The Norton Shakespeare, Based on the Oxford Edition: Tragedies

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W.W. Norton & Company Incorporated, 2008 - Drama - 1142 pages
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Instructors and students worldwide welcomed the fresh scholarship, lively and accessible introductions, helpful marginal glosses and notes, readable single-column format, all designed in support of the goal of the Oxford text: to bring the modern reader closer than before possible to Shakespeare's plays as they were first acted. Now, under Stephen Greenblatt's direction, the editors have considered afresh each introduction and all of the apparatus to make the Second Edition an even better teaching tool.

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About the author (2008)

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.

Stephen Greenblatt is a literary critic, theorist and scholar. He is the author of Three Modern Satirists: Waugh, Orwell, and Huxley (1965); Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (1980); Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture (1990); Redrawing the Boundaries: The Transformation of English and American Literary Studies (1992); The Norton Shakespeare (1997); Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (2004); Shakespeare's Freedom (2010); and The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (2011).

Walter Cohen (Ph.D. Berkeley) is Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Cornell University, where he received the Clark Distinguished Teaching Award. He is the author of Drama of a Nation: Public Theater in Renaissance England and Spain, as well as numerous journal articles on Renaissance literature, literary criticism, the history of the novel, and world literature. He has recently completed a critical study entitled A History of European Literature: The West and the World from Antiquity to the Present.

Jean E. Howard (Ph.D., Yale) is the George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. A past president of the Shakespeare Association of America, she is the author of numerous books on Renaissance drama, including Shakespeare's Art of Orchestration: Stage Technique and Audience Response (1984), The Stage and Social Struggle (1994), Engendering a Nation: A Feminist Account of Shakespeare's English Histories, with Phyllis Rackin (1997), Theater of a City: The Places of London Comedy 1598-1642 (2007), and Marx and Shakespeare with Crystal Bartolovich (2012). She is at work on a book about the English history play from Shakespeare to Caryl Churchill and another on the invention of Renaissance tragedy.

Katharine Eisaman Maus (Ph.D. Johns Hopkins) is James Branch Cabell Professor of English at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Being and Having in Shakespeare; Inwardness and Theater in the English Renaissance; and Ben Jonson and the Roman Frame of Mind; editor of a volume of Renaissance tragedies; and coeditor of English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, and a collection of criticism on seventeenth-century English poetry. She has been awarded Guggenheim, Leverhulme, NEH, and ACLS fellowships, and the Roland Bainton Prize for Inwardness and Theater.

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