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William Shakeseare



НазваниеWilliam Shakeseare
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William Shakeseare


Shakespeare the man LIFEAlthough the amount of factual knowledge available about Shakespeare issurprisingly large for one of his station in life, many find it a littledisappointing, for it is mostly gleaned from documents of an officialcharacter. Dates of baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials; wills,conveyances, legal processes, and payments by the court--these are thedusty details. There are, however, a fair number of contemporaryallusions to him as a writer, and these add a reasonable amount of fleshand blood to the biographical skeleton. Early life in StratfordThe parish register of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon,Warwickshire, shows that he was baptized there on April 26, 1564; hisbirthday is traditionally celebrated on April 23. His father, JohnShakespeare, was a burgess of the borough, who in 1565 was chosen analderman and in 1568 bailiff (the position corresponding to mayor, beforethe grant of a further charter to Stratford in 1664). He was engaged invarious kinds of trade and appears to have suffered some fluctuations inprosperity. His wife, Mary Arden, of Wilmcote, Warwickshire, came from anancient family and was the heiress to some land. (Given the somewhatrigid social distinctions of the 16th century, this marriage must havebeen a step up the social scale for John Shakespeare.)Stratford enjoyed a grammar school of good quality, and the educationthere was free, the schoolmaster's salary being paid by the borough. Nolists of the pupils who were at the school in the 16th century havesurvived, but it would be absurd to suppose the bailiff of the town didnot send his son there. The boy's education would consist mostly of Latinstudies--learning to read, write, and speak the language fairly well andstudying some of the classical historians, moralists, and poets.Shakespeare did not go on to the university, and indeed it is unlikelythat the tedious round of logic, rhetoric, and other studies thenfollowed there would have interested him.Instead, at the age of 18 he married. Where and exactly when are notknown, but the episcopal registry at Worcester preserves a bond datedNovember 28, 1582, and executed by two yeomen of Stratford, namedSandells and Richardson, as a security to the bishop for the issue of alicense for the marriage of William Shakespeare and "Anne Hathaway ofStratford," upon the consent of her friends and upon once asking of thebanns. (Anne died in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare. There is goodevidence to associate her with a family of Hathaways who inhabited abeautiful farmhouse, now much visited, two miles from Stratford.) Thenext date of interest is found in the records of the Stratford church,where a daughter, named Susanna, born to William Shakespeare, wasbaptized on May 26, 1583. On February 2, 1585, twins were baptized,Hamnet and Judith. (The boy Hamnet, Shakespeare's only son, died 11 yearslater.)How Shakespeare spent the next eight years or so, until his name beginsto appear in London theatre records, is not known. There are stories--given currency long after his death--of stealing deer and getting intotrouble with a local magnate, Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, nearStratford; of earning his living as a schoolmaster in the country; ofgoing to London and gaining entry to the world of theatre by minding thehorses of theatregoers; it has also been conjectured that Shakespearespent some time as a member of a great household and that he was asoldier, perhaps in the Low Countries. In lieu of external evidence, suchextrapolations about Shakespeare's life have often been made from theinternal "evidence" of his writings. But this method is unsatisfactory:one cannot conclude, for example, from his allusions to the law thatShakespeare was a lawyer; for he was clearly a writer, who withoutdifficulty could get whatever knowledge he needed for the composition ofhis plays. Career in the theatreThe first reference to Shakespeare in the literary world of London comesin 1592, when a fellow dramatist, Robert Greene, declared in a pamphletwritten on his deathbed:There is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with hisTygers heart wrapt in a Players hide supposes he is as well able tobombast out a blank verse as the best of you; and, being an absoluteJohannes Factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in acountry.It is difficult to be certain what these words mean; but it is clear thatthey are insulting and that Shakespeare is the object of the sarcasms.When the book in which they appear (Greenes groats-worth of witte, boughtwith a million of repentance, 1592) was published after Greene's death, amutual acquaintance wrote a preface offering an apology to Shakespeareand testifying to his worth. This preface also indicates that Shakespearewas by then making important friends. For, although the puritanical cityof London was generally hostile to the theatre, many of the nobility weregood patrons of the drama and friends of actors. Shakespeare seems tohave attracted the attention of the young Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd earlof Southampton; and to this nobleman were dedicated his first publishedpoems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.One striking piece of evidence that Shakespeare began to prosper earlyand tried to retrieve the family fortunes and establish its gentility isthe fact that a coat of arms was granted to John Shakespeare in 1596.Rough drafts of this grant have been preserved in the College of Arms,London, though the final document, which must have been handed to theShakespeares, has not survived. It can scarcely be doubted that it wasWilliam who took the initiative and paid the fees. The coat of armsappears on Shakespeare's monument (constructed before 1623) in theStratford church. Equally interesting as evidence of Shakespeare'sworldly success was his purchase in 1597 of New Place, a large house inStratford, which as a boy he must have passed every day in walking toschool.It is not clear how his career in the theatre began; but from about 1594onward he was an important member of the company of players known as theLord Chamberlain’s Men (called the King's Men after the accession ofJames I in 1603). They had the best actor, Richard Burbage; they had thebest theatre, the Globe; they had the best dramatist, Shakespeare. It isno wonder that the company prospered. Shakespeare became a full-timeprofessional man of his own theatre, sharing in a cooperative enterpriseand intimately concerned with the financial success of the plays hewrote.Unfortunately, written records give little indication of the way in whichShakespeare's professional life molded his marvellous artistry. All thatcan be deduced is that for 20 years Shakespeare devoted himselfassiduously to his art, writing more than a million words of poetic dramaof the highest quality. Private lifeShakespeare had little contact with officialdom, apart from walking--dressed in the royal livery as a member of the King's Men--at thecoronation of King James I in 1604. He continued to look after hisfinancial interests. He bought properties in London and in Stratford. In1605 he purchased a share (about one-fifth) of the Stratford tithes--afact that explains why he was eventually buried in the chancel of itsparish church. For some time he lodged with a French Huguenot familycalled Mountjoy, who lived near St. Olave's Church, Cripplegate, London.The records of a lawsuit in May 1612, due to a Mountjoy family quarrel,show Shakespeare as giving evidence in a genial way (though unable toremember certain important facts that would have decided the case) and asinteresting himself generally in the family's affairs.No letters written by Shakespeare have survived, but a private letter tohim happened to get caught up with some official transactions of the townof Stratford and so has been preserved in the borough archives. It waswritten by one Richard Quiney and addressed by him from the Bell Inn inCarter Lane, London, whither he had gone from Stratford upon business. Onone side of the paper is inscribed: "To my loving good friend andcountryman, Mr. Wm. Shakespeare, deliver these." Apparently Quineythought his fellow Stratfordian a person to whom he could apply for theloan of 30--a large sum in Elizabethan money. Nothing further is knownabout the transaction, but, because so few opportunities of seeing intoShakespeare's private life present themselves, this begging letterbecomes a touching document. It is of some interest, moreover, that 18years later Quiney's son Thomas became the husband of Judith,Shakespeare's second daughter.Shakespeare's will (made on March 25, 1616) is a long and detaileddocument. It entailed his quite ample property on the male heirs of hiselder daughter, Susanna. (Both his daughters were then married, one tothe aforementioned Thomas Quiney and the other to John Hall, a respectedphysician of Stratford.) As an afterthought, he bequeathed his "second-best bed" to his wife; but no one can be certain what this notoriouslegacy means. The testator's signatures to the will are apparently in ashaky hand. Perhaps Shakespeare was already ill. He died on April 23,1616. No name was inscribed on his gravestone in the chancel of theparish church of Stratford-upon-Avon. Instead these lines, possibly hisown, appeared:Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbearTo dig the dust enclosed here.Blest be the man that spares these stones,And curst be he that moves my bones. EARLY POSTHUMOUS DOCUMENTATIONShakespeare's family or friends, however, were not content with a simplegravestone, and, within a few years, a monument was erected on thechancel wall. It seems to have existed by 1623. Its epitaph, written inLatin and inscribed immediately below the bust, attributes to Shakespearethe worldly wisdom of Nestor, the genius of Socrates, and the poetic artof Virgil. This apparently was how his contemporaries in Stratford-upon-Avon wished their fellow citizen to be remembered. CHRONOLOGY OF SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYSDespite much scholarly argument, it is often impossible to date a givenplay precisely. But there is a general consensus, especially for playswritten 1585-1601, 1605-07, and 1609 onward. The following list of firstperformances is based on external and internal evidence, on generalstylistic and thematic considerations, and on the observation that anoutput of no more than two plays a year seems to have been established inthose periods when dating is rather clearer than others.1589-92 Henry VI, Part I; Henry VI, Part III; Henry VI, Part III1592-93 Richard III, The Comedy of Errors1593-94 Titus Andronicus, The Taming of the Shrew1594-95 The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Romeo andJuliet1595-96 Richard II, аMidsummer Night’s Dream1596-97 King John, The Merchant of Venice1597-98 Henry IV, Part I; Henry IV, Part II1598-99 Much Ado About Nothingc. 1599 Henry V1599-1600 Julius Caesar, As You Like It,1600-01 Hamlet, The Merry Wives of Windsor1601-02 Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida1602-03 All’s Well That Ends Well1604-05 Measure For Measure, Othello1605-06 King Lear, Macbeth1606-07 Antony and Cleopatra1607-08 Coriolanus, Timon of Athens1608-09 Pericles1609-10 Cymbeline1610-11 The Winter’s Talec. 1611 The Tempest1612-13 Henry VIII, The Two Noble KinsmenShakespeare's two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape ofLucrece, can be dated with certainty to the years when the Plague stoppeddramatic performances in London, in 1592 and 1593-94, respectively, justbefore their publication. But the sonnets offer many and variousproblems; they cannot have been written all at one time, and mostscholars set them within the period 1593-1600. "The Phoenix and theTurtle" can be dated 1600-01. PUBLICATIONDuring Shakespeare's early career, dramatists invariably sold their playsto an actor's company, who then took charge of them, prepared workingpromptbooks, and did their best to prevent another company or a publisherfrom getting copies; in this way they could exploit the plays themselvesfor as long as they drew an audience. But some plays did get published,usually in small books called quartos. Occasionally plays were "pirated,"the text being dictated by one or two disaffected actors from the companythat had performed it or else made up from shorthand notes takensurreptitiously during performance and subsequently corrected duringother performances; parts 2 and 3 of the Henry VI (1594 and 1595) andHamlet (1603) quartos are examples of pirated, or "bad," texts. Sometimesan author's "foul papers" (his first complete draft) or his "fair" copy--or a transcript of either of these--got into a publisher's hands, and"good quartos" were printed from them, such as those of Titus Andronicus(1594), Love's Labour's Lost (1598), and Richard II (1597). After thepublication of "bad" quartos of Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet (1597), theChamberlain's Men probably arranged for the release of the "foul papers"so that second--"good"--quartos could supersede the garbled versionsalready on the market. This company had powerful friends at court, and in1600 a special order was entered in the Stationers' Register to "stay"the publication of As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry V,possibly in order to assure that good texts were available. SubsequentlyHenry V (1600) was pirated, and Much Ado About Nothing was printed from"foul papers"; As You Like It did not appear in print until it wasincluded in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories & Tragedies,published in folio (the reference is to the size of page) by a syndicatein 1623 (later editions appearing in 1632 and 1663).The only precedent for such a collected edition of public theatre playsin a handsome folio volume was Ben Jonson's collected plays of 1616.Shakespeare's folio included 36 plays, 22 of them appearing for the firsttime in a good text. (For the Third Folio reissue of 1664, Pericles wasadded from a quarto text of 1609, together with six apocryphal plays.)The First Folio texts were prepared by John Heminge and Henry Condell(two of Shakespeare's fellow sharers in the Chamberlain's, now theKing's, Men), who made every effort to present the volume worthily. Onlyabout 230 copies of the First Folio are known to have survived.The following list gives details of plays first published individuallyand indicates the authority for each substantive edition. Q stands forQuarto: Q2, Q3, Q4, etc., stand for reprints of an original quarto. Fstands for the First Folio edition of 1623.Henry VI, Part 2 Q 1594: a reported text. F from revised fair copies,edited with reference to Q.Titus Andronicus Q 1594: from foul papers. F from a copy of Q, withadditions from a manuscript that had been used as a promptbook.Henry VI, Part 3 Q 1595: a reported text. F as for Henry VI, Part 2.Richard III Q 1597: a reconstructed text prepared for use as apromptbook. F from reprints of Q, edited with reference to foul papersand containing some 200 additional lines.Love's Labour's Lost Q is lost. Q2 1598: from foul papers, and badlyprinted. F from Q2.Romeo and Juliet Q 1597: a reported text. Q2 from foul papers, with somereference to Q. F from a reprint of Q2.Richard II Q 1597: from foul papers and missing the abdication scene. Q41608, with reported version of missing scene. F from reprints of Q, butthe abdication scene from an authoritative manuscript, probably thepromptbook (of which traces appear elsewhere in F).Henry IV, Part 1 Q 1598: from foul papers. F from Q5, with some literaryediting.аMidsummer Night's Dream Q 1600: from the author's fair copy. F from Q2,with some reference to a promptbook.The Merchant of Venice Q 1600: from foul papers. F from Q, with somereference to a promptbook.Henry IV, Part 2 Q 1600: from foul papers. F from Q, with reference to apromptbook.Much Ado About Nothing Q 1600: from the author's fair papers. F from Q,with reference to a promptbook.Henry V Q 1600: a reported text. F from foul papers (possibly of a secondversion of the play).The Merry Wives of Windsor Q 1602: a reported (and abbreviated) text. Ffrom a transcript, by Ralph Crane (scrivener of the King's Men), of arevised promptbook.Hamlet Q 1603: a reported text, with reference to an earlier play. Q2from foul papers, with reference to Q. F from Q2, with reference to apromptbook, with theatrical and authorial additions.King Lear Q 1608: from an inadequate transcript of foul papers, with usemade of a reported version. F from Q, collated with a promptbook of ashortened version.Troilus and Cressida Q 1609: from a fair copy, possibly the author's. Ffrom Q, with reference to foul papers, adding 45 lines and the Prologue.Pericles Q 1609: a poor text, badly printed with both auditory andgraphic errors.Othello Q 1622: from a transcript of foul papers. F from Q, withcorrections from another authorial version of the play.The plays published for the first time in the First Folio of 1623 are:All's Well That Ends Well From the author's fair papers, or a transcriptof them.Antony and Cleopatra From an authorial fair copy.Henry VI, Part 1As You Like It From a promptbook, or a transcript of it.The Comedy of Errors From foul papers.Coriolanus From an authorial fair copy, edited for the printer.Cymbeline From an authorial copy, or a transcript of such, imperfectlyprepared as a promptbook.Henry VIII From a transcript of a fair copy, made by the author, preparedfor reading.Julius Caesar From a transcript of a promptbook.King John From an authorial fair copy.Macbeth From a promptbook of a version prepared for court performance.Measure for Measure From a transcript, by Ralph Crane, of very imperfectfoul papers.The Taming of the Shrew From foul papers.The Tempest From an edited transcript, by Ralph Crane, of the author'spapers.Timon of Athens From foul papers, probably unfinished.Twelfth Night From a promptbook, or a transcript of it.The Two Gentlemen of Verona From a transcript, by Ralph Crane, of apromptbook, probably of a shortened version.The Winter's Tale From a transcript, by Ralph Crane, probably from theauthor's fair copy.The texts of Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594) areremarkably free from errors. Shakespeare presumably furnished a fair copyof each for the printer. He also seems to have read the proofs. Thesonnets were published in 1609, but there is no evidence that Shakespeareoversaw their publication. POETIC AND DRAMATIC POWERS The early poemsShakespeare dedicated the poem Venus and Adonis to his patron, HenryWriothesley, 3rd earl of Southampton, whom he further promised to honourwith "some graver labour"--perhaps The Rape of Lucrece, which appeared ayear later and was also dedicated to Southampton. As these two poems weresomething on which Shakespeare was intending to base his reputation withthe public and to establish himself with his patron, they were displaysof his virtuosity--diploma pieces. They were certainly the most popularof his writings with the reading public and impressed them with hispoetic genius. Seven editions of Venus and Adonis had appeared by 1602and 16 by 1640; Lucrece, a more serious poem, went through eight editionsby 1640; and there are numerous allusions to them in the literature ofthe time. But after that, until the 19th century, they were littleregarded. Even then the critics did not know what to make of them: on theone hand, Venus and Adonis is licentiously erotic (though its sensualityis often rather comic); while Lucrece may seem to be tragic enough, thetreatment of the poem is yet somewhat cold and distant. In both cases thepoet seems to be displaying dexterity rather than being "sincere." ButShakespeare's detachment from his subjects has come to be admired in morerecent assessments.Above all, the poems give evidence for the growth of Shakespeare'simagination. Venus and Adonis is full of vivid imagery of thecountryside; birds, beasts, the hunt, the sky, and the weather, theoverflowing Avon--these give freshness to the poem and contrast strangelywith the sensuous love scenes. Lucrece is more rhetorical and elaboratethan Venus and Adonis and also aims higher. Its disquisitions (uponnight, time, opportunity, and lust, for example) anticipate brilliantspeeches on general themes in the plays--on mercy in The Merchant ofVenice, suicide in Hamlet, and "degree" in Troilus and Cressida.There are a few other poems attributed to Shakespeare. When the Sonnetswere printed in 1609, a 329-line poem, "аLovers complaint," was added atthe end of the volume, plainly ascribed by the publisher to Shakespeare.There has been a good deal of discussion about the authorship of thispoem. Only the evidence of style, however, could call into question thepublisher's ascription, and this is conflicting. Parts of the poem andsome lines are brilliant, but other parts seem poor in a way that is notlike Shakespeare's careless writing. Its narrative structure isremarkable, however, and the poem deserves more attention than it usuallyreceives. It is now generally thought to be from Shakespeare's pen,possibly an early poem revised by him at a more mature stage of hispoetical style. Whether the poem in its extant form is later or earlierthan Venus and Adonis and Lucrece cannot be decided. No one could doubtthe authenticity of "The Phoenix and the Turtle," a 67-line poem thatappeared with other "poetical essays" (by John Marston, George Chapman,and Ben Jonson) appended to Robert Chester's poem Loves Martyr in 1601.The poem is attractive and memorable, but very obscure, partly because ofits style and partly because it contains allusions to real persons andsituations whose identity can now only be guessed at. The sonnetsIn 1609 appeared SHAKESPEARES SONNETS. Never before Imprinted. At thisdate Shakespeare was already a successful author, a country gentleman,and an affluent member of the most important theatrical enterprise inLondon. How long before 1609 the sonnets were written is unknown. Thephrase "never before imprinted" may imply that they had existed for sometime but were now at last printed. Two of them (nos. 138 and 144) had infact already appeared (in a slightly different form) in an anthology, ThePassionate Pilgrime (1599). Shakespeare had certainly written somesonnets by 1598, for in that year Francis Meres, in a "survey" ofliterature, made reference to "his sugared sonnets among his privatefriends," but whether these "sugared sonnets" were those eventuallypublished in 1609 cannot be ascertained--Shakespeare may have writtenother sets of sonnets, now lost. Nevertheless, the sonnets included inThe Passionate Pilgrime are among his most striking and mature, so it islikely that most of the 154 sonnets that appeared in the 1609 printingbelong to Shakespeare's early 30s rather than to his 40s--to the timewhen he was writing Richard II and Romeo and Juliet rather than when hewas writing King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra. But, of course, some ofthem may belong to any year of Shakespeare's life as a poet before 1609. The early playsAlthough the record of Shakespeare's early theatrical success is obscure,clearly the newcomer soon made himself felt. His brilliant two-part playon the Wars of the Roses, The Whole Contention between the two FamousHouses, Lancaster and Yorke, was among his earliest achievements. Heshowed, in The Comedy of Errors, how hilariously comic situations couldbe shot through with wonder and sentiment. In Titus Andronicus he scoreda popular success with tragedy in the high Roman fashion. The TwoGentlemen of Verona was a new kind of romantic comedy. The world hasnever ceased to enjoy The Taming of the Shrew. Love’s Labour’s Lost is anexperiment in witty and satirical observation of society. Romeo andJuliet combines and interconnects a tragic situation with comedy andgaiety. All this represents the probable achievement of Shakespeare'sfirst half-dozen years as a writer for the London stage, perhaps by thetime he had reached 30. It shows astonishing versatility and originality. The historiesFor his plays on subjects from English history, Shakespeare primarilydrew upon Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles, which appeared in 1587, and onEdward Hall's earlier account of The union of the two noble and illustrefamelies of Lancastre and York (1548). From these and numerous secondarysources he inherited traditional themes: the divine right of royalsuccession, the need for unity and order in the realm, the evil ofdissension and treason, the cruelty and hardship of war, the power ofmoney to corrupt, the strength of family ties, the need for humanunderstanding and careful calculation, and the power of God's providence,which protected his followers, punished evil, and led England toward thestability of Tudor rule. The Roman playsAfter the last group of English history plays, Shakespeare chose to writeabout Julius Caesar, who held particular fascination for theElizabethans. Then, for six or seven years Shakespeare did not return toa Roman theme, but, after completing Macbeth and King Lear, he again usedThomas North's translation of Plutarch as a source for two more Romanplays, Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, both tragedies that seem asmuch concerned to depict the broad context of history as to presenttragic heroes. The "great," or "middle," comediesThe comedies written between 1596 and 1602 have much in common and are aswell considered together as individually. With the exception of The MerryWives of Windsor, all are set in some "imaginary" country. Whether calledIllyria, Messina, Venice and Belmont, Athens, or the Forest of Arden, thesun shines as the dramatist wills. а lioness, snakes, magic caskets,fairy spells, identical twins, disguise of sex, the sudden conversion ofa tyrannous duke or the defeat offstage of a treacherous brother can allchange the course of the plot and bring the characters to a conclusion inwhich almost all are happy and just deserts are found. Lovers are youngand witty and almost always rich. The action concerns wooing; and itsconclusion is marriage, beyond which the audience is scarcely concerned.Whether Shakespeare's source was an Italian novel (The Merchant of Veniceand Much Ado About Nothing), an English pastoral tale (As You Like It),an Italian comedy (the Malvolio story in Twelfth Night), or something ofhis own invention (probably а Midsummer Night’s Dream, and parts ofeach), always in his hands story and sentiments are instinct withidealism and capable of magic transformations.In some ways these are intellectual plays. Each comedy has a multipleplot and moves from one set of characters to another, between whomShakespeare invites his audience to seek connections and explanations.Despite very different classes of people (or immortals) in differentstrands of the narrative, the plays are unified by Shakespeare'sidealistic vision and by an implicit judgment of human relationships, andall their characters are brought together--with certain significantexceptions--at, or near, the end. The great tragediesIt is a usual and reasonable opinion that Shakespeare's greatness isnowhere more visible than in the series of tragedies--Hamlet, Othello,King Lear and Macbeth. Julius Caesar, which was written before these, andAntony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, which were written after, have manylinks with the four. But, because of their rather strict relationshipwith the historical materials, they are best dealt with in a group bythemselves. Timon of Athens, probably written after the above-named sevenplays, shows signs of having been unfinished or abandoned by Shakespeare.It has its own splendours but has rarely been considered equal inachievement to the other tragedies of Shakespeare's maturity. The "dark" comediesBefore the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603 the country was ill atease: the House of Commons became more outspoken about monopolies androyal prerogative, and uncertainty about the succession to the thronemade the future of the realm unsettled. In 1603 the Plague again struckLondon, closing the theatres. In 1601 Shakespeare's patron, the Earl ofSouthampton, was arrested on charges of treason; he was subsequentlyreleased, but such scares did not betoken confidence in the new reign.About Shakespeare's private reaction to these events there can be onlyspeculation, but three of the five plays usually assigned to theseyears—Troilus and Cressida,, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure forMeasure, --have become known as "dark" comedies for their distemperedvision of the world. Only during the 20th century have these plays beenfrequently performed in anything like Shakespeare's texts, an indicationthat their questioning, satiric, intense, and shifting comedy could notplease earlier audiences. The late playsPericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest and Henry VIII,written between 1608 and 1612, are commonly known as Shakespeare's "lateplays," or his "last plays," and sometimes, with reference to theirtragicomic form, they are called his "romances." Works written by anauthor in his 40s hardly deserve to be classified as "late" in anycritical sense, yet these plays are often discussed as if they had beenwritten by a venerable old author, tottering on the edge of a well-earnedgrave. On the contrary, Shakespeare must have believed that plenty ofwriting years lay before him, and indeed the theatrical effectiveness andexperimental nature of Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest inparticular make them very unlike the fatigued work of a writer about tobreak his staff and drown his book. The contribution of textual criticismThe early editors of Shakespeare saw their task chiefly as one ofcorrection and regularization of the faulty printing and imperfect textsof the original editions or their reprints. Many changes in the text ofthe quartos and folios that are now accepted derive from Nicholas Rowe(1709) and Alexander Pope (1723-25), but these editors also introducedmany thousands of small changes that have since been rejected. Later inthe 18th century, editors compiled collations of alternative and rejectedreadings. Samuel Johnson (1765), Edward Capell (1767-68), and EdmundMalone (1790) were notable pioneers. Their work reached its mostcomprehensive form in the Cambridge edition in nine volumes by W.G.Clark, J. Glover, and W.A. Wright, published in 1863-66. а famous one-volume Globe edition of 1864 was based on this Cambridge text. Romeo and Julietplay by William Shakespeare, performed about 1594-95 and first publishedin a "bad" quarto in 1597. The characters of Romeo and Juliet have beendepicted in literature, music, dance, and theatre. The appeal of theyoung hero and heroine--whose families, the Montagues and Capulets,respectively, are implacable enemies--is such that they have become, inthe popular imagination, the representative type of star-crossed lovers.Shakespeare's principal source for the plot was The Tragicall Historye ofRomeus and Juliet (1562), a long narrative poem by the English poetArthur Broke (d. 1563). Broke had based his poem on a French translationof a tale by the Italian Matteo Bandello (1485-1561).Shakespeare set the scene in Verona, Italy, during July. Juliet and Romeomeet and fall instantly in love at a masked ball of the Capulets andprofess their love when Romeo later visits her at her private balcony inher family's home. Because the two noble families are enemies, the coupleis married secretly by Friar Laurence. When Tybald, a Capulet, killsRomeo's friend Mercutio in a quarrel, Romeo kills Tybalt and is banishedto Mantua. Juliet's father insists on her marrying Count Paris, andJuliet goes to consult the friar. He gives her a potion that will makeher appear to be dead and proposes that she take it and that Romeo rescueher; she complies. Unaware of the friar's scheme, Romeo returns to Veronaon hearing of Juliet's apparent death. He encounters Paris, kills him,and finds Juliet in the burial vault. There he gives her a last kiss andkills himself with poison. Juliet awakens, sees the dead Romeo, and killsherself. The families learn what has happened and end their feud.The most complex of Shakespeare's early plays, Romeo and Juliet is farmore than "a play of young love" or "the world's typical love-tragedy."Weaving together a large number of related impressions and judgments, itis as much about hate as love. It tells of a family and its home as wellas a feud and a tragic marriage. The public life of Verona and theprivate lives of the Veronese make up the setting for the love of Julietand Romeo and provide the background against which their love can beassessed. It is not the deaths of the lovers that conclude the play butthe public revelation of what has happened, with the admonitions of thePrince and the reconciliation of the two families.Shakespeare enriched an already old story by surrounding the guilelessmutual passion of Romeo and Juliet with the mature bawdry of the othercharacters--the Capulet servants Sampson and Gregory open the play withtheir fantasies of exploits with the Montague women; the tongues of theNurse and Mercutio are seldom free from sexual matters--but the innocenceof the lovers is unimpaired.Romeo and Juliet made a strong impression on contemporary audiences. Itwas also one of Shakespeare's first plays to be pirated; a very bad textappeared in 1597. Detestable though it is, this version does derive froma performance of the play, and a good deal of what was seen on stage wasrecorded. Two years later another version of the play appeared, issued bya different, more respectable publisher, and this is essentially the playknown today, for the printer was working from a manuscript fairly closeto Shakespeare's own. Yet in neither edition did Shakespeare's nameappear on the title page, and it was only with the publication of Love'sLabour's Lost in 1598 that publishers had come to feel that the name ofShakespeare as a dramatist, as well as the public esteem of the companyof actors to which he belonged, could make an impression on potentialpurchasers of playbooks. Bibliographies.WALTER EBISCH and LEVIN L. SCHЬCKING, аShakespeare Bibliography (1931,reprinted 1968), and a supplement for the years 1930-35 (1937, reissued1968), are comprehensive. They are updated by GORDON ROSS SMITH, AClassified Shakespeare Bibliography, 1936-1958 (1963). JAMES G.McMANAWAY, аSelective Bibliography of Shakespeare: Editions, TextualStudies, Commentary (1975), covers more than 4,500 items publishedbetween 1930 and 1970, mainly in English. LARRY S. CHAMPION, TheEssential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies,2nd ed. (1993), includes works in English published from 1900 through1984. STANLEY WELLS (ed.), Shakespeare, new ed. (1990), providesbibliographies on topics ranging from the poet to the text to theperformances. Shakespeare Quarterly publishes an annual classifiedbibliography. Shakespeare Survey (quarterly) publishes annual accounts of"Contributions to Shakespearian Study," as well as retrospective articleson work done on particular aspects. аselection of important scholarlyessays published during the previous year is collected in ShakespeareanCriticism (annual).




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