The Cambridge Companion to English Poets

Cambridge University Press
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This volume provides lively and authoritative introductions to twenty-nine of the most important British and Irish poets from Geoffrey Chaucer to Philip Larkin. The list includes, among others, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Wordsworth, Browning, Yeats and T. S. Eliot, and represents the tradition of English poetry at its best. Each contributor offers a new assessment of a single poet's achievement and importance, with readings of the most important poems. The essays, written by leading experts, are personal responses, written in clear, vivid language, free of academic jargon, and aim to inform, arouse interest, and deepen understanding.
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About the author

Claude Rawson is Maynard Mack Professor of English at Yale University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Jan 27, 2011
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Pages
580
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ISBN
9781107495401
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / General
Poetry / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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For more than two hundred years after William Shakespeare's death, no one doubted that he had written his plays. Since then, however, dozens of candidates have been proposed for the authorship of what is generally agreed to be the finest body of work by a writer in the English language. In this remarkable book, Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro explains when and why so many people began to question whether Shakespeare wrote his plays. Among the doubters have been such writers and thinkers as Sigmund Freud, Henry James, Mark Twain, and Helen Keller. It is a fascinating story, replete with forgeries, deception, false claimants, ciphers and codes, conspiracy theories—and a stunning failure to grasp the power of the imagination.

As Contested Will makes clear, much more than proper attribution of Shakespeare’s plays is at stake in this authorship controversy. Underlying the arguments over whether Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare’s plays are fundamental questions about literary genius, specifically about the relationship of life and art. Are the plays (and poems) of Shakespeare a sort of hidden autobiography? Do Hamlet, Macbeth, and the other great plays somehow reveal who wrote them?

Shapiro is the first Shakespeare scholar to examine the authorship controversy and its history in this way, explaining what it means, why it matters, and how it has persisted despite abundant evidence that William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays attributed to him. This is a brilliant historical investigation that will delight anyone interested in Shakespeare and the literary imagination.
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