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Shakespeare, the Kings Playwright

Shakespeare, the Kings Playwright
Your Price: $26.95 CDN
Author: Alvin Kernan
Publisher: Yale University Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 230
Pub. Date: 1997
ISBN-10: 0300072589
ISBN-13: 9780300072587

About the Book:

Rare book, very limited quantities available

Soon after James Stuart became king of England in 1603, William Shakespeare, while still working in the public theatre, became the royal playwright, and his acting troupe became the premier playing company of the realm. How did this courtly setting influence Shakespeare's work? What was it like to view, perform in, and write plays conceived for the Stuart king?

In this fascinating and lively book Shakespeare, the Kings Playwright, one of America's most eminent literary critics explores these questions by taking us back to the court performances of some of Shakespeare's most famous plays, examining them in their settings at the royal palaces of Whitehall and Hampton Court. Alvin Kernan looks at Shakespeare as a patronage playwright whose work after 1603 focused on the main concerns of his royal patron: divine-right kingship in Lear, the corruption of the court in Antony, the difficulties of the old military aristocracy in Coriolanus, and other vital matters. Kernan argues that Shakespeare was neither the royal propagandist nor the political subversive that the New Historicists have made him out to be. He was, instead, a great dramatist whose plays commented on political and social concerns of his patrons and who sought the most satisfactory way of adjusting his own art to court needs.

What people say:

"Shakespeare, the King's Playwright is distinguished, readable. and in its own way, counterrevolutionary. It is a corrective to much recent criticism." — The Times Higher Education Supplement

"Kernan's book is learned, elegantly and accessibly written, and clearly the product of a highly cultivated mind." — The Sunday Times

"This scholarly, occasionally quirky, and splendidly provocative work belongs to that highly select group of books which actually have something genuinely new to say about Shakespeare." — The Sunday Telegraph

About the Author:

Alvin Kernan, formerly a professor of literature at Yale and later at Princeton, is currently the Senior Advisor in the Humanities at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He is the author of Shakespeare, the Kings Playwright.