First published in 1977.
This book ascertains what sources Shakespeare used for the plots of his plays and discusses the use he made of them; and secondly illustrates how his general reading is woven into the texture of his work. Few Elizabethan dramatists took such pains as Shakespeare in the collection of source-material. Frequently the sources were apparently incompatible, but Shakespeare's ability to combine a chronicle play, one or two prose chronicles, two poems and a pastoral romance without any sense of incongruity, was masterly. The plays are examined in approximately chronological order and Shakespeare's developing skill becomes evident.
Table of Contents
Part I Introduction; Part II Early Plays; Chapter 1 The Comedy of Errors; Chapter 2 The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Chapter 3 The Taming of the Shrew; Chapter 4 Titus Andronicus; Chapter 5_7 Henry VI: Parts 1–3; Chapter 8 Richard III; Chapter 9 Romeo and Juliet; Chapter 10 Richard II; Chapter 11 A Midsummer-Night’s Dream; Chapter 12 Love’s Labour’s Lost; Chapter 13 King John; Part III Comedies and Histories; Chapter 14 The Merchant of Venice; Chapter 15_16 Henry IV: Parts 1–2; Chapter 17 The Merry Wives of Windsor; Chapter 18 Henry V; Chapter 19 Much Ado about Nothing; Chapter 20 Julius Caesar; Chapter 21 As you Like it; Chapter 22 Twelfth Night; Chapter 23 Troilus and Cressida; Part IV Tragic Period; Chapter 24 Hamlet; Chapter 25 All’s Well That Ends Well; Chapter 26 Measure for Measure; Chapter 27 Othello; Chapter 28 King Lear; Chapter 29 Macbeth; Chapter 30 Timon of Athens; Chapter 31 Antony and Cleopatra; Chapter 32 Coriolanus; Part V Last Plays; Chapter 33 Pericles; Chapter 34 Cymbeline; Chapter 35 The Winter’s Tale; Chapter 36 The Tempest; Chapter 37 Henry VIII;