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Shakespeare and the Classics
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  • Page extent: 334 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.675 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 822.3/3
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR3037 .S56 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Knowledge--Literature
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Knowledge--Greece
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Knowledge--Rome
    • Classicism--England--History--16th century
    • Classical literature--Appreciation--England

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521823456 | ISBN-10: 0521823455)

Shakespeare and the Classics demonstrates that the classics are of central importance in Shakespeare's plays and in the structure of his imagination. Written by an international team of Shakespeareans and classicists, this book investigates Shakespeare's classicism and shows how he used a variety of classical books to explore crucial areas of human experience such as love, politics, ethics and history. The book focuses on Shakespeare's favourite classical authors, especially Ovid, Virgil, Seneca, Plautus and Terence, and, in translation only, Plutarch. Attention is also paid to the humanist background and to Shakespeare's knowledge of Greek literature and culture. The final section, from the perspective of reception, examines how Shakespeare's classicism was seen and used by later writers. This accessible book offers a rounded and comprehensive treatment of Shakespeare's classicism and will be a useful first port of call for students and others approaching the subject.

• Attractively written and the most comprehensive treatment of the subject available • Sixteen contributors from the UK, the USA and Europe • Extended coverage of Shakespeare's 'less Greek' as well as his 'small Latin'


Introduction; Part I. An Initial Perspective: 1. Shakespeare and humanistic culture Colin Burrow; Part II. 'Small Latine': 2. 'Petruchio is 'Kated'': The Taming of the Shrew and Ovid Vanda Zajko; 3. Ovid's myths and the unsmooth course of love in A Midsummer Night's Dream A. B. Taylor; 4. Shakespeare's learned heroines in Ovid's schoolroom Heather James; 5. Shakespeare and Virgil Charles Martindale; 6. Shakespeare's reception of Plautus reconsidered Wolfgang Riehle; 7. Shakespeare, Plautus, and the discovery of new comic space Raphael Lyne; 8. 'Confusion now hath made his masterpiece': Senecan resonances in Macbeth Yves Peyre; 9. 'These are the only men': Seneca and monopoly in Hamlet 2.2 Erica Sheen; Part III. 'Lesse Greeke': 10. 'Character' in Plutarch and Shakespeare: Brutus, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony John Roe; 11. Plutarch, Shakespeare, and the alpha males Gordon Braden; 12. Action at a distance: Shakespeare and the Greeks A. D. Nuttall; 13. Shakespeare and Greek romance: 'Like an old tale still' Stuart Gillespie; 14. Shakespeare and Greek tragedy: strange relationship Michael Silk; Part IV. The Reception of Shakespeare's Classicism: 15. 'The English Homer': Shakespeare, Longinus, and English 'Neoclassicism' David Hopkins; 16. 'There is no end but addition': the later reception of Shakespeare's classicism Sarah Brown.


'This enriching book furnishes foundational knowledge that Shakespeare students must know. It belongs in every library's core Shakespeare holdings.' Choice

'Shakespeare and the Classics is a rich volume of essays and a valuable successor to Charles and Michelle Martindale's Shakespeare and the Uses of Antiquity (1990), and to many more specialized studies …' The Times Literary Supplement

'The volume as a whole is superbly innovative and serves as an encouraging call to other scholars - both classical and Shakespearean - to continue the work it has so auspiciously begun.' Joanna A. Giuttari, Renaissance Quarterly

'If you think that a book called Shakespeare and the Classics cannot be original or challenging, you are wrong. Charles Martindale and A. B. Taylor edit essays by various scholars, some established, some just starting out, that will set you to rethinking Seneca, Plutarch, Plautus, and others on whom Shakespeare relied … Stimulating.' Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

'This volume is a welcome addition to the Shakespearian shelf.' Dana F. Sutton, The Classical Bulletin

'Charles Martindale and A. B. Taylor's new collection of essays on Shakespeare and the classics is a welcome contribution to this new wave of scholarship by a group of critics well-known in the field … The essays … help capture the truly original characteristic of Shakespeare's imagination as it interacts with the past that nourished it. The tradition that emerges through these essays is itself a living and growing force, a conversation that continues today.' Maggie Kilgour, International Journal of the Classical Tradition


Colin Burrow, Vanda Zajko, A. B. Taylor, Heather James, Charles Martindale, Wolfgang Riehle, Raphael Lyne, Yves Peyre, Erica Sheen, John Roe, Gordon Braden, A. D. Nuttall, Stuart Gillespie, Michael Silk, David Hopkins, Sarah Brown

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