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The Student's Guide to Shakespeare

William McKenzie

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eBook (PDF) i

An introductory guide to studying Shakespeare

This book is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the busy undergraduate studying Shakespeare. Offering detailed guidance to the plays most often taught on undergraduate courses, the volume targets the topics tutors choose for essay questions and is organised to help students find the information they need quickly. Each text discussion contains sections on sources, characters, performance, themes, language, and critical history, helping students identify the different ways of approaching a text. The book’s unique play-based structure and character-centre approach allows students to easily navigate the material. The flexibility of the design allows students to either read cover-to-cover, target a specific play, or explore elements of a narrative unit such as imagery or characterisation. The reader will gain quickly a full grasp of the kind of dramatist William Shakespeare was - and is.

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Part I: Tragedies
1. Romeo and Juliet
2. Hamlet
3. Othello
4. Macbeth
5. King Lear
6. Anthony and Cleopatra
Part II: Comedies
7. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
8. The Merchant of Venice
9. Twelfth Night, or What you will
10. Measure for Measure
Part III: Histories
11. The ‘Henriad’
12. The Henry VI trilogy and Richard III
Part IV: Late plays
13. The Winter’s Tale
14. The Tempest
Historical Chronology

About the Author

William McKenzie is Lecturer in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University. He is the co-editor of Shakespeare and I (Bloomsbury,2012) and has published on early modern melancholy, Shakespearean confession, humanist pedagogy, and Renaissance obscenity.


Fabulously useful and formidably organised and clear, William McKenzie's Guide to Shakespeare has what it takes to turn any curious and committed student into a really outstanding Shakespearean. And as well as helping you to get top marks it will give you the confidence and satisfaction of beginning to think about the most prestigious and famous writer in the world for yourself. Once you can do that, you can surely do anything--in literary studies, at any rate.

- Ewan Fernie, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham

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