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William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Nationality: BritishPeriods: British: 1500-1700

He’s Shakespeare.

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Criticism about William Shakespeare

The Visual Poetry of Filmed Shakespeare
“Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (his adaptation of Macbeth) take contrasting approaches to filming Shakespeare. Branagh treats the full text as a coherent artefact; Kurosawa uses Macbeth as his inspiration for a film which totally transmutes Shakespeare’s original.”
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Are there Ciphers in Shakespeare?
“This is an introduction to an ingenious and creative cipher system to be found in the works of William Shakespeare.” This work questions whether or not Shakespeare wrote the works attributed to him. It particularly examines the works for possible ciphers (codes) used to hint at Francis Bacon as the actual author.
Contains: Commentary, Criticism
Author: Penn Leary
Attacking the Cult-Historicists
“In a sequence of recent articles Richard Levin and Tom McAlindon have attacked what they see as the slipshod criticism and political dogmatism of New Historicism and Cultural Materialism.”
Contains: Criticism
Author: Martin Coyle
From: Renaissance Forum: An Electronic Journal of Early-Modern Literary and Historical Studies March 1996; vol. 1 no. 1
The Case for Oxford
“Tom Bethell argue[s] that {Shakespeare’s] works were probably written by the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, who, for fear of compromising his aristocratic name by writing for the public, falsely attributed his works to an uneducated actor from Stratford by the name of William Shakspere.”
Contains: Commentary
Author: Tom Bethell
From: Atlantic Monthly October 1991
The Case for Shakespeare
“Irvin Matus… argue[s]… that there is inadequate reason to doubt that the actor from Stratford was in fact the true author of the Shakespeare works.”
Contains: Commentary
Author: Irvin Matus
From: Atlantic Monthly October 1991
Characters of Shakespear’s Plays
An in-depth, book-length examination of the characters in Shakespeare’s plays.
Contains: Commentary
Author: William Hazlitt
From: 1817
Did Shakespeare Consciously Use Archaic English?
This paper discusses whether Shakespeare’s use of archaic words was both deliberate and a common poetic device at the time.
Contains: Criticism
Author: Mary Catherine Davidson
From: Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 1 (1997): 4.1-14
Keywords: historical context
Jean E. Howard’s Postmodern Marxist Feminism and the Economic Last Instance
“For over a decade, the Marxist-feminist critic Jean Howard has been a keen observer of the shifting trends in Shakespeare studies. Her insightful commentary on the work of some of the newer, ‘political’ critics in this field — including the new historicists, cultural materialists, and feminists — has helped to clarify many of the theoretical and practical problems with which these writers have struggled in their efforts to counter the ahistorical formalism of an earlier era. More than a metacritic, however, Howard has also offered her own innovative analyses of the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries and, in the process, has enlarged our understanding of the significance of a wide range of early modern ‘theatrical practices’.”
Contains: Criticism
Author: David Siar
From: Renaissance Forum: An Electronic Journal of Early-Modern Literary and Historical Studies Autumn 1997; vol. 2 no. 2
Keywords: Marxism, feminism
Partial Views: Shakespeare and the Map of Ireland
“Contemporaries were divided over the visual power of maps: while some praised the privileged visibility afforded by cartography, apparent in the exciting possibility ‘to view the whole world at one view’ (Thomas Blundeville 1589), others commented on the uselessness of what they saw as little more than vague geographical records, literally ‘superficial’ images of a far more complex spatial reality. The aim of this paper is to explore the operation (and political functionalization) of this ambivalent visual code in one specific historical instance, the English construction of Irish space in Elizabethan and Jacobean times: in contemporary maps, Ireland could either be fully exposed and dragged into open view, or literally forced off the map and pushed into an indistinct and shadowy background. Such “partial views” of Ireland, I argue, are not only endemic in maps but also in contemporary plays, and in order to explore conceptual interrelations between the dramatic and cartographic representation of what many observers rationalized as Ireland’s intractable spatial otherness, the essay considers several early modern Irish maps alongside four plays by Shakespeare. The analysis of maps and plays reveals, I argue, both the continuing English interest in Irish space, as well as the gradual discursive accomodation of Irish cultural difference into a “British” framework.”
Contains: Criticism
Author: Bernhard Klein
From: Early Modern Literary Studies 4.2 / Special Issue 3 (September, 1998): 5.1-20
Revisiting Shakespeare and Gender
“William Shakespeare is a rich and suggestive author in terms of alerting students to issues in women’s studies and gender ideology. Although Shakespeare reflects and at times supports the English Renaissance stereotypes of women and men and their various roles and responsibilities in society, he is also a writer who questions, challenges, and modifies those representations.”
Contains: Criticism
Author: Jeanne Gerlach, Rudolph Almasy, and Rebecca Daniel
From: Women in Literature and Life Assembly Vol. 5 Fall 1996
Shakespeare and the Politics of Community
“The turn towards a narrative sense of community has emerged as a centralconceptual premise in communitarian and postmodern scholarship. This article ispremised on a discussion of the idea of a narrative community as presented incontemporary scholarship. It then proceeds to a discussion of communitarian ideas inearly modern political and literary thought, concentrating on the presentation ofthese ideas in Shakespeare’s description of the politics of association, most particularlyin Love’s Labour’s Lost.”
Contains: Criticism
Author: Ian Ward
From: Early Modern Literary Studies 4.3 (January, 1999): 2.1-45
The Shakespeare Law Library
“Strangely, the case for Shakespeare’s knowledge of Elizabethan law has never been appropriately framed during the almost 150-year history of the argument. This site archives works that address the argument.”
Contains: Commentary, Criticism
Author: Mark Alexander
Shakespeare; or, the Poet
“Ralph Waldo Emerson�s lecture from Representative Men. “
Contains: Commentary, Criticism
Author: Ralph Waldo Emerson
From: 1904
Shakespeare: Life and Plays
“The great teacher and scholar George Saintsbury created the touchstone for Shakespeare reference with these chapters from the Cambridge History of English Literature. “
Contains: Extensive Bio, Commentary, Criticism, Bibliography
Author: George Saintsbury
From: The Cambridge History of English and American Literature Vol.5, The Drama to 1642, Part One
Surfing with the Bard — Lesson Plans
This site contains a growing number of lesson plans for teaching about Shakespeare.
Author: Amy Ulen
A Text of Shreds and Patches: Shakespeare and Popular Culture
http://www.marshall.edu/english/OVSC/SR1997.html#A Text of Shreds…
This paper explores how the “twentieth century has fragmented the plays (as well as the legend of the person) of Shakespeare and injected pieces into other forms of popular culture.”
Contains: Criticism,
Author: Annalisa Castaldo
From: Selected Papers of the West Virginia Shakespeare and Renaissance Association Volume 20, 1997
What is the English history play and why are they saying such terrible things about it?
“Is the only alternative to ‘Shakespeare’ an ‘Alternative Shakespeare’? Contributors to the second Alternative Shakespeares volume differ.”
Contains: Criticism
Author: Steve Longstaffe
From: Renaissance Forum: An Electronic Journal of Early-Modern Literary and Historical Studies Autumn 1997; vol. 2 no. 2

Biographical sites about William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
Provides a brief biographical sketch of the poet, full text of several poems, and links to other web sites.
Contains: Sketch, Bibliography, Webliography, Pictures
Author: Academy of American Poets

Other sites about William Shakespeare

Shakespeare Online
“Amanda is the editor of Shakespeare Online, a comprehensive guide to the life, works, and world of England’s greatest writer. Her work has been published in the literary anthology Context.”
Contains: Extensive Bio, Full Bio, Pictures, Criticism
Author: Amanda Mabillard
From: Shakespeare Online
Shakespeare – Comprehensive Information About Shakespeare – About.com
Contains: Full Bio, Criticism, Commentary, Pictures, Works List
Author: Amanda Mabillard
From: About.com
An Authorship Analysis: Francis Bacon as Shake-speare
Extensive site addresses the question of whether Bacon was the actual author of many or all of Shakespeare’s works.
Contains: Commentary, Extensive Bio, Pictures
Author: Dupuy, Paul
The Classic Text: Traditions and Interpretations: William Shakespeare
Part of “The Classic Text: Traditions and Interpretations”, an online exhibit which “examines some of the high spots of the western literary canon. It explores the foundations of their iconographic standing, demonstrating how they arrive at this status through a variety of means, and not always on the basis of their literary worth. The exhibition gives special focus to how printers, publishers, editors, illustrators, and translators have used the icon of the classic text as a venue for their own agendas.”
Author: Christopher Barth, Virginia Haas, Sarah McDanie
From: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee – Special Collections Library
The Common Reader’s Shakespeare
“The ISE can give the diverse World Wide Web audience both a populist edition for the common reader and a scholarly edition that advances research in Shakespeare studies. With access to what many existing editions lack – computer databases, including on-line Renaissance text libraries and journals, just-emerging reference resources such as Shaxicon and the Early Modern English Dictionaries Database, and Michael Best’s Shakespeare’s Life and Times – the ISE can centre itself on Shakespeare and his works as problematic historical constructions. Each can be displayed, as remade by succeeding generations according to their needs. On-line readers, the next generation, will look for such features as multiple versions of the texts, hypertextual linkage to source materials and criticism, a historical time-line integrated with theatrical documents and pictures, as well as opportunities to export ISE resources to the latest text- and image-analysis software. A Web Shakespeare can reinvigorate the editorial tradition in Shakespeare studies both with native computational research and with a much larger, more intricately networked scholarly context for the texts themselves than possible up to the present.”
Contains: Commentary
Author: Ian Lancashire
From: Early Modern Literary Studies 3.3 / Special Issue 2 (January, 1998): 4.1-12
The Ghost’s Vocabulary
“About the joint quest of a statistician and a mathematician to use computer analysis ‘to find out whether Shakespeare, rather than Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford or any of a myriad of others, wrote the plays and poems we associate with his name.'”
Contains: Commentary
Author: Edward Dolnick
From: Atlantic Monthly October 1991
The People For Whom Shakespeare Wrote
A look at the people of England during the time of Shakespeare.
Author: Warner, Charles Dudley, 1829-1900
From: New York, Harper & brothers, 1897
Shakespeare Illustrated
“Shakespeare Illustrated, a work in progress, explores nineteenth-century paintings, criticism and productions of Shakespeare’s plays and their influences on one another.”
Contains: Bibliography, Pictures, Commentary
Author: Harry Rusche
Shakespeare on Television: A Bibliography of Criticism
“The present bibliography intends to provide a comprehensive reference guide to thepublications dealing with Shakespeare on television, updating and revising misprintsand inaccuracies in previous bibliographies (see section A). Its coverage is exhaustiveup to 1999, the year of the centenary of the first Shakespeare film and the celebrationin Spain of the first international conference exclusively devoted to such a relativelynew area in Shakespeare studies. The scope of this bibliography is limited to studies on Shakespeare televisionadaptations and derivatives and does not include musical versions or operas basedon the plays. Televised stage productions and video productions have also beenincluded, and the corresponding entries make reference to the television broadcast,deliberately excluding articles and reviews focusing on the stage production as in thecase of Jonathan Miller�s The Merchant of Venice (1970) or Edwin Sherin�s King Lear(1973). Although the bibliography intends to be as comprehensive as possible, certaintypes of entries have been omitted: abstracts, announcements, accounts offilm-making, dissertations, reports of conferences and courses, reprints (unless theyare revised or expanded editions), and works containing only passing references.Interviews have only been listed if they specifically deal with one or severaladaptation(s); those referring to a director�s whole �uvre have been discarded.Reviews are usually excluded, with three exceptions: a) those published inShakespearean journals; b) those that were later reprinted in volumes such as J. C.Bulman and H. R. Coursen�s Shakespeare on Television: An Anthology of Essays andReviews (1988); and c) those making reference to virtually unavailable adaptationssuch as the television series An Age of Kings (1960) or The Spread of the Eagle (1963).”
Contains: Bibliography
Author: José Ramón Díaz-Fernández
From: Early Modern Literary Studies 6.1 (May, 2000): 4
Shakespearian Glossary
A glossary of some Shakespearean terminology.
From: Internet Wiretap

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Last Updated Apr 29, 2013