Othello and the Tragedy of Mariam

ISBN-10: 0321096991

ISBN-13: 9780321096999

Edition: 2003

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Book details

List price: $23.20
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Longman Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/24/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.748
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.

Elizabeth Cary (1585-1639) was an English poet, translator and dramatist. She is best known today for The Tragedy of Mariam (1613), the first original play in English known to have been written by a woman. Over her lifetime, she married Sir Henry Cary, and had eleven children by him. Disinherited by her father for using her own income to defray household expenses, she was later abandoned by her husband when she converted to Catholicism. She would spend much of the rest of her life battling for custody of her sons and daughters.

David Damrosch is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of "The Narrative Covenant" and "We Scholars: Changing the Culture of the University" and the general editor of "The Longman Anthology of British Literature".

List of Illustrations
About Longman Cultural Editions
About this Edition
Table of Dates
Introduction to Shakespeare
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
Introduction to Elizabeth Cary
The Tragedy of Mariam, Fair Queen of Jewry
Narrative Sources for Othello and Tragedy of Mariam
Giambattista Giraldi Cinthio, from Gli Hecatommithi (1565)
The Antiquities of the Jews, trans. Thomas Lodge (1602)
The Wars of the Jews, trans. Thomas Lodge (1602)
Othello in Context: Ethnography in the Literature of Travel and Colonization
Decades of the New World, trans. Richard Eden (1555)
Pliny the Elder, from The History of the World, trans. (1601)
Leo Africanus, from A Geographical History of Africa, trans. (1600)
A View of the Present State of Ireland (written 1596, first published 1633)
The General History of Virginia, New England and the Summer Isles (1624)
The Tragedy of Mariam in Context: Tracts on Marriage
From The Second Tome of Homilies (1563): "The Sermon of the State of Matrimony."
A Brief and Pleasant Discourse of Duties in Marriage, Called the Flower of Friendship (1563)
From A Godly Form of Household Government (1598)
Christian Economy, trans. Thomas Pickering (1609)
A Bride-Bush, or A Wedding Sermon: compendiously describing the duties of married persons (1617)
An excerpt from the First Biography of Elizabeth Cary
From The Life of the Lady Falkland, by one of her daughters (written 1643-49; manuscript copied 1655.)
For Further Reading
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