In Shakespeare’s Language, Keith Johnson offers an overview of the rich and dynamic history of the reception and study of Shakespeare’s language from his death right up to the present. Tracing a chronological history of Shakespeare’s language, Keith Johnson also picks up on classic and contemporary themes, such as:
The historical approach provides a comprehensive overview, plotting the attitudes towards Shakespeare’s language, as well as a history of its study. This approach reveals how different cultural and literary trends have moulded these attitudes and reflects changing linguistic climates; the book also includes a chapter that looks to the future. Shakespeare’s Language is therefore not only an essential guide to the language of Shakespeare, but it offers crucial insights to broader approaches to language as a whole.
Part 1: Till 1950 1. The seventeenth century: 'true sublimity… but puffy style' 2. 'Retrieving original purity': the eighteenth century 3. Measuring and classifying: the nineteenth century 4. Making Shakespeare difficult: the early twentieth century Part 2: 1950 On 5. From oxcart to computer: lexical studies 6. 'A richness of variant forms': grammar 7. Shakespearean 'rules of use': pragmatics 8. Original pronounciation: 'pronounced out of Ireland'? 9. 'Multifarious liberty and gay individualism': Shakespeare in print 10. Verse and prose: changing a 'sorry bed' 11. Rhetoric: 'maggot ostentation'? 12. Where the future lies References