Shakespeare and the Truth of Love: The Mystery of 'The Phoenix and Turtle'

Hardcover | April 15, 2012

byJames P. Bednarz

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In 1601, at the height of his career, Shakespeare wrote a 67-line untitled elegy—now frequently known as "The Phoenix and Turtle"—for inclusion, along with verse by Ben Jonson, John Marston, and George Chapman, in a collection called Diverse Poetical Essays. Readers familiar only with the core of Shakespeare's most popular work might be surprised to learn that since the end of the nineteenth century this extraordinary lyric has regularly been regarded, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Frank Kermode, as one of the most highly prized works in the canon. None of Shakespeare's masterpieces has been more enthusiastically celebrated while remaining almost entirely unappreciated by general readers. It is a neglected treasure poised for rediscovery. This book was written to encourage a larger audience to consider a fascinating but relatively unexplored side of Shakespeare's art at its most riddling, erudite, and difficult.

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From the Publisher

In 1601, at the height of his career, Shakespeare wrote a 67-line untitled elegy—now frequently known as "The Phoenix and Turtle"—for inclusion, along with verse by Ben Jonson, John Marston, and George Chapman, in a collection called Diverse Poetical Essays. Readers familiar only with the core of Shakespeare's most popular work might b...

JAMES P. BEDNARZ is Professor of English at Long Island University where he has received the Trustees' Award for Excellence in Scholarship and the David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is the author of Shakespeare and the Poets' War (2001). He has published widely in international journals and contributed chapters to a num...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.62 inPublished:April 15, 2012Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230319408

ISBN - 13:9780230319400

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Mystery of 'The Phoenix and Turtle'
Eliminating Essex: Richard II and the Diverse Poetical Essays
Literary Politics: The Publication of Love's Martyr
Incorporate Selves: Shakespeare's Mythmaking
Shakespeare's Poetic Theology
Metaphysical Wit from Shakespeare to Donne
Epilogue: 'If what parts, can so remaine'
Appendix: Diverse Poetical Essays
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Shakespeare's most elusive, compelling, deceptively limpid work has at last found its critic. In this eloquent account, attentive to history, but above all to poetry, James Bednarz involves his readers as fellow explorers in a journey towards the heart of the poem's mystery."- Catherine Belsey, Swansea University, UK "Once in a very long while you come across a book that utterly transforms your understanding of Shakespeare. This is one of those books. Shakespeare and the Truth of Love is brilliant, elegantly argued, and persuasive."- James Shapiro, author of 1599 and Contested Will