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.
Table of Contents
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.
Laura Tosi is Associate professor of English Literature at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. She specializes in Renaissance drama and children’s literature.
Shaul Bassi is Associate professor of English Literature at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. He specializes in Shakespeare and postcolonial studies.
'A very impressive interdisciplinary collection of essays. Given that early modern Venice was both an aspirational model for London and a liminal site where Christian Europe mixed with the Muslim and Jewish East, it is no co-incidence that Shakespeare used Venice to explore issues of racial and religious otherness. It is this aspect of the Venetian plays that makes this volume so timely.' Ian Frederick Moulton, Arizona State University, USA '... this book presents fresh contexts which are sure to deepen our understanding of the Venice that Shakespeare was writing about and the effect this is likely to have had on his readers and audiences. One of its strengths is the variety and readability the contributors bring to the subject. This book shows that there are brave new worlds to be found in the Venice of Shakespeare. It would definitely be worth taking a copy with you on your next real or imaginary visit.' Around the Globe, The Magazine of Shakespeare's Globe 'Tosi and Bassi and their contributors, drawn from a 2007 Conference at the Globe, certainly find plenty of new and interesting things to add to the debate in an admirably focused and tightly edited collection.' Renaissance Studies ’Visions of Venice in Shakespeare is a stimulating collection of essays, which using more recent methodologies brings the presence of Venice in Shakespeare’s plays up to date. ... In opening up new realms of exploration and providing a spring board for debate Laura Tosi and Shaul Bassi are to be congratulated.’ Memoria di Shakespeare