In this new offering from Stanley Wells, the pre-eminent Shakespearian scholar, comes a Very Short Introduction to the life and writings of the world's greatest and best-known dramatists: William Shakespeare. Looking at his early life and education, Wells explores Shakespeare's social and intellectual background and the literary traditions on which Shakespeare drew. Examining the theatres and theatrical profession of the time, he also considers how Shakespeare experienced this world, both as an actor and as a writer. Examining Shakespeare's narrative poems, sonnets, and all of his plays, Wells outlines their sources, style, and originality over the course of Shakespeare's career, to consider the fundamental impact his work has had for subsequent generations. Written with enthusiasm and flair by a scholar who has devoted a lifetime to the study of Shakespeare and his works, this is an engaging and authoritative introduction. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.
Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Stanley Wells, described by Roy Hattersley as 'Our greatest authority on Shakespeare's life and work', is honorary President of The Shakespeare Birthplace, Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Emeritus Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. He was for nearly twenty years the editor of the annual Shakespeare Survey, and writes for the TLS and many other publications. He has edited The New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies and is General Editor (with Gary Taylor) of The Complete Oxford Shakespeare and co-author of William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion. His most recent books are Shakespeare For All Time, Looking for Sex in Shakespeare, and Shakespeare, Sex, and Love.
Preface: Why Shakespeare? ; 1. Shakespeare and Stratford-upon-Avon ; 2. Theatre in Shakespeare's time ; 3. Shakespeare in London ; 4. Plays of the 1590s ; 5. Shakespeare and comic form ; 6. Return to tragedy ; 7. The classical plays ; 8. Tragi-comedy ; Epilogue ; Chronology: Shakespeare's works ; Further reading ; Index