), pp. 171 ff.
HARBAGE ALFRED. "Elizabethan Acting", Publications of the Modern Language Association2, LIV ( 1939), pp. 685-708.

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The Backgrounds of Shakespeare's Plays
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vii
  • 1 - Shakespeare's Life in Fact and Tradition 1
  • Suggested References 32
  • 2 - Shakespeare's England 33
  • Suggested References 61
  • 3 - The Drama Before Shakespeare 63
  • Suggested References 89
  • 4 - Elizabethan Theatrical Companies 92
  • Suggested References 114
  • 5 - The Elizabethan Public Playhouse 115
  • Suggested References 144
  • 6 - The Influence of Theatrical Conditions on Shakespeare 146
  • Suggested References 166
  • 7 - Shakespeare's Audience 167
  • Suggested References 185
  • 8 - Shakespeare's English 186
  • Suggested References 219
  • 9 - The Sources of Shakespeare's Play 220
  • Suggested References 245
  • 10 - Some General Aspects Of Shakespeare's Dramatic Art 247
  • Suggested References 265
  • 11 - Shakespearean Comedy 268
  • Suggested References 291
  • 12 - Shakespeare's History Plays 293
  • Suggested References 320
  • 13 - Shakespearean Tragedy 322
  • Suggested References 341
  • 14 - Shakespeare in Print 343
  • Suggested References 371
  • 15 - Shakespeare's Reputation 374
  • Suggested References 404
  • 16 - Shakespeare on the Stage 407
  • Suggested References 437
  • 17 - Shakespearean Scenes and Characters 439
  • Index 471
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