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Shakespeare's Originality : Oxford Wells Shakespeare Lectures - John Kerrigan

Shakespeare's Originality

Oxford Wells Shakespeare Lectures

Hardcover Published: 20th March 2018
ISBN: 9780198793755
Number Of Pages: 192

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How original was Shakespeare and how was Shakespeare original?  This lucid, innovative book sets about answering these questions by putting them in historical context and investigating how the dramatist worked with his sources: plays, poems, chronicles and prose romances.  Shakespeare's Originality unlocks its topic with rewarding precision and flair, showing through a series of case studies that range across the output, from the mature comedies to the great tragedies, from Richard III to The Tempest, what can be learned about the artistry of the plays by thinking about these sources (including newly identified ones) after several decades of neglect.  Discussion is enriched by such matters as Elizabethan ruffs and feathers, actors' footwork, chronicle history, modern theatre productions, debts to classical tragedy, scepticism, magic and science, the agricultural revolution, and ecological catastrophe.  This is authoritative, lively work by one of the world's leading Shakespearians, accessible to the general reader as well as indispensable for students.

Industry Reviews

Kerrigan shows, through adroit readings ... that Shakespeare's genius lies in precisely how he adapts and plays with well-known texts and audience expectations, ... his analysis of King Lear ... is a masterclass in intertextual hermeneutics. [This] book is important because it undermines facile notions of Shakespeare's genius, as well as our modern concept of creativity. It shows how cubtly nuanced Shakespeare's use of source material always is, and how, by its transmission through his quill, the commonplace and hackneyed could burst forth with shining originality. * Stav Sherev, Catholic Herald *
... his analysis of King Lear... is a masterclass in intertextual hermeneutics... Kerrigan's book is important because it undermines facile notions of Shakespeare's genius, as well as our modern concept of creativity. * Stav Sherez, Catholic Herald *
Based on learning both wide and deep ... It's bracing to watch Kerrigan perform these intellectual gymnastics ... one emerges with a real sense of new understanding. ... He is a highly respected scholar with a welcome ability to uncover fresh approaches to standard texts rather than indulging in the graceful rearrangement of commonplaces that often constitutes Shakespeare studies. Nobody should deny him his own originality. * Paul Dean, The New Criterion *
Kerrigan writes stylishly yet cites sources scrupulously. His fine-grained, punctilious reading conjures a new model of how academic writing can be pleasing. * Nicholas Birns, Choice *
Read John Kerrigan's intense, condensed account of the playwright's creative borrowing ... Kerrigan, one of the world's leading Shakespeare scholars, ... takes us beyond Shakespeare's primary sources into the deeper texture of his allusions and passages of imitation. ... The reward is a vivid sense of how original it was to borrow. ... The book is unrepentantly erudite, but the erudition is as diverting as it can be daunting. ... the trust in our literary curiosity is intoxicating. Who wants Shakespeare to be made easy when he was so beautifully and originally complex? * John Mullan, The Guardian *
John Kerrigan is, to my mind, one of the most incisive and subtle contemporary writers on Shakespeare. [...] Kerrigan is exceptionally good at unpicking how ideas of originality change. [...] In his conclusion, Kerrigan says... "I hope that this book has shown [...] how much light and shade and depth and nuance are needed to comprehend Shakespeare's use of sources [...]". Hurrah to that, and would that each and every university took it as policy. * Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman *
Kerrigan delves deep into the the question of originality and its historical importance ... a consummate study, in-depth and full of insight. * Patrick J. Murray, History Today *

Introduction 1: Upstarts and Much Ado 2: Shakespeare Afoot 3: King Lear and its Origins 4: The Tempest to 1756

ISBN: 9780198793755
ISBN-10: 0198793758
Series: Oxford Wells Shakespeare Lectures
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 20th March 2018
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.32 x 12.7  x 1.02
Weight (kg): 0.3

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