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Shakespeare's Ideas: More Things in Heaven and Earth - eBook
Wiley-Blackwell / 2011 / ePub
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An in-depth exploration, through his plays and poems, of the philosophy of Shakespeare as a great poet, a great dramatist and a "great mind".
David Bevington is the Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor the Humanities at the University of Chicago. His numerous publications include The Bantam Shakespeare, in 29 paperback volumes (1988, new edition forthcoming), and The Complete Works of Shakespeare (fifth edition, 2003), as well as the Oxford Shakespeare edition of Henry IV Part I (1987), the New Cambridge Shakespeare edition of Antony and Cleopatra (second edition, 2005), and the Arden Shakespeare edition of Troilus and Cressida (1998). He is the senior editor of the Revels Student Editions, and is a senior editor of the Revels Plays and of the forthcoming Cambridge edition of the works of Ben Jonson. He is also general editor of English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology (2002), and the author of Shakespeare: The Seven Ages of Human Experience (second edition, Blackwell, 2005).
"Bevington sees a development in how important Shakespeare felt certain topics were, and so the structure of the book is both chronological and thematic, beginning with the early romances and ending with the dark eschatology of the last plays." (English, December 2010)"The book ranges across almost the entire canon, bringing together telling moments from an array of texts, but pausing long enough on particular plays to offer nuanced readings. The undergraduate or general reader should enjoy this fluent and well-paced tour through the major plays, and will get a good sense, especially in the first half of the book, of important political, religious and dramatic contexts. The carefully chosen bibliography should stimulate students to explore the ideas summarized here in considerably more detail." (Times Higher Education Supplement, December 2008)
"Bevington's newest book wears its considerable erudition lightly and, for the most part, well. Bevington (Univ. of Chicago) begins by pointing out that one cannot know the thoughts of Shakespeare the man, but that the plays and poems, looked at as a whole, do present a kind of philosophy--one of balance and moderation. Chapters on sex and gender, politics, writing, religion, and other topics all suggest that though Shakespeare created characters with extreme and wide-ranging views, the world of the plays (and thus perhaps of Shakespeare himself) rewards compassion, understanding, forgiveness, duty, and above all, love. In general, this is not a book for scholars; Bevington does not offer highly theoretical readings or bring up scholarly debates about meaning and textuality. But his immense knowledge of the plays and the era allow him to present complex ideas in an engaging, completely readable manner that will appeal to all readers, no matter their background. Though it offers nothing new to those who study the plays for a living, everyone else will find it a masterpiece of thoughtful investigation into the plays." (Choice, February 2009)
"It's an absorbing journey, and one that will fascinate both general readers and serious scholars alike." (Yorkshire Evening Post, October 2008)
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