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Shakespeare's Rise to Cultural Prominence
Politics, Print and Alteration, 1642–1700

  • Date Published: July 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108427104

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About the Authors
  • Shakespeare's rise to prominence was by no means inevitable. While he was popular in his lifetime, the number of new editions and revivals of his plays declined over the following decades. Emma Depledge uses the methodologies of book and theatre history to provide a re-assessment of the reputation and dissemination of Shakespeare during the Interregnum and Restoration. She demonstrates the crucial role of the Exclusion Crisis (1678–1682), a political crisis over the royal succession, as a foundational moment in Shakespeare's canonisation. The period saw a sudden surge of theatrical alterations and a significantly increased rate of new editions and stage revivals. In the wake of the Exclusion Crisis, Shakespeare's plays were made available on a scale not witnessed since the early seventeenth century, thus reversing what might otherwise have been a permanent disappearance of his drama from canonical familiarity and firmly establishing Shakespeare's work in the national cultural imagination.

    • Explores the authorial afterlife of William Shakespeare from 1642 to 1700
    • Argues for the foundational moment in the canonisation of Shakespeare being the political crisis over the royal succession known as the Exclusion Crisis from 1678 to 1682
    • Brings together the scholarly methodologies of book and theatre history to shed new light on the establishment of Shakespeare's work in the national cultural consciousness
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Emma Depledge's work displays a masterful synthesis of bibliographic expertise, dramatic close reading, theatre history, and cultural analysis. I find this a field-reshaping book, beautifully executed in all these various aspects. I plan to draw on its insights and envision assigning it in graduate and advanced undergraduate classes.' Lauren Shohet, Villanova University, Pennsylvania

    '… Depledge (Université de Fribourg, Switzerland) skillfully combines theater history, bibliographic expertise, and careful reading of early book culture to examine previously unexplored paths by which Shakespeare became canonically necessary and politically useful during the interregnum and shortly thereafter. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.' Choice

    'Depledge's adept handling of book and theatre history in the larger context of contemporary politics is a real strength of her monograph. Her positions are wellresearched and clearly stated; her prose is accessible and refreshingly jargon free.' Paul D. Cannan, The Review of English Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108427104
    • length: 262 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus. 10 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Shakespeare in the civil war and Interregnum years, 1642–59
    2. Shakespeare on the early restoration stage and page, 1660–77
    3. Shakespeare and the Exclusion Crisis, 1678–82: the decision to alter his plays
    4. The politics of Shakespeare alterations of the Exclusion Crisis
    5. Selling Shakespeare on the Exclusion Crisis stage and page
    6. Shakespeare in the wake of the Exclusion Crisis, 1683–1700.

  • Author

    Emma Depledge, Université de Fribourg, Switzerland
    Emma Depledge is a lecturer in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature at the Université de Fribourg, Switzerland. She is co-editor (with Peter Kirwan) of Canonising Shakespeare: Stationers and the Book Trade, 1640–1740 (Cambridge, 2017). She is currently completing a collection on John Milton and a monograph on mock heroic poetry and the book trade.

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