Midsummer Night's Dream Texts and Contexts

ISBN-10: 0312166214

ISBN-13: 9780312166212

Edition: 1999

Authors: William Shakespeare, Gail Kern Paster, Skiles Howard

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This edition of Shakespeare’sA Midsummer Night’s Dreamreprints the Bevington edition of the play accompanied by four sets of primary documents and illustrations thematically arranged to offer a richly textured understanding of early modern culture and Shakespeare’s work within that culture. The texts, including facsimiles of period documents, conduct literature, county records, reports of court entertainments, and Queen Elizabeth’s speeches, contextualize the play’s treatment of popular and royal festivity, communities of women (including Amazons, gossips, and nuns), marriage expectations, and the supernatural. Editorial features designed to help students read the play in light of the historical documents include an intelligent and engaging general introduction, an introduction to each thematic group of documents, thorough headnotes and glosses for the primary documents (presented in modern spelling), and an extensive bibliography.
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Book details

List price: $17.99
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: Bedford/Saint Martin's
Publication date: 1/15/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 346
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.012
Language: English

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

About The Series
About This Volume
List of Illustrations
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Edited by David Bevington)
Contextual Readings
Popular Festivals and Court Celebrations
The Rites of May
From A Survey of London
From Diary of a Resident in London
From The Anatomy of Abuses
The Ballad
The Fetching Home of May
Court Entertainments
Kenilworth and Coventry
From A Letter Descibing the Entertainment of the Queen at Kenilworth
Coventry Records of the Hock Tuesday Play
The Fairy Queen
From Entertainment at Elvetham
From The Shepheardes Calendar
The Making of Men
The Ranks of Men: William Harrison's Of Degrees of People
From The Description of England
The Formation of the Ruler: Plutarch's Life of Theseus
From The Lives of Nobles Grecians and Romans
The Formation of the Gentleman: Sir Thomas Elyot and Rodger Ascham
From The Book Named the Governor
From The Schoolmaster
Working Men
The Statute of Artificers
From The Statute of Artificers
Royal Proclaimation Regulating Chester Wages
The New Man: Simon Forman's Dreams
From The Autobiography of Simon Forman
Female Attachments and Family Ties
From The Book of the City of Ladies
From The History of the World
From The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiments of Women
Address to the Troops at Tilbury
From The Schoolhouse of Women
A Letter, Certifying the Incontinency of the Nuns of Syon
From A Maid Hating Marriage
The Virgin Queen
From Speech to Parliment on Marriage and Succession
From The Annals of Queen Elizabeth
A Poet and Her Patron
From The Description of Cooke-ham
Family Ties
From A New Catechism
From The Christian Statue of Matrimony
From Of Domestical Duties
From A Crystal Glass for Christian Women
Natural and Supernatural
Bad Weather and Dearth
From The Annals of England
Metamorphosis and Monstrosity
Ovid and Reginald Scot
From Metamorphoses, Book 14
Bestiality and Monstrosity
Prosecuting Buggery
From Calendar of Assize Records
Monsters and Prodigies
From Of Monsters and Prodigies
Fairy Belief
Collecting Fairy Lore
The Fairies' Farewell
The Mad Merry Pranks of Robin Good-fellow
ICorinthians 2:1--16
Title Page of the Quarto A Midsummer Night's Dream
Woodcuts fo City and Woods from the Roxburghe Ballasd
Morris Dancers from the WIndow of a Gentleman'a House
Maypole DAnce from Michael Drayton;s Poly-Olbion
Woodcut Illustrating the Ballas "The Crost Couple"
Queen Elizabeth I on a Hunt
The Entertainment at Elvetham
The Queen and Her Court, from Edmund Spencer's The Shepheaardes Calandar
Page from Plutarch's The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans
Title Page from A Catechism
Title Page from George Tuberville's The Noble Art of Venery
Manuscript Page from The Autobiography of SImon Forman
Lascivious and Threatening Amazons from Sir Walter Raleigh's The Discovery of Guiana
Amazons, Each with a Breast Removed, from John Bulwer's Anthropometamorphosis
Queen Elizabeth I as an Amazon
Frontispiece from Samuel Rowland's 'Tis Merry When Gossip Meet
Woodcut from Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies
Circe Transforming Ulysses' Sailor into Animals
Monster, Half-Man, Half-Pig, from Ambroise Pare's Of Monsters and Prodigies
Title Page from Robin Good-fellow, His Mad Pranks
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