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How To Do Things With Shakespeare: New Approaches, New Essays

Laurie Maguire (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-3527-6
320 pages
October 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
How To Do Things With Shakespeare: New Approaches, New Essays (1405135271) cover image
This collection of 12 essays uses the works of Shakespeare to show how experts in their field formulate critical positions.

  • A helpful guidebook for anyone trying to think of a new approach to Shakespeare
  • Twelve experts take new critical positions in their field of study using the writings and analysis of Shakespeare, to show how writers (students and academics) find topics and develop their ideas
  • Features autobiographical prefaces that explain how the experts chose their topics and why the editor commissioned these particular essays, topics, and authors
  • Argues that literary research is a reaction to experiences, thoughts or feelings
  • Essays are arranged in small dialogues of two or three, forming a debate
  • Teaches students to respond individually to cultural positions
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Notes on Contributors.

Introduction: Laurie E. Maguire (Magdalen College, University of Oxford).

Part I How To Do Things with Sources.

1. French Connections: The Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi in Montaigne and Shakespeare: Richard Scholar (Oriel College, Oxford).

2. Romancing the Greeks: Cymbeline's Genres and Models: Tanya Pollard (Brooklyn College, City University of New York).

3. How the Renaissance (Mis)Used Sources: The Art of Misquotation: Julie Maxwell (Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge).

Part II How To Do Things with History.

4. Henry VIII, or All is True: Shakespeare's "Favorite" Play: Chris R. Kyle (Syracuse University).

5. Catholicism and Conversion in Love's Labour's Lost: Gillian Woods (Wadham College, Oxford).

Part III How To Do Things with Texts.

6. Watching as Reading: The Audience and Written Text in Shakespeare's Playhouse: Tiffany Stern (University College, Oxford).

7. What Do Editors Do and Why Does It Matter?: Anthony B. Dawson (University of British Columbia).

Part IV How To Do Things with Animals.

8. "The dog is himself": Humans, Animals, and Self-Control in The Two Gentlemen of Verona: Erica Fudge.

(Middlesex University).

9. Sheepishness in The Winter's Tale: Paul Yachnin (McGill University).

Part V How To Do Things with Posterity.

10. Time and the Nature of Sequence in Shakespeare's Sonnets: "In sequent toil all forwards do contend": Georgia Brown (independent scholar).

11. Canons and Cultures: Is Shakespeare Universal? : A. E. B. Coldiron (Florida State University).

12. "Freezing the Snowman": (How) Can We Do Performance Criticism?: Emma Smith (Hertford College, Oxford).

Index
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Laurie Maguire is a Fellow of Magdalen College and Reader in English at Oxford University. Her books include Shakespearean Suspect Texts (1996), Studying Shakespeare (2004), Where There’s a Will There’s a Way (2006), and Shakespeare’s Names (2007). Maguire has published widely on Renaissance drama, textual problems, performance, and women's studies.
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  • A helpful guidebook for anyone trying to think of a new approach to Shakespeare
  • Twelve experts take new critical positions in their field of study using the writings and analysis of Shakespeare, to show how writers (students and academics) find topics and develop their ideas
  • Features autobiographical prefaces that explain how the experts chose their topics and why the editor commissioned these particular essays, topics, and authors
  • Argues that literary research is a reaction to experiences, thoughts or feelings
  • Essays are arranged in small dialogues of two or three, forming a debate
  • Teaches students to respond individually to cultural positions
See More
“Maguire … does not seek to force the essays into convenient (and conventional) critical boxes. Rather, she asks her contributors to open their essays with discussions of the questions and contexts that drove them to pursue their topic and then write about it. Highly recommended.” (Choice Reviews, October 2008)

"Doing things with literature: scholarly articles are not the only way to go. Aristotle uses a lecture, Horace a letter, Sidney a mock oration. Laurie Maguire and the contributors to this book engage in a genial conversation that invites students in. Like all good conversations, this one admits first-person candor, keeps things lively by changing the subject five times, welcomes disagreements, and waits for what the reader-listener is going to do in response."
–Bruce Smith, University of Southern California, Los Angeles


"This collection of essays on How To Do Things with Shakespeare, edited by Laurie Maguire, takes a wonderfully fresh and unusual approach to its subject. The essays about individual works center in some cases on texts too often neglected: Cymbeline, Henry VIII, Love's Labour's Lost, The Two Gentlemen of Verona,and The Winter's Tale, along with the more familiar A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, and the Sonnets. The topics are equally arresting in their freshness of approach: how to do things with sources, history, texts, animals, posterity. Animals! This is Maguire's splendid approach to the question she has put to herself, what the next stage in 'body' criticism might be. To provide an answer, she calls on Erica Fudge to ask such questions as, Can animals feel shame? Can they lose bladder control? as in the case of Lance's fabulous dog in The Two Gentlemen. Paul Yachnin addresses such puzzles by thinking about Renaissance ideas of sheep and what they can tell us about personhood. The question, How to do things with texts? is perhaps less off-beat, but it here produces no less innovative answers from Tiffany Stern: not the usual explanation of how quartos differ from folios and all that, but instead pioneering textual analysis of how the language of books is used to describe staging, and, conversely, how the language of the stage can be used to describe reading. Anthony Dawson asks in what way our thinking about the nature of texts has changed in recent years and how that change affects the actual process of editing. Source study is rescued from the low estate into which it has fallen recently by three new and flexible ways of thinking about influence. Similar pairings of approaches offer delight and revelation about every topic in this engaging and highly readable book. The studies are admirably cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural. This is a companion to Shakespeare with a difference. Vive la différance!"
–David Bevington, University of Chicago

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