Despite the growing critical relevance of Shakespeare's two Venetian plays and a burgeoning bibliography on both The Merchant of Venice and Othello, few books have dealt extensively with the relationship between Shakespeare and Venice. Setting out to offer new perspectives to a traditional topic, this timely collection fills a gap in the literature, addressing the new historical, political and economic questions that have been raised in the last few years. The essays in this volume consider Venice a real as well as symbolic landscape that needs to be explored in its multiple resonances, both in Shakespeare's historical context and in the later tradition of reconfiguring one of the most represented cities in Western culture. Shylock and Othello are there to remind us of the dark sides of the myth of Venice, and of the inescapable fact that the issues raised in the Venetian plays are tremendously topical; we are still haunted by these theatrical casualties of early modern multiculturalism.
Part 1 Sources: Supersubtle Venetians Richard Knolles and the geopolitics of Shakespeare's Othello. Venice, Shakespeare and the Italian novella. Genealogy of a character: a reading of Giraldi's Moor. Part 2 Political Culture and Religious Policy in Venice and England: Shakespeare and republican Venice 'Self-sovereignty' and religion in Love's Labours Lost: from London to Venice via Navarre. Job in Venice: Shakespeare and the travails of universalism. Part 3 Crossing Boundaries and the Play of Identity 'Strangers … with vs in Venice'. Shakespeare, Jonson and Venice: crossing boundaries in the city. The return of the dead in The Merchant of Venice. Othello and Venice: discrimination and projection. Part 4 Venetian Plays and their Afterlife: Merchant of where? The Venetian plays in English visual culture. Rewriting Venice and radicalizing Shylock: 19th-century French and Romanian adaptations of The Merchant of Venice. Barefoot to Palestine: the failed meetings of Shylock and Othello.