Thirty-Seven Plays by Shakespeare: A Sense of Corpus

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With the exception of the three parts of Henry VI, which are examined in one chapter, each chapter is devoted to the critical analysis of one of Shakespeare’s plays. Each analysis begins with a central idea or question that shapes the entire chapter. Background issues, like the plays’ sources and secondary materials, are introduced only when relevant to the author’s analysis. Taken together, the separate chapters make a larger, coherent whole that reveals the major facets of Shakespeare’s creation in comedy, history plays, tragedy, and romances.


“This work draws upon a lifetime of reading, watching, studying, teaching, and writing about the thirty-seven works that are its subject matter. Dr. Ronald Rebholz devotes a packed, masterly essay, longer or shorter depending on the importance of the work being considered, to each of the plays in the canon. At a time when Shakespeare criticism has grown maddeningly esoteric, his approach is refreshingly direct ... Scholars who are deeply versed in the works of Shakespeare will profit from Dr. Rebholz’s erudite accounts of ‘the man who hath no music in himself’ in The Merchant of Venice, the composition of the Henriad, art and nature in The Winter’s Tale, and many other questions. Dr. Rebholz’s work is both a handsome contribution to Shakespeare studies and an excellent read, a book that appeals to the very widest audience.” – (from the Preface) Professor David Riggs, Stanford University

“This book contributes an informative discussion of the differing sixteenth-century views of Juan Gines de Supulveda and of Bartolome de Las Casas, which are helpful to understanding debates about colonialism relevant to The Tempest, and it has a most helpful appendix summarizing different views in the Renaissance on the problem of war, from Erasmus’ virtual pacifism to distinctions between just and unjust wars ... This book is a rich harvest of dynamic teachings of Shakespeare; it offers a vital and insightful introduction to the plays for both university students and scholars.” – Professor Mary Judith Dunbar, Santa Clara University

“Professor Rebholz has been reading Shakespeare for many, many years, and has been teaching the plays for nearly that long. Shakespeare is perhaps the most dazzling, complex, mystifying writer in modern times, and, over a lifetime of reading, seeing and teaching the plays, Dr. Rebholz has found a great many ways to make that complexity intelligible and coherent ... This is an important book which will make a strong contribution to Shakespeare studies. It is a classic example of critical thinking at its best ...” – Richard D. Sylvester, Professor Emeritus, Colgate University

Table of Contents

Preface by David Riggs
1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2. Twelfth Night
3. As You Like It
4. Much Ado About Nothing
5. The Two Gentlemen of Verona
6. The Comedy of Errors
7. The Taming of the Shrew< br> 8. Love’s Labors Lost
9. The Merry Wives of Windsor
10. The Merchant of Venice
11. Henry VI
12. Richard III
13. Richard II
14. 1 Henry IV
15. 2 Henry IV
16. Henry V
17. King John
18. Henry VII
19. Troilus and Cressida
20. All’s Well That Ends Well
21. Measure for Measure
22. Titus Andronicus
23. Romeo and Juliet
24. Hamlet
25. Othello
26. King Lear
27. Macbeth
28. Julius Caesar
29. Antony and Cleopatra
30. Coriolanus
31. Timon of Athens
32. Pericles, Prince of Tyre
33. Cymbeline
34. The Winter’s Tale
35. The Tempest
Appendix on the Just War

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