1st Edition

The Routledge Research Companion to Shakespeare and Classical Literature

Edited By Sean Keilen, Nick Moschovakis Copyright 2017
    346 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    346 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this wide-ranging and ambitiously conceived Research Companion, contributors explore Shakespeare’s relationship to the classic in two broad senses. The essays analyze Shakespeare’s specific debts to classical works and weigh his classicism’s likeness and unlikeness to that of others in his time; they also evaluate the effects of that classical influence to assess the extent to which it is connected with whatever qualities still make Shakespeare, himself, a classic (arguably the classic) of modern world literature and drama. The first sense of the classic which the volume addresses is the classical culture of Latin and Greek reading, translation, and imitation. Education in the canon of pagan classics bound Shakespeare together with other writers in what was the dominant tradition of English and European poetry and drama, up through the nineteenth and even well into the twentieth century. Second—and no less central—is the idea of classics as such, that of books whose perceived value, exceeding that of most in their era, justifies their protection against historical and cultural change. The volume’s organizing insight is that as Shakespeare was made a classic in this second, antiquarian sense, his work’s reception has more and more come to resemble that of classics in the first sense—of ancient texts subject to labored critical study by masses of professional interpreters who are needed to mediate their meaning, simply because of the texts’ growing remoteness from ordinary life, language, and consciousness. The volume presents overviews and argumentative essays about the presence of Latin and Greek literature in Shakespeare’s writing. They coexist in the volume with thought pieces on the uses of the classical as a historical and pedagogical category, and with practical essays on the place of ancient classics in today’s Shakespearean classrooms.

    Table of Contents

    Routledge Research Companion to Shakespeare and Classical Literature

    Introduction Sean Keilen & Nick Moschovakis

    1 Shakespeare’s books Michael Ursell & Melissa Yinger

    2 A classical education William P. Weaver

    3 Shakespeare and English translations of the classics Liz Oakley-Brown

    4 Genre: comedy and tragedy Tanya Pollard

    5 The sonnets and narrative poems Pamela Royston Macfie

    6 Shakespeare's grammar Leah Whittington

    7 Rhetoric and dalectic Nick Moschovakis

    8 History and geography Jane Grogan

    9 Shakespeare and myth Sarah Annes Brown

    10 Shakespeare and classical cosmology Jean E. Feerick

    11 Politics Amelia Zurcher

    12 Classical drama before Shakespeare Robert Hornback

    13 Classicism on the English stage during Shakespeare's youth and maturity Jeanne H. McCarthy

    14 Popular classical drama Mark Bayer

    15 Theater in theory Jennifer Waldron

    16 Later classicism in the drama Michael Chemers

    17 Shakespeare and Asian classics Poonam Trivedi

    18 Shakespeare and "the classics" in the classroom: ten resources 

    19 Human value Jim Kearney

    20 What is a classic? Is Shakespeare a classic? Sean Keilen


    Sean Keilen is Associate Professor of Literature and Director of Shakespeare Workshop at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Vulgar Eloquence: On the Renaissance Invention of English Literature (2006) and of essays about English classicism during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

    Nick Moschovakis has taught subjects including Shakespeare, early modern English literature, and Western humanities at several colleges and universities. He is the author of articles and book chapters on Shakespeare; the editor of Macbeth: New Critical Essays (2008); and a member of Shakespeare Quarterly’s editorial board.

    "This companion covers a truly impressive amount of ground: its myriad approaches and wide-ranging chapters prompting us to think differently (both as researchers and teachers) about the classicism of Shakespeare’s own works, their various theatrical and literary contexts and their enduring and evolving legacies."

    - Katherine Heavey, University of Glasgow - Cahiers Elisabethains