Beginning Shakespeare introduces students to the study of Shakespeare, and grounds their understanding of his work in theoretical discourses. After an introductory survey of the dominant approaches of the past, seven chapters examine the major current critical approaches to Shakespeare: psychoanlaysis; New Historicism; Cultural Materialism; Gender studies; Queer theory; postcolonial criticism and performance criticism. A further chapter looks at the growing roles of the biography, attribution and textual studies. Each chapter analyses the strengths and weaknesses of its particular perspective, allowing students to gain a clear critical purchase on the respective approaches, and to make informed choices between them. Each chapter ends with a list of suggested further reading and interactive exercises based on the key issues raised. An in valuable introduction, essential for anyone studying the plays, Beginning Shakespeare offers students a map of the current critical practices, and a sense of the possibilities for developing their own approaches.
Contents Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Critical Histories i. 1598-1741: A bumpy ride 2. Psychoanalysis 3. New Historicism 4. Cultural Materialism 5. New factualisms 6. Gender studies and queer theory 7. Postcolonial criticism 8. Shakespeare in performance
Lisa Hopkins is Professor of English at Sheffield Hallam University