Coriolanus

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 9, 2000 - Drama - 303 pages
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This generously annotated edition of Coriolanus offers a thorough reconsideration of Shakespeare's remarkable, and probably his last, tragedy. A substantial introduction situates the play within its contemporary social and political contexts and presents a fresh account of how the protagonist's personal tragedy evolves within Shakespeare's most searching exploration of the political life of a community. The edition is alert throughout to the play's theatrical potential, while the stage history also attends to the politics of performance from the 1680s to the 1990s, including European productions following the Second World War.
 

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Coriolanus

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Penguin chose to revamp its venerable Pelican Shakespeare line in 1999. The updated series includes more accurate texts and new introductions by the current crop of leading Shakespearean scholars. The good stuff just gets better with age. (Classic Returns, LJ 10/15/99) Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
SOURCES
10
CONTEMPORARY CONTEXTS
17
POLITICS AND THE FRANCHISE
27
ESSEX AND RALEGH
33
THE PLAY
40
CORIOLANUS ON SHAKESPEARES STAGE
63
STAGE HISTORY
67
NOTE ON THE TEXT
99
LIST OF CHARACTERS
102
THE PLAY
104
TEXTUAL ANALYSIS
275
LINEATION
294
READING LIST
301
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

Bridget Escolme is Senior Lecturer in Drama at Queen Mary, University of London.

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