Shakespeare's Letters (Hardback)
  • Shakespeare's Letters (Hardback)
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Shakespeare's Letters (Hardback)

(author)
£48.99
Hardback 422 Pages / Published: 13/11/2008
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Shakespeare's plays are stuffed with letters - 111 appear on stage in all but five of his dramas. But for modern actors, directors, and critics they are frequently an awkward embarrassment. Alan Stewart shows how and why Shakespeare put letters on stage in virtually all of his plays. By reconstructing the very different uses to which letters were put in Shakespeare's time, and recapturing what it meant to write, send, receive, read, and archive a letter, it throws new light on some of his most familiar dramas. Early modern letters were not private missives sent through an anonymous postal system, but a vital - sometimes the only - means of maintaining contact and sending news between distant locations. Penning a letter was a serious business in a period when writers made their own pen and ink; letter-writing protocols were strict; letters were dispatched by personal messengers or carriers, often received and read in public - and Shakespeare exploited all these features to dramatic effect. Surveying the vast range of letters in Shakespeare's oeuvre, the book also features sustained new readings of Hamlet, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, The Merchant of Venice and Henry IV Part One.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199549276
Number of pages: 422
Weight: 703 g
Dimensions: 223 x 146 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Alan Stewart's inventive, learned and often witty new book shows just how significant letters were for Shakespeare. * Andrew Hadfield, The Review of English Studies *
Shakespeare's Letters brings fascinating insight to a topic of unexpected depth...Shakespeare's Letters is a deeply contextualized literary study, with plays discussed in intimate connection with their sources... * John Ridpath, Times Literary Supplement *
This book is a remarkable scholarly achievement, deeply learned, written in characteristically erudite, fluent pros * English *
I can think of only a handful of books that utterly transform the way I read the plays; Alan Stewart's Shakespeare's Letters is one of them. The scholarship, critical insight, and command of social history are dazzling. * James Shapiro, author of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare *
I was astonished by the rich critical insights on both points of detail and in overall readings of individual plays yielded by Alan Stewart's immensely well-informed and critically acute study of Shakespeare within the context of the letter-writing traditions and conventions of his time. This brilliant and highly enjoyable work of original scholarship resoundingly demonstrates the value of paying close attention to the details of what Shakespeare actually wrote. * Professor Stanley Wells, Chairman of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust *

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