John Dover Wilson's New Shakespeare, published between 1921 and 1966, became the classic Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's plays and poems until the 1980s. The series, long since out-of-print, is now reissued. Each work is available both individually and as a set, and each contains a lengthy and lively introduction, main text, and substantial notes and glossary printed at the back. The edition, which began with The Tempest and ended with The Sonnets, put into practice the techniques and theories that had evolved under the 'New Bibliography'. Remarkably by today's standards, although it took the best part of half a century to produce, the New Shakespeare involved only a small band of editors besides Dover Wilson himself. As the volumes took shape, many of Dover Wilson's textual methods acquired general acceptance and became an established part of later editorial practice, for example in the Arden and New Cambridge Shakespeares.
Students with little or no prior experience of studying Shakespeare in depth will find very useful the summaries of the conclusions of recent research into theatrical conditions, conventions and concepts in the time of Shakespeare. After an overview of Shakespeare’s life and career, the book summarises Elizabethan attitudes to History and Politics, concepts of the cosmos, theological issues such as Free Will and the Fall of Man, and the tensions that ultimately destroyed consensus on these matters. Discussion of expectations of different types of plays then precedes detailed analysis of Henry IV’s structure, genres and literary strategies, and of the major themes it explores. The play is firmly placed in the sequence of history plays from Richard II to Henry V. A chapter examines fully the issues surrounding the Education of a Prince for rule, concluding with full exploration of the part played by Falstaff. The final chapters examine the conceptual and ideological implications of the play’s languages and styles, and the career of the play, which, especially in Part 1, has been greatly successful in later ages when its original topicality is quite forgotten. There is an Appendix listing some extant History Plays, and copious explanatory hyperlinks.
Teaching Shakespeare has been a major contribution to the knowledge and expertise of all teachers of Shakespeare from primary upwards for two decades. This full-colour second edition is in a larger format, updated to reflect modern classroom practice. It includes new contributions by leading practitioners from Shakespeare's Globe, the Shakespeare Schools Festival, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Cambridge School Shakespeare editorial team. Teaching Shakespeare makes explicit the 'Active Shakespeare' principles which underpin Cambridge School Shakespeare and includes activities and advice to help teachers develop their existing good practice, making the learning of Shakespeare valuable and enjoyable for all involved.
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