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Shakespeare forged his tremendous art in the crucible of his comic imagination, which throughout his life enveloped and contained his tragic one. His early comedies—with their baroque poetic exuberance, intense theatricality, explosive bursts of…

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This classic of Shakespeare scholarship begins with a masterly introductory essay analysing and exemplifying the various categories of sexual and non-sexual bawdy expressions and allusions in Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. The main body of the work consists of…

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We read Shakespeare line by line for his supernatural mastery of all the poetic resources of the English language, and play by play for his utterly human, utterly intimate feeling for our condition as individuals and as social beings.  Through these works,…

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William Shakespeare’s last four plays carry us across space and time—from classical antiquity to Roman Britain to pagan Sicily to a remote island—and they move as well into a wilder geography of the imagination, one dominated by the wondrous and…

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The celebrated Canadian critic offers an analysis of 10 of Shakespeare's most popular plays.

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Shakespeare’s four greatest tragedies were written in a remarkably short period of time, between 1598 and 1606. Hamlet , Othello , Macbeth , and King Lear are each so singular an achievement that any rereading of them reinforces the awe and almost…

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Never has one character of the stage provoked such controversy or achieved such infamy as Shakespeare's enigmatic Shylock. For four centuries the money lender of "The Merchant of Venice" has been reinvented as both villain and victim, as an object of tragedy and…

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What famous essayist insisted that Shakespeare's play were unfit for performance? Which two plays center on the Hundred Years' War? In which scene of Romeo and Juliet does the nurse report--falsely--that Juliet is dead and thus seal Romeo's tragic fate? The…