Visions of Venice in Shakespeare: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Visions of Venice in Shakespeare

1st Edition

By Laura Tosi, Shaul Bassi


278 pages

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Hardback: 9781409405474
pub: 2011-01-28
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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.


'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

Table of Contents

Part 1 Sources: Supersubtle Venetians

Richard Knolles and the geopolitics of Shakespeare's Othello

Virginia Mason Vaughan

Venice, Shakespeare and the Italian novella

Daria Perocco

Genealogy of a character: a reading of Giraldi's Moor

Karina Feliciano Attar

Part 2 Political Culture and Religious Policy in Venice and England: Shakespeare and republican Venice

Andrew Hadfield

'Self-sovereignty' and religion in Love's Labours Lost: from London to Venice via Navarre

Gilberto Sacerdoti

Job in Venice: Shakespeare and the travails of universalism,

Julia Reinhard Lupton

Part 3 Crossing Boundaries and the Play of Identity

'Strangers … with vs in Venice'

Graham Holderness

Shakespeare, Jonson and Venice: crossing boundaries in the city

Laura Tosi

The return of the dead in The Merchant of Venice

Kent Cartwright

Othello and Venice: discrimination and projection,

Alessandro Serpieri

Part 4 Venetian Plays and their Afterlife: Merchant of where?

The Venetian plays in English visual culture

Stuart Sillars

Rewriting Venice and radicalizing Shylock: 19th-century French and Romanian adaptations of The Merchant of Venice

Madalina Nicolaescu

Barefoot to Palestine: the failed meetings of Shylock and Othello

Shaul Bassi

About the Authors

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.

About the Series

Anglo-Italian Renaissance Studies

Anglo-Italian Renaissance Studies
This series places early modern English drama within the context of the European Renaissance and, more specifically, within the context of Italian cultural, dramatic, and literary traditions, with reference to the impact and influence of both classical and contemporary culture. Among the various forms of influence, the series considers early modern Italian novellas, theatre, and discourses as direct or indirect sources, analogues and paralogues for the construction of Shakespeare's drama, particularly in the comedies, romances, and other Italianate plays. Critical analysis focusing on other cultural transactions, such as travel and courtesy books, the arts, fencing, dancing, and fashion, will also be encompassed within the scope of the series. Special attention is paid to the manner in which early modern English dramatists adapted Italian materials to suit their theatrical agendas, creating new forms, and stretching the Renaissance practice of contaminatio to achieve, even if unconsciously, a process of rewriting, remaking, and refashioning of 'alien' cultures. The series welcomes both single-author studies and collections of essays and invites proposals that take into account the transition of cultures between the two countries as a bilateral process, paying attention also to the penetration of early modern English culture into the Italian world.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
DRAMA / Ancient, Classical & Medieval