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Home > Catalog > Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist
Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist


  • 12 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 300 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.456 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521045667)

  • There was also a Hardback of this title but it is no longer available
  • Published December 2007

Replaced by 9781107685062


Lukas Erne argues in this study that Shakespeare, apart from being a playwright who wrote theatrical texts for the stage, was also a literary dramatist who produced reading texts for publication. Contrary to a long-standing consensus, Shakespeare does not seem to have been opposed, or indifferent, to the publication of his plays, and he pursued a policy of trying to get them published. Accordingly, Shakespeare's long play texts survive in a literary format that would have required shortening before they reached the stage.


List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. Publication: 1. The legitimation of printed playbooks in Shakespeare's time; 2. The making of 'Shakespeare'; 3. Shakespeare and the publication of his plays (I): the late sixteenth century; 4. Shakespeare and the publication of his plays (II): the early seventeenth century; 5. The players' alleged opposition to print; Part II. Texts: 6. Why size matters: 'the two hours' traffic of our stage' and the length of Shakespeare's plays; 7. Editorial policy and the length of Shakespeare's plays; 8. 'Bad' quartos and their origins: Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, and Hamlet; 9. Theatricality, literariness and the texts of Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, and Hamlet; Appendix A: the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in print, 1584–1623; Appendix B: Heminge and Condell's 'Stolne, and surreptitious copies' and the Pavier quartos; Appendix C: Shakespeare and the circulation of dramatic manuscripts; Select bibliography; Index.


"It may seem crazy that a man has to sit down and write an exceedingly learned book to prove that Shakespeare is literature. But I must say I found this mustered evidence and these arguments completely gripping."
- New York Review of Books, James Fenton

"One of the best books this year.... Erne achieves nothing less than the complete undoing of our understanding of Shakespeare as author."
- Studies in English Literature

"Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist is an unusually lively and provocative book exploring the status of printed drama in Shakespeare's England. Erne forces a welcome rethinking of many of the most confidently held assumptions about early modern literary culture, as he powerfully re-examines the interests of theatre companies, the operations of the book trade, the activities of early readers, and, perhaps most consequentially, Shakespeare's own literary understanding and ambitions."
- David Kastan, Columbia University

"This is an ambitious book which convincingly rewrites theatre history, textual criticism, and the relation between the two. Of interest to all scholars of Shakespeare and Renaissance drama, the argument shows Erne to be as fine a literary critic as he is a textual scholar and theatre historian. This is essential reading for all Renaissance graduate courses, for those who care about the workings of the Elizabethan theatre and the book trade, and for those who are interested in the evolution of literary status and authorship."
- Laurie Maguire, Magdalen College, Oxford University

"Lukas Erne's Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist is a book for the new century. Erne shows decisively that Shakespeare and his acting companies produced playtexts for both performance and publication, on stage and on page, for the playhouse and the printing house. Thus, Erne's Shakespeare is precisely a man of the theater who became a literary dramatist, at once concerned with the next perfomance and his own literary reputation. Lucidly cast and carefully researched, this book will be an important study in the ongoing attempt to recover the original historical conditions under which Shakespeare's plays were written, performed, and printed."
- Patrick Cheney, Penn State University

"Anyone who has suspected that Shakespeare wrote for the page as well as the stage will want to read this eloquent and convincing book. Lukas Erne has worked through a mountain of evidence, thoughtfully and thoroughly. to reconsider the received idea that Shakespeare was indifferent to the survival of his work."
- Ruth More, Univ. de Paris VII

"One of the most fascinating, thought-provoking, and lucid studies of Shakespeare I can remember reading."
- Ben Jonson Journal

"An important book for students of Elizabethan drama. highly recommended."
- Choice

"...a bold, provocative study..."
- Sixteenth Century Journal, Lois Kim, University of Texas at Austin

"Thoroughly researched, coherent, and clear, Erne's book is a solid work of scholarship; it exemplifies the fruitful marriage of the historicist method and the Shakespearean text."
- Renaissance Quarterly, Julie Keenan

"Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist is an elegant and subtly conceived peice of work. Its arguments are well constructed and compelling and Erne writes with great lucidity and persuasiveness. The book is ambitious in its scope and offers arguments that should fundamentally change the way in which we conceive of Renaissance textuality and theatrical practice. It lays the foundations for an exciting new program of research within the field of Renaissance studies."
- Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England

"This is a fine and useful book, generous in matter and manner, that will certainly change our future discourse about dramatic texts and about Shakespeare. "
Modern Philology Richard Knowles

"Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist is intelligently argued, impeccably researched, and accesibly written. Whether a performance specialist, textual scholar, cultural historian, or interested general reader, if you find time to read only one book on Shakespeare's drama from cover to cover this year, this should be the one." Essays in Theatre Margaret Jane Kidnie, University of Western Ontario

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