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Essential Shakespeare: The Arden Guide to Text and Interpretation (Arden Shakespeare)

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Essential Shakespeare: The Arden Guide to Text and Interpretation (Arden Shakespeare)

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    Available in PDF Format | Essential Shakespeare: The Arden Guide to Text and Interpretation (Arden Shakespeare).pdf | English
    Jenny Stevens(Author) Pamela Bickley(Author)
An introductory critical study for first year undergraduates which bridges the gap between A Level and university study. The book offers an accessible overview of key critical perspectives, early modern contexts, and methods of close reading, as well as screen and stage performances spanning several decades. Organised around the discussion of fourteen major plays, it introduces readers to the diverse theoretical approaches typical of today's English studies. This is a go-to resource that can be consulted thematically or by individual play or genre.

Critical approaches can overwhelm students who are daunted by the quantity and complexity of current scholarship; Bickley and Stevens are experienced teachers at both A and university level and are thus uniquely qualified to show how a mix of critical ideas can be used to inform ways of thinking about a play.

The particular strength of Pamela Bickley and Jenny Stevens' thorough guide to the study of Shakespeare's plays is its targeting. Their discussion of each of fourteen of the plays is framed via the introduction of a theoretical method and an exploration of Shakespeare's language, thus offering a critical tool-kit aimed squarely and effectively at undergraduates and ambitious sixthformers . . . Bickley and Stevens know their audience and address it clearly and unpatronisingly. Everyone who wants, or is just beginning, to study English literature at university would benefit from this book. -- Emma Smith, Hertford College, Oxford * Around the Globe * The defining quality of Bickley and Stevens' Essential Shakespeare is the absolute clarity of their organisation as they navigate the extensive field of Shakespearean criticism ... The palpable enjoyment to be found in close textual analysis is evident throughout the text and is extremely thorough and precise ... Bickley and Stevens engage students who will enjoy their direct, modern approach, as well as teachers who can enjoy the wry smile and the shared experience of justifying literary analysis to teenagers: `Did Shakespeare really intend all this?' -- Tara Hanley * The Use of English * [T]his engaging volume successfully explains the most important concepts related to the playwright's use of language through a number of critical perspectives ... The Essential Shakespeare is a well-balanced synthesis where each chapter provides a real wealth of information about the playwright. More importantly, it offers a highly readable overview of Shakespeare's main plays for those already acquainted with the playwright's language ... [I]t certainly deserves to be given a special place on academic bookshelves. -- Sophie Chiari, Aix-Marseille Universite, France * Cercles *

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Review Text

  • By L Brecknell on 9 October 2013

    The Arden Guide is consistently clear, concise and accessible in its discussion of a broad range of Shakespeare's plays. The chapters are nicely structured, each section tackling a different aspect of the play. I found the explanation of occasionally complex literary theories especially helpful, as Literary Theory is required for most first year English courses; the Guide gave a clear definition before explaining how the ideas relate to the text.The cross-reference of texts is also very useful, rather than simply looking at one play in isolation. Included is a range of critics, from past and present, and I found it interesting to see how attitudes to the plays have changed over time.Critics are also taken into consideration as historical context, as are attitudes and events of the time in which Shakespeare was writing, which sheds more light on the texts. In particular, I found it very useful to have a section of each chapter devoted to the analysis of a production of the play, including film productions.Ultimately, I feel that the Arden Guide does aid in the transition between A-level and university teaching, as the book is consistently very relevant and accessible; I feel a lot more prepared to discuss the Shakespeare plays I am studying in my first year!

  • By Donald M. on 23 December 2015

    this is not a review as such but just a thank yoU for producing such a fascinating insight into the works of the Master. Thank you. Don Mason

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