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Shakespeare's knowledge of the practices of visual art, its fundamental concepts and the surrounding debates is clear from his earliest works. This book explores this relationship, showing how key works develop visual compositions as elements of dramatic movement, construction of ideas, and reflections on the artifice of theatre and language. The Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost, Richard II and A Midsummer Night's Dream are explored in detail, offering new insights into their forms, themes, and place in European traditions. The use of emblems is examined in Titus Andronicus and As You Like It; studies of Venus and Adonis, some sonnets and The Rape of Lucrece reveal different but related visual aspects; a later chapter suggests how the new relation between seeing and soliloquy in The Rape of Lucrece is developed in other plays. Extensively illustrated, the book explores Shakespeare's assimilation and exploration of visual traditions in structure, theme and idea throughout the canon.Read more
- Discusses the ways in which the Shakespearean canon uses aspects of the visual art of the period
- Heavily illustrated in colour as well as black and white, including images not previously examined in relation to the Shakespearean canon
- Explores early modern concepts of visual art within the framework of European aesthetics, extending readers' understanding of the Shakespearean canon as part of an international tradition
Reviews & endorsements
"Sillars' concern is with the concept of visual art as much as it is with art objects themselves. The argument that the theatre itself has a specific visual identity and that Shakespeare uses visual ideas to explore that identity is an especially fresh approach and one that works to complicate the depictions of art objects in the plays. This is a remarkable and important book and one that demonstrates compendious knowledge of both the literary and visual traditions and casts a genuinely new light on Shakespeare's works."
Dympna C. Callaghan, Syracuse UniversitySee more reviews
"Stuart Sillars uncovers striking parallels between Shakespeare’s writing and the rich visual imagery of the period. This beautifully illustrated book offers substantial new insights to anyone interested in either mode of representation, or the relations between them."
Catherine Belsey, Swansea University
'Clearly organised, logically structured, and beautifully illustrated, Stuart Sillars' Shakespeare and the Visual Imagination is a well-documented and insightful study … enlarging the perspective on the Shakespearean canon and opening up new ways of engaging his plays and poems.' American, British and Canadian Studies
'… this is a major contribution to our understanding of Shakespeare’s relationship with the visual culture of his age. Through its focus on art, rhetoric, and intermedial exchange, this beautifully produced and carefully argued book enriches our sense of the metatheatrical and metapoetic - as well as the visual - across the Shakespearean canon.' Richard Meek, Renaissance Quarterly
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- Date Published: September 2015
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107029958
- length: 333 pages
- dimensions: 254 x 197 x 21 mm
- weight: 0.93kg
- contains: 83 b/w illus. 29 colour illus.
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. Likeness, device, composition: Shakespeare's visual surroundings
2. Allusion and idea in The Taming of the Shrew
3. Visual exchange in the Poems
4. Love's Labour's Lost and visual composition
5. Richard II and the politics of perspective
6. Visual identities in A Midsummer Night's Dream
7. Emblem, tradition and invention
8. Imagination beyond image: ethopoeia and metatheatre
9. Defining the visual in Shakespeare
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