Despite the outpour of interpretations, from critics of all schools, on Shakespeare's dramatic works and other poetic works, A Lover's Complaint has been almost totally ignored by criticism. This collection of essays is designed to bring to the poem the attention it deserves for its beauty, its aesthetic, psychological and conceptual complexity, and its representation of its cultural moment. A series of readings of A Lover's Complaint, particularly engaging with issues of psychoanalysis and gender, the volume cumulatively builds a detailed picture of the poem, its reception, and its critical neglect. The essays in the volume, by leading Shakespeareans, open up this important text before scholars, and together generate the long-overdue critical conversation about the many intriguing facets of the poem.
'… this volume is useful as a reference tool and commendable for encouraging further critical investigations of the intriguing text of A Lover's Complaint.' Renaissance Quarterly
Contents: Introduction: Generating dialogue on Shakespeare's A Lover's Complaint, Shirley Sharon-Zisser and Stephen Whitworth; 'Deep brained sonnets' and 'tragic shows': Shakespeare's late Ovidian art in A Lover's Complaint, Patrick Cheney; A reconciled maid: A Lover's Complaint and confessional practices in early modern England, Paul Stegner; Shakespeare's exculpatory complaint, Ilona Bell; Unfinished business: A Lover's Complaint and Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and The Rape of Lucrece, John Roe; 'He had the dialect and different skill': authorizers in Henry V, A Lover's Complaint and Othello, Heather Dubrow; 'Honey words': A Lover's Complaint and the fine art of seduction, James Schiffer; Rhetoric and perverse desire in A Lover's Complaint, Jon Harned; 'Where excess begs all': Shakespeare, Freud, and the diacritics of melancholy, Stephen Whitworth; 'True to bondage': the rhetorical forms of female masochism in A Lover's Complaint, Shirley Sharon-Zisser; Bibliography; Index.