Cover image for A companion to Shakespeare
A companion to Shakespeare
Kastan, David Scott.
Publication Information:
Oxford ; Malden, Mass. : Blackwell Publishers, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 523 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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PR2910 .C66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This Companion to Shakespeare is an indispensable book for students and teachers of Shakespeare, indeed for anyone with an interest in his plays.

Author Notes

David Scott Kastan is Professor of English at the Columbia University and a General Editor of the New Arden Shakespeare . His numerous publications include: Shakespeare and the Shapes of Time (1982), Staging the Renaissance: Reinterpretations of Elizabethan and Stuart Drama (1991), Critical Essays on Shakespeare's Hamlet (1995), and Shakespeare After Theory (1999).

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This collection of 28 essays provides a historical overview of the conditions of Shakespeare's world. Little interpretation or criticism of Shakespeare's works is provided. Instead, each essay creates a portrait of one aspect of the theatrical, political, literary, intellectual, and social worlds that influenced the Bard and affected his writing. Topics include religion, political thought, reading practices, the craft of playwriting, the status of English, the economics and the repertory of the theater, licensing, censorship, and the business of printing. Extensive bibliographies follow each essay. Kastan (English and comparative literature, Columbia) is currently editing Henry IV, Part 1 for the Arden Shakespeare series. A solid addition to Shakespeare studies; recommended for academic collections and public libraries supporting strong high school literature programs.¬ĎShana C. Fair, Ohio Univ., Zanesville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Essential for students and teachers, the 28 essays in this collection sum up much of the 20th-century research in the cultural history of Shakespeare's world. Beginning and ending with discussions of the man and the myth--by David Bevington and Michael Bristol, respectively--the volume also offers new perspectives on religion, family, politics, reading, writing, and the material business of theater and printing in the period. Remarkably, few contributors say much about gender or cross-cultural issues, which have occupied many scholars in recent years, and, except for a few illustrations, little attention is paid to Shakespeare's visual world. Nevertheless, the essays--assembled by the distinguished David Scott Kastan (Columbia Univ.)--survey important subjects and are likely to deepen understanding of the plays: notably, Susan Asmussen writes about the family, Heidi Hackel about literacy, and Cyndia Clegg about censorship. Kastan also includes brief histories of playing companies, the playwright's profession, language, genres, repertory, playhouses, and manuscript playbooks. Each essay concludes with notes and references for further reading. An introduction and useful index help make this volume the best of Shakespeare "companions" now available. All levels. F. K. Barasch CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College

Table of Contents

Notes on contributors
Part I Introduction
1 Shakespeare and the 'Elements' he lived inDavid Scott Kastan
Part II Shakespeare I
2 Shakespeare the ManDavid Bevington
Part III Living
3 Shakespeare's EnglandNorman L. Jones
4 Shakespeare's LondonIan Archer
5 Religious Identities in Shakespeare's EnglandPeter Lake
6 The Family and the HouseholdSusan Dwyer Amussen
7 Shakespeare and Political ThoughtMartin Dzelzainis
8 Political CultureDavid Harris Sacks
Part IV Reading
9 'the Great Variety of Readers' and Early Modern Reading PracticesHeidi Brayman Hackel
10 Reading the BibleDavid Daniell
11 Reading the ClassicsRobert L. Miola
12 Reading HistoryD. R. Woolf
13 Reading Vernacular literatureDiana E. Henderson and James Siemon
Part V Writing
14 Professional PlaywrightingScott McMillin
15 Shakespeare's 'Native English'Jonathan Hope
16 Hearing Shakespeare's Dramatic VerseGeorge T. Wright
17 Shakespeare and Rhetorical CulturePeter G. Platt
18 Shakespeare and GenreJean E. Howard
Part VI Playing
19 The Economics of PlayingWilliam Ingram
20 The Chamberlain's-King's MenS.P. Cerasano
21 Shakespeare's RepertoryRoslyn L. Knutson
22 Shakespeare's PlayhousesAndrew Gurr
23 Licensing and CensorshipRichard Dutton
Part VII Printing
24 Shakespeare in Print, 1593-1640Thomas L. Berger and Jesse M. Lander
25 'Precious Few': English Manuscript PlaybooksWilliam B. Long
26 The Craft of Printing (1600)Laurie E. Maguire
27 The London Book-trade in 1600Mark Bland
28 Liberty, License and Authority: Press Censorship and ShakespeareCyndia Susan Clegg
Part VIII Shakespeare II
29 Shakespeare: the MythMichael D. Bristol