Cover image for Shakespeare
Bevington, David M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 250 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR2976 .B44 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In this inspiring introduction to the extraordinary phenomenon of Shakespeare, leading scholar, David Bevington, asks what makes Shakespeare great, and why we still read and perform his works.

Author Notes

David Bevington is the Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. His numerous publications include The Bantam Shakespeare, in 29 paperback volumes (1988), and The Complete Works of Shakespeare (1992, updated 1997), as well as the Oxford Shakespeare edition of Henry IV Part I (1987), the New Cambridge Shakespeare edition of Antony and Cleopatra (1990), 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 The Norton Anthology of English Renaissance Drama (2002) .

With Peter Holbrook he has edited a collection of essays on The Politics of the Stuart Court Masque (1998).

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Bevington (English, Univ. of Chicago) has authored or edited numerous works on Renaissance drama and defended Shakespeare as the real author of the Shakespeare plays on PBS's The Shakespeare Mystery. Here he provides a solid introduction to Shakespeare studies. Bevington approaches Shakespeare by examining the poet and playwright's use of themes central to the human condition (love and sex, coming of age, jealousy and friendship, politics and philosophy, and more), devoting a chapter to each of the themes and illustrating his points with critically evaluated examples from Shakespeare's plays. A short list of significant additional readings is included. By emphasizing how much humans born in the 20th century share with humans who lived in the 17th century, Bevington minimizes the difficulties many students typically have when they try to study Shakespeare. Recommended for all public and academic libraries in need of fresh introductory materials on Shakespeare. Shana C. Fair, Ohio Univ. Lib., Zanesville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Well-known editor of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (4th ed., 1997) and individual play texts (e.g., the Arden Troilus and Cressida, 1998) and author of many studies, including Action Is Eloquence (1984), Bevington (Univ. of Chicago) here condenses years of reflection on Shakespeare into a personal, unified vision of the man and his works. Thematically arranged in nine chapters, roughly following the "Seven Ages of Man" speech in As You Like It, and presented in conversational style with no footnotes, the book--and Bevington's ideas--flow freely from play to play, returning to those already discussed when themes overlap. Beginning with an introduction establishing Shakespeare's relevance in the present time, Bevington goes on to consider childhood and early friendship, courtship and desire, stages of maturation, political disillusionment, misogyny, fathers and daughters, and (in the last chapter) The Tempest as Shakespeare's farewell to theater. Included are eight illustrations, explanatory notes, and suggestions for further reading acknowledging indebtedness to works that contributed to the author's insights. ^BSumming Up: Essential. A must for lower- and upper-division undergraduates; a pleasure for graduate students through faculty and for general readers. F. K. Barasch emerita, Bernard M. Baruch College, CUNY

Table of Contents

1 All the World's a Stage: Poetry and Theatre
2 Creeping Like Snail: Childhood, Education, Early Friendship, Sibling Rivalries
3 Sighing Like Furnace: Courtship and Sexual Desire
4 Full of Strange oaths and Bearded Like the Pard: The Coming of Age of the Male
5 Jealous in Honor: Love and Friendship in Crisis
6 Wise Saws: Political and Social Disillusionment, Humankind's Relationship to the Divine, and Philosophical Skepticism
7 Modern Instances: Misogyny, Jealousy, Pessimism, and Midlife Crisis
8 The Lean and Slippered Pantaloon: Aging Fathers and their Daughters