First published in 1973, this book is about Shakespeare, language and drama. The first part introduces some common ideas of anthropology and linguistics into an area where they serve as a base for the discussion of usually literary matters. It attempts to link language to our experience of speech — examining its range, texture, and social functions. In part two, the author argues that in Elizabethan culture there was a greater investment in the complexities and demands of speech due to the widespread illiteracy of the time. It examines eight of Shakespeare’s plays, together with one of Ben Jonson’s, in light of their concern with various aspects of the role of spoken language in society.
Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I: Language, Culture, Drama; 1 Language as Culture 2 Gesture as Language 3 Drama as Language 4 Drama as Culture; Part II: Shakespeare; 5 Elizabethan Language, Culture, Drama 6 Love’s Labour’s Lost: rhyme against reason 7 Richard II: the word against the word 8 Hamlet: the plays on words 9 Othello, Macbeth, and Jonson’s Epicoene: the language of men 10 King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra: the language of love 11 The Tempest: speaking your language; Part III: Conclusions – New Languages for Old; 12 Drama versus Theatre; Index