Stanley Wells is one of the best-known and most versatile of Shakespeare scholars. This book, written with characteristic verve and accessibility, considers how far sexual meaning in Shakespeare's writing is a matter of interpretation by actors, directors and critics. Tracing interpretations of Shakespearean bawdy and innuendo from eighteenth-century editors to recent scholars and critics, Wells pays special attention to recent sexually orientated studies of A Midsummer Night's Dream, once regarded as the most innocent of its author's plays. He considers the Sonnets, some of which are addressed to a man, and asks whether they imply same-sex desire in the author, or are quasi-dramatic projections of the writer's imagination. Finally, he looks at how male-to-male relationships in the plays have been interpreted as sexual in both criticism and performance. Stanley Wells's lively, provocative, and open-minded book will appeal to a broad readership of students, theatregoers and Shakespeare lovers.
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(216mm x 138mm x 7mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Stanley W. Wells
Stanley Wells has devoted most of his life to teaching, editing, and writing about Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He was Director of the Shakespeare Institute from 1987 to 1997. He is General Editor of the Oxford editions of Shakespeare, edited King Lear for the multi-volume Oxford Shakespeare, and has been associated with the New Penguin edition, for which he edited several plays, since its inception. His publications include Shakespeare: A Dramatic Life, Shakespeare: For All Time (2002) and (with Paul Edmondson) Shakespeare's Sonnets (forthcoming in 2004). He is editor of Shakespeare on the Stage: An Anthology of Criticism, with E. A Davies of Shakespeare and the Moving Image, with Michael Dobson of The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, with Margreta da Grazia of The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare, with Sarah Stanton of The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on the Stage, and with Lena Orlin of Shakespeare: An Oxford Guide.