The Taming of the Shrew: Texts and Contexts

Front Cover
Bedford/St. Martin's, Mar 15, 1996 - Drama - 347 pages
1 Review
This teaching edition of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew responds to the needs of instructors using a variety of approaches to Shakespeare, including feminist, historical, and cultural studies approaches. The play is accompanied by four sets of primary documents and illustrations thematically arranged to offer a richly textured understanding of early modern culture and Shakespeare's work within that culture. The texts include facsimiles of period documents, excerpts of conduct literature on marriage and on wife and servant beating, sermons, popular ballads, literary works offering alternative endings to Shakespeare's play, and documents on women's legal status. The primary documents contextualize the play's treatment of assertive women, marital conflict, and domestic disorder and violence. Editorial features designed to help students read the play in light of the historical documents include an intelligent and engaging general introduction, and introduction to each thematic group of documents, thorough headnotes and glosses for the primary documents (presented in modern spelling), and an extensive bibliography.

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

It is one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. I especially liked the controversy it brought up regarding the meaning of the play because it can be interpreted in many different ways. You could say that Shakespeare was a feminist or that he showed men's power over women. I'm a fan of his comedies so i really enjoyed that witty humor in this play. There is just a lot of tricks and mischief that take place and its a very entertaining play to read. 

Other editions - View all

About the author (1996)

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.

Bibliographic information