The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy offers critical and contemporary resources for studying Shakespeare's comic enterprises. It engages with perennial, yet still urgent questions raised by the comedies and looks at them from a range of new perspectives that represent the most recent methodological approaches to Shakespeare, genre, and early modern drama.
Several chapters take up firmly established topics of inquiry such Shakespeare's source materials, gender and sexuality, hetero- and homoerotic desire, race, and religion, and they reformulate these topics in the materialist, formalist, phenomenological, or revisionist terms of current scholarship and critical debate. Others explore subjects that have only relatively recently become pressing concerns for sustained scholarly interrogation, such as ecology, cross-species interaction, and humoral
theory. Some contributions, informed by increasingly sophisticated approaches to the material conditions and embodied experience of theatrical practice, speak to a resurgence of interest in performance, from Shakespeare's period through the first decades of the twenty-first century. Others still
investigate distinct sets of plays from unexpected and often polemical angles, noting connections between the comedies under inventive, unpredicted banners such as the theology of adultery, early modern pedagogy, global exploration, or monarchical rule. The Handbook situates these approaches against the long history of criticism and provides a valuable overview of the most up-to-date work in the field.