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A Midsummer Night's Dream
All's Well That Ends Well
As You Like It
Love’s Labour ’s Lost
Measure for Measure
Much Ado About Nothing
The Comedy of Errors
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Taming of the Shrew
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Twelfth Night; or, What you will
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
The Winter's Tale
Romeo and Juliet
The History of Troilus and Cressida
The Life and Death of Julius Caesar
The Life of Timon of Athens
The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra
The Tragedy of Coriolanus
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
The Tragedy of Macbeth
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
The Life and Death of King John
The Life and Death of King Richard the Second
The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
The first part of King Henry the Fourth
The second part of King Henry the Fourth
The Life of King Henry V
The first part of King Henry the Sixth
The second part of King Henry the Sixth
The third part of King Henry the Sixth
The Life of King Henry the Eighth
The Poetical Works
Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music
A Lover's Complaint
The Rape of Lucrece
Venus and Adonis
The Phoenix and the Turtle
The Passionate Pilgrim
With an introduction by Simon Callow
Judgements about the quality of works of art begin in opinion. But for the last two hundred years only the wilfully perverse (and Tolstoy) have denied the validity of the opinion that Shakespeare was a genius.
Who was Shakespeare? Why has his writing endured? And what makes it so endlessly adaptable to different times and cultures? Exploring Shakespeare's life, including questions of authorship and autobiography, and charting how his legacy has grown over the centuries, this extraordinary book asks how Shakespeare has come to be such a powerful symbol of genius.
Written with lively passion and wit, The Genius of Shakespeare is a fascinating biography of the life - and afterlife - of our greatest poet. Jonathan Bate, one of the world's leading Shakespearean scholars, has shown how the legend of Shakespeare's genius was created and sustained, and how the man himself became a truly global phenomenon.
'The best modern book on Shakespeare' Sir Peter Hall
to a war poem by Carol Ann Duffy, and a series of striking examples of how literary texts change as they are transmitted from writer to reader.
The narrative embraces not only the major literary movements such as Romanticism and Modernism, together with the most influential authors including Chaucer, Donne, Johnson, Wordsworth, Austen, Dickens and Woolf, but also little-known stories such as the identity of the first English woman poet to be honoured with a collected edition of her works. Written with the flair and passion for which Jonathan Bate has become renowned, this book is the perfect Very Short Introduction for all
readers and students of the incomparable literary heritage of these islands.
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.
‘Enlightening, moving’ SIR IAN MCKELLEN
From the acclaimed and bestselling biographer Jonathan Bate, a luminous new exploration of Shakespeare and how his themes can untangle comedy and tragedy, learning and loving in our modern lives.
‘The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.’
How does one survive the death of a loved one, the mess of war, the experience of being schooled, of falling in love, of growing old, of losing your mind?
Shakespeare’s world is never too far different from our own ‘permeated with the same tragedies, the same existential questions and domestic worries. In this extraordinary book, Jonathan Bate brings then and now together. He investigates moments of his own life – losses and challenges – and asks whether, if you persevere with Shakespeare, he can offer a word of wisdom or a human insight for any time or any crisis. Along the way we meet actors such as Judi Dench and Simon Callow, and writers such as Dr Johnson, John Keats, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, who turned to Shakespeare in their own dark times.
This is a personal story about loss, the black dog of depression, unexpected journeys and the very human things that echo through time, resonating with us all at one point or another.
From one of our most eminent and accessible literary critics, a groundbreaking account of how the Greek and Roman classics forged Shakespeare’s imagination
Ben Jonson famously accused Shakespeare of having “small Latin and less Greek.” But he was exaggerating. Shakespeare was steeped in the classics. Shaped by his grammar school education in Roman literature, history, and rhetoric, he moved to London, a city that modeled itself on ancient Rome. He worked in a theatrical profession that had inherited the conventions and forms of classical drama, and he read deeply in Ovid, Virgil, and Seneca. In a book of extraordinary range, acclaimed literary critic and biographer Jonathan Bate, one of the world’s leading authorities on Shakespeare, offers groundbreaking insights into how, perhaps more than any other influence, the classics made Shakespeare the writer he became.
Revealing in new depth the influence of Cicero and Horace on Shakespeare and finding new links between him and classical traditions, ranging from myths and magic to monuments and politics, Bate offers striking new readings of a wide array of the plays and poems. At the heart of the book is an argument that Shakespeare’s supreme valuation of the force of imagination was honed by the classical tradition and designed as a defense of poetry and theater in a hostile world of emergent Puritanism.
Rounded off with a fascinating account of how Shakespeare became our modern classic and has ended up playing much the same role for us as the Greek and Roman classics did for him, How the Classics Made Shakespeare combines stylistic brilliance, accessibility, and scholarship, demonstrating why Jonathan Bate is one of our most eminent and readable literary critics.
The long-awaited literary biography of the supreme "poets' poet"
John Clare (1793-1864) is the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self, but until now he has never been the subject of a comprehensive literary biography.
Here at last is his full story told by the light of his voluminous work: his birth in poverty, his work as an agricultural labourer, his burgeoning promise as a writer--cultivated under the gaze of rival patrons--then his moment of fame in the company of John Keats and the toast of literary London, and finally his decline into mental illness and his last years confined in asylums. Clare's ringing voice--quick-witted, passionate, vulnerable, courageous--emerges in generous quotation from his letters, journals, autobiographical writings, and his poems, as Jonathan Bate, the celebrated scholar of Shakespeare, brings the complex man, his beloved work, and his ribald world vividly to life.
First published in 1991, Romantic Ecology reassesses the poetry of William Wordsworth in the context of the abiding pastoral tradition in English Literature. Jonathan Bate explores the politics of poetry and argues that contrary to critics who suggest that the Wordsworth was a reactionary who failed to represent the harsh economic reality of his native Lake District, the poet’s politics were fundamentally ‘green’. As our first truly ecological poet, Wordsworth articulated a powerful and enduring vision of human integration with nature which exercised a formative influence on later conservation movements and is of immediate relevance to great environmental issues today. Challenging the orthodoxies of new historicist criticism, Jonathan Bate sets a new agenda for the study of Romanticism in the 1990s.
'The most important critical work for decades' Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
In the brilliantly engaging style that characterised The Genius of Shakespeare, Jonathan Bate has written a series of compelling pieces on the link between literature and the environment and why poetry matters in the new millennium. In fascinating detail, Bate explains how words like 'culture' and 'environment' have evolved since the writing of Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and the Romantics to the present day.
'Bate presents his case with an emotional conviction which is almost impossible to resist' The Times
'Anyone familiar with Bate's The Genius of Shakespeare will know how winningly he marries erudition to liveliness' John Coldstream, Daily Telegraph
'I came away from the book deeply grateful for its impassioned song' Adam Thorpe, Sunday Telegraph
Recession is a time for asking fundamental questions about value. At a time when governments are being forced to make swingeing savings in public expenditure, why should they continue to invest public money funding research into ancient Greek tragedy, literary value, philosophical conundrums or the aesthetics of design? Does such research deliver 'value for money' and 'public benefit'? Such questions have become especially pertinent in the UK in recent years, in the context of the drive by government to instrumentalize research across the disciplines and the prominence of discussions about 'economic impact' and 'knowledge transfer'.
In this book a group of distinguished humanities researchers, all working in Britain, but publishing research of international importance, reflect on the public value of their discipline, using particular research projects as case-studies. Their essays are passionate, sometimes polemical, often witty and consistently thought-provoking, covering a range of humanities disciplines from theology to architecture and from media studies to anthropology.
His acts being seven ages.”
In this illuminating, innovative biography, Jonathan Bate, one of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, has found a fascinating new way to tell the story of the great dramatist. Using the Bard’s own immortal list of a man’s seven ages in As You Like It, Bate deduces the crucial events of Shakespeare’s life and connects them to his world and work as never before.
Here is the author as an infant, born into a world of plague and syphillis, diseases with which he became closely familiar; as a schoolboy, a position he portrayed in The Merry Wives of Windsor, in which a clever, cheeky lad named William learns Latin grammar; as a lover, married at eighteen to an older woman already pregnant, perhaps presaging Bassanio, who in The Merchant of Venice won a wife who could save him from financial ruin. Here, too, is Shakespeare as a soldier, writing Henry the Fifth’s St. Crispin’s Day speech, with a nod to his own monarch Elizabeth I’s passionate addresses; as a justice, revealing his possible legal training in his precise use of the law in plays from Hamlet to Macbeth; and as a pantaloon, an early retiree because of, Bate postulates, either illness or a scandal. Finally, Shakespeare enters oblivion, with sonnets that suggest he actively sought immortality through his art and secretly helped shape his posthumous image more than anyone ever knew.
Equal parts masterly detective story, brilliant literary analysis, and insightful world history, Soul of the Age is more than a superb new recounting of Shakespeare’s experiences; it is a bold and entertaining work of scholarship and speculation, one that shifts from past to present, reality to the imagination, to reveal how this unsurpassed artist came to be.