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Anecdotal Shakespeare


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Table of Contents

Preface: Curtain Raiser; Introduction: Anecdotal Shakespeare; 1. Hamlet: Skulls are good to think with; 2. Othello: The Smudge; 3. Romeo and Juliet: Central Casting; 4, Richard III: Oedipus Text; 5. Macbeth: An Embarrassment of Witches; Coda: Archives and Anecdotes; Index

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A unique study of Shakespeare in performance using theatrical anecdote as a valid source of accessing and understanding the plays' history in the theatre.

About the Author

Paul Menzer is Professor and Director of the Mary Baldwin College Shakespeare and Performance programme, Mary Baldwin College, USA


[Menzer] has carried out considerable research to present detailed analysis of anecdotes surrounding five of Shakespeare's most high-profile plays ... Quirky ... [and] enjoyable. * British Theatre Guide *
How does Menzer establish this grand reading of idle words on plays? Mostly through plays on words. Menzer is a writer sure never to shun a pun or fail to say oui to a bon mot. ... The narrative calls attention to the act of impersonation, the doubled reality of the stage. -- Alexi Sargeant * First Things *
Popular writers such as Augusten Burroughs, Chuck Klosterman, David Sedaris, as well as academics like Judith Pascoe, are reinvigorating the essay form into something both thoughtful, friendly, informal, anecdotal, and pleasurable. That Menzer can be added to the list is a real boon to Shakespeare studies. His mastery of tone shows a real engagement with the stage that you just don't see much of anymore ... Menzer's voice is throughout confessional, fresh, funny, and good-natured ... What Menzer has done here is a marvelous achievement, so out of step with jargon and yet not at all idiosyncratic. It is, I think, an important stylistic turn in academia, one that personalizes the author, conveys the mystery and wonder of theater, and deepens the imaginative capacities of readers. * Shakespeare Newsletter *
The prose style is one of the most distinctive things about the book-lively, witty, belletristic, even chummy. Puns, alliteration, and sly allusions abound ... The value of the book derives less from its theoretical orientation or any particular facts it delivers than from the way it encourages us to rethink the value of anecdotes ... Anecdotal Shakespeare is an engaging and thought-provoking work. * Theatre Survey *

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