Pursuing Shakespeare's Dramaturgy: Some Contexts, Resources, and Strategies in His Playmaking

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Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 489 pages
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This book is about Shakespeare's stagecraft. It presents examinations of the conditions under which Shakespeare worked, including limitations and opportunities offered by circumstances that affected how his plays were written. It attempts to recover more in Shakespeare's plays than is normally appreciated, and to discover previously unnoticed dramatic strategies embedded in the Shakespearean texts.
The book is aimed at Shakespeare as a playwright - or, more exactly, a playmaker - of his time. It considers only the earliest texts of the plays, only the resources available when they were written, and only what can be seen in the plays in conjunctions with the evidences from the days of Shakespeare's career.
It is especially concerned with what can be said about Shakespeare's intentions as he shaped his plays. There are, the book maintains, important but still inadequately appreciated dramatic designs built into the plays, and there are clever strategies that have gone unnoticed but may yet be discerned by the careful application of dramaturgical analysis.
The Shakespeare studied in this book is Shakespeare the playmaker, engaged in every step of the process from the first draft of the text to the performance before a live audience. This, the author contends, is the Shakespeare that is most essential, the Shakespeare who should be known as the foundation underlying any other treatment of the plays, and the Shakespeare most exciting and rewarding to pursue.

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A Test Case
The Foundational Texts

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About the author (2003)

John C. Meagher is a member of the English Department of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto.

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