A brilliant and companionable tour through all thirty-eight plays, Shakespeare After All is the perfect introduction to the bard by one of the country’s foremost authorities on his life and work. Drawing on her hugely popular lecture courses at Yale and Harvard over the past thirty years, Marjorie Garber offers passionate and revealing readings of the plays in chronological sequence, from The Two Gentlemen of Verona to The Two Noble Kinsmen . Supremely readable and engaging, and complete with a comprehensive introduction to Shakespeare’s life and times and an extensive bibliography, this magisterial work is an ever-replenishing fount of insight on the most celebrated writer of all time.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Shakespeare After All|
|Release Date: 11-19-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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Shakespeare After All
Every age creates its own Shakespeare.
What is often described as the timelessness of Shakespeare, the transcendent qualities for which his plays have been praised around the world and across the centuries, is perhaps better understood as an uncanny timeliness, a capacity to speak directly to circumstances the playwright could not have anticipated or foreseen. Like a portrait whose eyes seem to follow you around the room, engaging your glance from every angle, the plays and their characters seem always to be “modern,” always to be “us.”
“He was not of an age, but for all time.” This was the verdict of Shakespeare’s great rival and admirer, the poet and playwright Ben Jonson, in a memorial poem affixed to the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays. “Thou art a monument without a tomb,” wrote Jonson,
And art alive still, while thy book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
We might compare this passage to Shakespeare’s own famous lines in Sonnet 18, the sonnet that begins “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” and ends:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
The sonnets have indeed endured, and given life to the beloved addressee, but it is the sonnet that praises him, not the unnamed “fair youth” to whom the sonnet is written, that lives on in our eyes, ears, and memory.
Both “of an age” and “for all time,” Shakespeare is the defining figure of the English Renaissance, and the most cited and quoted author of every era since. But if we c