Walking on Sunshine

Sean McEvoy – Shakespeare: The Basics

The Back of the Book: The way in which Shakespeare’s plays are studied has undergone considerable change in recent years.  The new edition of this bestselling guide, aimed squarely at the student new to Shakespeare, is based on the exciting new approaches shaping Shakespeare studies.  This volume provides a thorough general introduction to the plays and a refreshingly clear guide to:

  • Shakespeare’s language.
  • The plays as performance texts.
  • The cultural and political contexts of the plays.
  • Early modern theatre practice.
  • New understandings of the major genres.

Sean McEvoy illustrates how interpretations of Shakespeare are linked to cultural and political contexts and provides readings of the most frequently studied plays in the light of contemporary critical thought.

Now fully updated to include discussion of criticism and performance in the last five years, a new chapter on Shakespeare on film, and a broader critical approach, this book is the essential resource for all students of Shakespeare.

NotJustLaura’s Review: Would you be surprised if I said this is something of a page-turner?  It’s a set book for the Open University course A177 and, truth to tell, I wasn’t sure how I’d get on with it.  In fact, it was a really easy read and one which I enjoyed.

Mr McEvoy takes the reader on a whistle-stop tour of Shakespeare’s plays which is far-removed from the character and plot studies I slaved over in school.  Instead he explains the more modern schools of literary criticism while placing the plays in their historical and social context.

The book is a very readable introduction to Shakespeare with lots of questions for students to ponder and plenty of further reading for the enthusiastic.  Having read it quickly, I’m looking forward to looking at it again, in more detail, during my course.

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