September 18, 2008


Author: Sandra Clark

Edition: First

Publisher: Polity

Pages: 232

Price: £50.00 and £16.99

ISBN 9780745633107 and 3114

Sandra Clark rejects a Shakespeare-centred approach in this informative textbook on Renaissance drama. Chapters deal either with contextual themes, including "Monarchy and the stage" and "Comedy and the city", or with genres that range from "Journalistic plays" to "Reading revenge". This is an engaging, thoughtful book that ranges across, and sometimes beyond, the canon and also, through Clark's frequent short analyses of particular texts, presents student readers with a series of useful models for their own research, analysis and academic writing. The author's focus is the public theatre, so students will have to look elsewhere if they wish to learn more about provincial, closet and academic drama.

Who is it for? Undergraduate students, although this book will be accessible to readers from A level onwards.

Presentation: Clean and clear, with a handful of illustrations and some useful suggestions for further reading.

Would you recommend it? Yes.


Author: John Jowett

Edition: First

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Pages: 238

Price: £25.00 and £12.99

ISBN 978019921076 and 7069

The materiality of the Shakespeare text has been a hot topic for some years, and John Jowett's detailed textbook will help to open up the field for student readers. His book covers subjects from theatrical composition to modernisation and offers a clear view of the early printings of some of the most important texts in the canon while navigating the complex and often contradictory scholarship around them with grace and dexterity. He illustrates his discussion with frequent reference to particular cruces and textual changes, showing student readers why and how bibliographical work can matter.

Who is it for? The book is somewhat difficult and seems to be pitched at postgraduate students. However, it will also be useful to undergraduates who are keen to extend and complicate their sense of the Shakespeare text.

Presentation: Clearly laid out with a useful glossary. There are only two illustrations, and in a book on material textuality more would have been helpful.

Would you recommend it? Yes.


Author: Gabriel Egan

Edition: First

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

Pages: 224

Price: £50.00 and £14.99

ISBN 9780748623716 and 3723

Gabriel Egan's Shakespeare provides a helpful chronology and a broad-ranging list of resources. The book opens with four chapters centred on generic categories (comedies, histories, tragedies and, of course, problems), and Egan maintains his textual and analytical focus by concentrating on two plays in each chapter. The second half of the book is structured around particular critical approaches, each discussed in relation to a single play. Some are by now rather predictable, particularly the linking of The Tempest with questions of colonialism and identity, and the section on ecocriticism seems unlikely to persuade students of the merits or relevance of this approach.

Who is it for? Students from A level to undergraduate.

Presentation: A useful chronology and list of resources and clean, easy-to-read pages, but no pictures.

Would you recommend it? Occasionally.

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