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Lectures on Shakespeare (W.H. Auden: Critical Editions)

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Lectures on Shakespeare (W.H. Auden: Critical Editions) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"W. H. Auden, poet and critic, will conduct a course on Shakespeare at the New School for Social Research beginning Wednesday. Mr. Auden has announced that in his course . . . he proposes to read all Shakespeare's plays in chronological order." The New York Times reported this item on September 27, 1946, giving notice of a rare opportunity to hear one of the century's great poets comment on one of the greatest poets of all time. Published here for the first time, these lectures now make Auden's thoughts on Shakespeare available widely.

Painstakingly reconstructed by Arthur Kirsch from the notes of students who attended, primarily Alan Ansen, who became Auden's secretary and friend, the lectures afford remarkable insights into Shakespeare's plays as well as the sonnets.

A remarkable lecturer, Auden could inspire his listeners to great feats of recall and dictation. Consequently, the poet's unique voice, often down to the precise details of his phrasing, speaks clearly and eloquently throughout this volume. In these lectures, we hear Auden alluding to authors from Homer, Dante, and St. Augustine to Kierkegaard, Ibsen, and T. S. Eliot, drawing upon the full range of European literature and opera, and referring to the day's newspapers and magazines, movies and cartoons. The result is an extended instance of the "live conversation" that Auden believed criticism to be. Notably a conversation between Auden's capacious thought and the work of Shakespeare, these lectures are also a prelude to many ideas developed in Auden's later prose--a prose in which, one critic has remarked, "all the artists of the past are alive and talking among themselves."

Reflecting the twentieth-century poet's lifelong engagement with the crowning masterpieces of English literature, these lectures add immeasurably to both our understanding of Auden and our appreciation of Shakespeare.

Synopsis:

"What Auden has to say about Shakepeare's plays is almost always interesting, for two reasons. First, he knows how to praise or dissent, and to do so with much originality; secondly, he speaks of the ideas that were shaping his own thought and work at this important moment in his career, so that this book is as much a contribution to our understanding of Auden as it is to our appreciation of Shakespeare. It is beautifully edited and should interest all readers of Shakespeare and all admirers of Auden."--Frank Kermode

"Auden's lectures on Shakespeare are a marvelous blend of steady, patient intelligence and stunning insight--spirited, free-thinking, resourceful, unintimidated, liberated from the air of treacly piety, and very, very intelligent."--Stephen Greenblatt

About the Author

Arthur Kirsch, Alice Griffin Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia, is the author of many books, including The Passions of Shakespeare's Tragic Heroes and Shakespeare and the Experience of Love, and the editor of several others.

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS vii

INTRODUCTION ix

LECTURES

Henry VI, Parts One, Two, and Three 3

Richard III 13

The Comedy of Errors and The Two Gentlemen of Verona 23

Love's Labour's Lost 33

Romeo and Juliet 44

A Midsummer Night's Dream 53

The Taming of the Shrew, King John, and Richard II 63

The Merchant of Venice 75

Sonnets 86

Henry IV, Parts One and Two, and Henry V 101

Much Ado About Nothing 113

The Merry Wives of Windsor 124

Julius Caesar 125

As You Like It 138

Twelfth Night 152

Hamlet 159

Troilus and Cressida 166

All's Well That Ends Well 181

Measure for Measure 185

Othello 195

Macbeth 208

King Lear 219

Antony and Cleopatra 231

Coriolanus 243

Tiynon of Athens 255

Pericles and Cymbeline 270

The Winter's Tale 284

The Tempest 296

Concluding Lecture 308

APPENDIX I: Auden's Saturday Discussion Classes 321

APPENDIX II: Fall Term Final Examination 341

APPENDIX III: Auden's Markings in Kittredge 347

TEXTUAL NOTES 363

INDEX 391

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691057309
Editor:
Kirsch, Arthur C.
Author:
Kirsch, Arthur C.
Author:
Auden, W. H.
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
Shakespeare
Subject:
Shakespeare, william, 1564-1616
Subject:
Criticism and interpretation
Subject:
Shakespeare, William
Subject:
Regional, Ethnic, Genre, Specific Subject
Subject:
History & Criticism *
Subject:
British literature.
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
Literature: Primary Works and Letters
Copyright:
Series:
W.H. Auden: Critical Editions
Series Volume:
no. 29
Publication Date:
20001203
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
452
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Shakespeare » Criticism

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Product details 452 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691057309 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

"What Auden has to say about Shakepeare's plays is almost always interesting, for two reasons. First, he knows how to praise or dissent, and to do so with much originality; secondly, he speaks of the ideas that were shaping his own thought and work at this important moment in his career, so that this book is as much a contribution to our understanding of Auden as it is to our appreciation of Shakespeare. It is beautifully edited and should interest all readers of Shakespeare and all admirers of Auden."--Frank Kermode

"Auden's lectures on Shakespeare are a marvelous blend of steady, patient intelligence and stunning insight--spirited, free-thinking, resourceful, unintimidated, liberated from the air of treacly piety, and very, very intelligent."--Stephen Greenblatt

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